016 Technocrats or Technicians? Experts in EU Policy Fields

Tuesday, June 25, 2013: 9:00 AM-10:45 AM
1.14 (PC Hoofthuis)
Crisis situations, like the current European debt crisis, often require expert advice and knowledge for appropriate management and resolution. Experts rule does not preclude the outbreak of crises, however, as the crisis-prone history of the European Union (EU) clearly demonstrates. In actuality, crises, conflicts and controversies have been recurrent features of some of the EU’s most prominent sectoral policies, such as agriculture, for which the European institutions, and in particular the European Commission, rely on high-level expertise. Supplying and receiving expert information is crucial in the multi-level political system of the EU with its numerous access points to European institutions. Experts are often assigned an advisory role on technical-political issues and over the years have become influential actors in EC/EU policy-making.

The main aim of this panel is to provide a comparative assessment of the role of experts and expertise in shaping key EU policy fields. By looking at Competition Policy, Environment Policy, Development Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy, the papers assess whether and, if so, to what extent the partisan role of experts varied across policy areas and over time. Were experts involved in those policy fields mere technicians providing specialized advice or did they also act as advocates? To what extent did they contribute to the circulation and transfer of ideas in policy areas and the creation of path-dependent trends? Also, by studying the contributions of a variety of experts, the papers in this panel shed light on the manifold dimensions of expertise and their impact on European governance.

Sophie Vanhoonacker
Wolfram Kaiser
Restoration of the Knowledge Economy to Restore Infrastructure and Trade
James J Greene, The Catholic University of America
Experts and the Crisis of Competition Policy: At the Origins of the “More Economic Approach”
Laurent Warlouzet, Université d'Arras / London School of Economics
Catalyst for Change or Impediment? Experts and early attempts at CAP Reform
Carine Germond, Maastricht University / University of Portsmouth
See more of: Session Proposals