In this article, we analyze the implementation of gender mainstreaming in the European Union (EU) through the study of 'resistance' to gender equality initiatives in EU research policy. Contributing to feminist institutionalist theories, we identify resistance to gender initiatives within the Directorate General Research and Innovation, showing that there have been obstacles to an effective implementation of gender mainstreaming in the European Commission's 6th Framework Programme (FP6). We argue that the encountered resistances reveal tensions between the European Commission's official mandate of mainstreaming gender equality into all policies and its actual implementation, which results in the 'filtering out' of transformative gender equality goals.
Utilising the theoretical framework of discursive institutionalism, this article investigates the problem of policy incoherence. We suggest focusing on the micro-level of policy-shaping processes through the lenses of discursive institutionalism as it is the most suitable approach to study the combination of institutional factors and actor-interaction. Empirically we focus on the field of energy policy, where despite the introduction of specific coordinative mechanisms, high levels of policy incoherence prevail. We further zoom in at the preparatory stage of policy-making, where policy coherence can be assumed to be highest, in the intra-institutional politics in the Commission. In this setting we study the implications of intra-institutional coordinative discourse and ask under what conditions it affects policy coherence. In this quest, the process of energy policy-making inside the European Commission is further exemplified by a detailed case study about the Energy Efficiency Directive. Evidence suggests that even in an institutional context that is formally favourable to policy coordination, policy coherence may fail in highly politicized contexts and within an unproductive mode of coordinative discourse that undermines the moderation of sharply differing ideas between DGs.
The Lisbon Treaty proclaims the need for a stronger, more efficient, more coherent European Union (EU) in the international arena. In the area of external relations, the post-Lisbon EU embraces the unification of the diplomatic efforts of the European Commission, the Council Secretariat and that of the EU member states with the aim of achieving greater coherence. This vision is one of cooperation not only in Brussels but also in third countries. While the Brussels-based part of the European External Action Service (EEAS) has captured the attention of both academic and non-academic literature, the development of the relationship between the EU and national diplomatic services in third countries has received less attention. This article assesses the nature of interaction between member state embassies and the EU delegations in Moldova and Ukraine, two Eastern European countries on the EU's immediate border, where EU ambitions are high. By deploying concepts of efficiency and effectiveness, the article examines how this interaction takes place and whether it adds to the EU's aim of achieving greater coherence in external relations. The empirical analysis shows that EU diplomatic performance has reached a certain degree of administrative efficiency, yet there are several challenges to be addressed on the level of effectiveness.
In this special issue of the European Integration online Papers (EIoP), we reconsider the practicability of gender mainstreaming in the European Union (EU) and its traction in the European integration project more broadly. We follow the feminist institutionalist turn which seeks to bring contemporary feminist insights and new institutionalism's various schools of thought to bear on one another. Out of this synergy comes the recognition of gender as an inherent feature of institutions and the opening up of new avenues to interrogate the dynamics of power and change. Collectively, we argue that the EU is a battleground where gender equality concerns must struggle against a masculine stronghold. We question whether there are better means to bring about gender mainstreaming's transformative triumph.
The role and impact of institutions on policy-making have been receiving a lot of attention in the academic literature on the European Union (EU). The current special issue aims to contribute to this broader institutionalist debate in the EU literature by paying attention to institutional dynamics within and across EU institutions and different levels of governance. In this quest, it feeds into the broader political and academic debate on (changing) institutional balance and policy coherence. The contributions to this special issue reflect that a wide range of institutional mechanisms for intra-and inter-institutional cooperation have been developed. Most importantly, the contributions allow us to get a better insight into the factors that explain the success or failure of the cooperation. This introduction to the special issue provides the backdrop for the contributions and an overview of the individual articles.
The Lisbon Treaty has put the consistency of European Union (EU) external action high on the agenda but little is known about how this imperative is concretely given shape. Adopting a single-case-study approach on the EU's decision in 2012 to renew the partial suspension of development cooperation with Zimbabwe (Article 96 measures), this contribution aims to provide better insights into the question of the consistency of this decision. More specifically, this article focuses on the Commission's proposal, on the basis of which the renewal of the suspension was adopted. As a first step it examines the relevant legal (Treaty), substantial (policy framework) and procedural (decision-making) guidelines framing the consistency objective in the EU's relations with Zimbabwe. While this three-level framework plays an important role in facilitating the consistency of the Commission proposal, it is also clear that it does not provide a sufficient guarantee for a consistent policy output. The case study on Zimbabwe shows how other factors such as the international context, the positions of the member states as well as the preferences and interests of individual Directorate Generals play an important role in the final outcome of the Commission's decision-making process.
This paper reviews the incidence of precedent-based practices in the Court of Justice of the European Union's (CJEU) case law on family reunification immigration. Particular attention is paid to the use of fundamental rights considerations, and the extent to which they guide the Court's judicial deliberations in this sovereignty-sensitive area of law. Our review of de facto 'precedents', and the extent to which they interact with fundamental rights-related concerns enables us to take stock of the long-term development of the Court's judicial authority. This longitudinal exercise also enables us to transcend the traditional dichotomy of 'the CJEU vis-a-vis the member states' that typically characterizes academic discussions on the role of the Court in processes of EU integration. The paper first considers the relevance of reviewing precedent in the context of the EU legal order. Next, we provide a novel dataset of the CJEU's jurisprudence in the area of family reunification immigration, as it evolved from 1974 up until today. We deal with the methodological implications of studying 'precedent' by presenting a model which numerically structures the incidence of precedent-based patterns. This numerical information allows us to organize our data for a subsequent qualitative in-depth analysis of those precedent-based patterns with the strongest discursive influence on the overall evolution of the case law. Our analysis demonstrates that fundamental rights-based arguments exerted a strong influence on the ideational course of the Court's jurisprudence in this area, albeit in a non-linear manner.
Decision-making between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament is characterized by a paradox. On the one hand, there is a high potential for inter-institutional conflict. Historically, the EP and the Council have been opponents in the struggle for power. In addition, both institutions can be said to fulfill different representational roles within the political system of the EU, with the Council representing the member states and the Parliament representing the citizens. Furthermore, agreement between the two is complicated by decision rules posing high thresholds for agreement and actors with often diverging preferences. On the other hand, in day-to-day policy-making, the Council and the European Parliament display a high level of consensus and decision-making efficiency. Most legislation is decided in first reading, and early agreements provide a shortcut for cumbersome inter-institutional negotiations. To shed light on this paradox, we conceptualize the mechanisms and dynamics underlying inter-institutional cooperation and conflict by taking recourse to factors derived from historical, sociological and rational choice institutionalisms. We argue that the same logics which account for conflict also contain the explanation for cooperation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that each of the theoretical approaches is particularly well suited to highlight a certain aspect of the paradox.
Trust in political institutions is one of the key elements which make representative democracies work. Trust creates a connection between citizens and representative political institutions. Democratic governments which enjoy a large degree of trust also tend to have higher degrees of legitimacy and policy efficacy. In Europe's multi-level governance structure, it is imperative to understand the determinants of trust in the institutions of the European Union. With the increasing salience of the European Union, are domestic proxies still a key determinant of evaluating its institutions? Are there differences across the institutions and across the member states? We demonstrate that country-level corruption levels are what drives the relationship between domestic and European institutional trust. The majority of the variation in trust in the institutions of the European Union is, however, driven by individual-level predictors. We also find that individuals across Europe evaluate the institutions of the European Union through a single attitude dimension of political trust rather than through separate evaluations.
The European Union (EU) has emerged as a powerful international actor whose standards, norms and ideas are spread (Europeanized) to member states and beyond. In equality politics, the EU has become a carrier and promoter of the new politics of equality. The key aim of this article is to explore the Europeanization of the Nordic gender equality discourse in relation to one particular political debate, namely that of intersectionality, or in EU terms, 'multiple discrimination'. Thus, the article explores the ways in which Nordic ideas about gender equality interact with those promoted by the EU. Theoretically, the article draws on the insights of feminist discourse analysis, institutionalism and soft Europeanization, and seeks to combine the two debates to better understand and elucidate the ways in which the ideational shifts that the EU promotes become institutionalized in legal frameworks and equality policy in the member states.
This paper examines the effect of popular identification with Europe and the European Union on the level of governments' willingness to consent to supranational reforms of foreign and security policies. Applying ordinary least squares (OLS) regression on a series of statistical analyses based on data provided by Eurobarometer and state positions prior to the three major EU treaties (the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty and the 2004 Constitutional Treaty), this paper concludes that higher levels of European identification by citizens greatly increase domestic support for joint decision-making in foreign and defence policies which in turn pushes governments to adopt more integrationist positions during negotiations.
This introduction provides a brief overview of the existing OMC literature with regard to the introduction of the OMC, its theoretical conceptualisation of effectiveness and legitimacy and related empirical findings. The main part of the introduction, however, focuses on chosen shortcomings of the literature and how the contributions to this special issue deal with these shortcomings and contribute to surmounting them. In particular, the central assumption about learning is questioned at macro-, meso- and micro levels; potential ways, apart from learning, as to how the OMC can 'matter' are explored as well as the impacts it has. Finally, the assumption that the OMC could be a neutral instrument is questioned, and doubts are therefore raised as to its legitimacy.
How useful is the concept of strategic culture for understanding when, where and how the European Union uses force? This paper will assess the extent to which agreement among the European Union Member States to conduct Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations is founded on a top-down approach based on a common strategic culture or alternatively on a bottom-up approach. In the latter case, a decision to deploy troops is based on specific Member States' interests and capabilities. Four military operations will be analysed: Operation EUFOR Althea, EUFOR RD Congo, EUFOR TChad/RCA and Operation Atalanta. Emphasis is placed on whether there has been any form of decision-making based on shared beliefs, attitudes and norms regarding the use of force. The aim is to highlight whether there has been increasing convergence behind the reasoning for the deployment of European Union operations which indicates the extent to which the organisation possesses a European strategic culture.
We investigate the distribution of European Union (EU) Structural Funds across EU regions. We draw from literature on the political economy of national intergovernmental grants and on the two-tiered bargaining process in the EU. Bargaining on the distribution of Structural Funds takes place on the level between regions and their respective national governments, but is influenced by bargaining that occurs on the intergovernmental level. We test our claims with a data set containing the distribution of Objective-1 and Objective-2 funds across EU regions, as well as economic, institutional and electoral variables. Adjusting for selection bias, we find that the official allocation criteria are not sufficient determinants for explaining the distribution of regional transfers. For Objective-2 they even bear the opposite sign. As for the political variable 'federalist regions' we find that Objective-1 regions receive significantly more funds, whereas 'stronger electoral competition' significantly increases funding of Objective-2 regions.
The increased use of early agreements in the EU co-decision procedure raises the concern that intra and inter-institutional political debate is sacrificed for the sake of efficiency. We investigate the effect of early agreements (trilogues) on the time it takes for legislation to be negotiated during the first reading of co-decision. We find that the first reading negotiations of trilogues on salient legislation take longer than first readings of similar files reconciled at second and third reading. First readings of early agreements also appear to last longer when considering all co-decision files submitted to the 5th and 6th European Parliaments, but the effect is masked by a general increase in first reading duration after 2004. We conclude that even if early agreements restrict access of certain actors to decision making, they allow for more time for substantive debate at the first reading stage than similar files reconciled later in the legislative process.
This article investigates why gender mainstreaming has not occurred in European Union (EU) development aid towards Rwanda despite a two-sided receptiveness from Rwanda and the EU's Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation. I use a feminist institutionalist approach to examine formal and informal institutions as well as the actors, networks and processes involved in policy formation and implementation. I argue that the largest stumbling block to effective implementation is an institutional weakness at the EU level which involves a decoupling of formal and informal institutions and leads to the 'ceremonial' behaviour of gender policy actors and a limited, instrumental policy guided by gendered assumptions. These reproduce further stereotypes and contribute to an asymmetrical power play within the institutions. This can disadvantage women and staff working on gender equality. Finally, the EU's institutional practices structurally marginalize the voices of Rwandan women and their movement which is problematic in the context of an increasingly authoritarian state.
Environmental concerns have played a key role for institutionalizing energy policy at the level of the European Union. There is thus a tendency in research literature to assume that the objectives of these cognate policy areas are compatible and mutually reinforcing. There have been only few efforts, however, to critically assess the quality of this relationship. The contributions to this mini-special issue reveal that the instruments employed in these two policy fields are markedly different. Environmental policy instruments are mostly based on the command-and-control logic whereas environment-related European energy policy is characterized by the use of 'softer' measures. The second main finding is that despite the centrality of climate change concerns in the rhetoric of the European Commission, an effective integration of environmental goals into energy policy is difficult to achieve.
This article uses feminist institutionalism to examine how gender mainstreaming has been sidelined in European Union (EU) climate change policy. It finds that, with a few exceptions largely emanating from the European Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, EU responses to climate change are gender-blind. This is despite the Treaty obligations to gender mainstream policy in all areas and despite the intersections between climate change and development policy, which is renowned for having taken gender equality and women's empowerment seriously and for instigating gender mainstreaming and specific actions as a means to achieve them. The persistent invisibility of gender can be attributed to various forms of institutional resistance.
This paper critically examines the European Union's (EU) trade policy response to the global financial and economic crisis. Contrary to what would be expected, we find that the EU's neoliberal trade paradigm, as frankly presented in the 2006 Global Europe strategy, has not been delegitimized. The neoliberal (dis-) course has even been reinforced. First, we theorize on the conditions for paradigmatic change and the importance of framing in the delegitimization phase. Second, we analyze the Commission's framing of the crisis, amounting to (i) a downplaying of the nature of the crisis to a crisis in the financial subsystem of global capitalism; (ii) an emphasis on the danger of protectionism that would worsen the crisis and lead to a 1930s "Great Depression" scenario; and (iii) advocation for further trade liberalization as a contribution to European and global recovery. Third, we show that this has been translated in practice such as through the limited use of anti-dumping measures and ever more ambitious trade agreements as with Korea. Finally, we explain why the crisis has not led to a delegitimization of the existing trade paradigm, pointing to the absence of a workable alternative paradigm, the role of European social democratic parties and the labour movement, and the interests of transnational business.