How do institutions of the European Union change? Using an institutionalist approach, this article highlights the interplay between power, cognitive limits, and the normative order that underpins institutional settings and assesses their impact upon the process of institutional change. Empirical evidence from recent attempts to reinforce the protection of the free movement of goods in the EU suggests that, under conditions of uncertainty, actors with ambiguous preferences assess attempts at institutional change on the basis of the historically defined normative order which holds a given institutional structure together. Hence, path dependent and incremental change occurs even when more ambitious and functionally superior proposals are on offer
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