Tables of contents: Competition, security and climate change European flexicurity and the danish model The European commission and higher education Facing ideational dillemmas: The European Central Bank During the Eurozone crisis Read More
AVATARS OF NEOLIBERALISM IN EU POLICY-MAKING
This special issue deals with the institutionalization of neoliberal ideas in European policy-making. The introductory article considers that European ideas are not fixed at the European level and then implemented with variations at the national level. On the contrary, the European policy process generates avatars of neoliberalism, that is modified and reshaped forms of neoliberal policy solutions which are negotiated already at the stage of policy formulation. This article develops an approach emphasizing agents' political work in contrasted and changing institutional settings in order to explain the different forms of European neoliberal policies. This innovative approach is substantiated by the articles gathered in this issue which deal with different EU policy sectors (monetary policy, energy, employment and higher education).
KEYWORDS: EU POLICY-MAKING – IDEAS – INSTITUTIONAL CONFIGURATION – NEOLIBERALISM –POLITICAL WORK
COMPETITION, SECURITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: EUROPEAN ENERGY
POLICY AND THE LIMITS OF FRAMING
Despite its lack of strong competences in this field, the European Commission has sought to develop a common energy policy. This article shows how the Commission has skilfully framed a common energy policy by linking the construction of the internal energy market to climate change and secure and stable supplies of energy, in order to legitimize its intervention in a policy field that was traditionally considered as a prerogative of the Member States. To some extent, this frame has been institutionalized and resonates with Member States. The comparison of Germany and Poland illustrates that the effectiveness of this framing follows from its heterogeneous nature. Yet, the Commission’s discursive strategy reaches institutional and material limits and reveals contradictions. We examine the institutional and structural conditions explaining the success or the failure of the framing.
KEYWORDS: ENERGY AND CLIMATE POLICY – FRAMING – EUROPEAN UNION
EUROPEAN FLEXICURITY AND THE DANISH MODEL: A TWO-STEPS STRATEGY
OF PERSUASION THROUGH EXPERTISE
The European model of flexicurity reconciles flexibility on the labour markets and security for the workers. The article examines how political and bureaucratic actors of the European Commission have adapted to a challenging political and institutional context. The Danish "golden triangle of flexicurity" has first helped to get around strong opposition from European trade unions’ representatives. This framing had then to be softened in order to avoid Member States reluctance to adopt such a national framing. This article explains why some experts, and not others, have been mobilised. It underlines the strategic dimension of expertise and evaluates its effects on the weakening of political conflict.
KEYWORDS: EUROPEAN UNION – EMPLOYMENT POLICIES – FLEXICURITY – DANISH MODEL – TRADE-UNIONS
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION AND HIGHER EDUCATION: NEOLIBERALISATION OF DISCOURSE AS A MEANS OF POWER?
This articles studies the evolution of the discursive strategy of the European Commission in the domain of higher education. It seaks to explain if and how a neoliberalised discourse is a ressource in a sector with very limited formal EU competence. The article analyses the initial discursive link between European higher education and market, and the way it has been shaped depending upon institutional conditions and political work of actors. In the actual situation, Commission has a much more clearly neoliberal dicourse, which nevertheless does not make the institution as powerful as often stated. The Commission has actually to deal with the Bologna process, or mechanism of coordination of HE policies that developed on the margins of the EU, and which has a slightly different ideological echo (i.e. less neoliberal). The Bologna process has institutionalised and developped a specific identity and working culture and is not so easy to control or absorb for the European Commission.
KEYWORDS: BOLOGNA PROCESS – DISCURSIVE STRATEGY – EUROPEAN COMMISSION – HIGHER EDUCATION – NEOLIBERALISM
FACING IDEATIONAL DILLEMMAS: THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK DURING
THE EUROZONE CRISIS
This article aims at answering two central questions: Why did the European Central Bank kept on defending an orthodox model of central banking while its response to the crisis deviated from it – and how did it manage to do so? I explain first how ideas were decisive for the ECB creation by focusing on the diffusion of the concepts of the new classical macro economy and on the orthodox model of the Bundesbank. Yet, the ECB implementation of heterodox monetary measures in order to answer to the eurozone crisis triggered internal and external tensions which endangered its organizational unity. The ECB dilemma consisted thus in implementing the necessary crisis measures while protecting its original orthodox reputation. I adopt a constructivist grid of analysis in order to analyse how it did so in its official communication and in the instrumentation of its monetary policy. Finally, I show that these strategies helped the ECB agents to protect and enhance their reputation within crucial Ecofin arenas.
KEYWORDS: EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK – EUROZONE CRISIS – ORDO-LIBERALISM – STRATEGIC CONSTRUCTIVISM