Negotiating Constraints. Structural Reforms and National Ownership in the EU

Friday, July 14, 2017
John McIntyre - Room 201 (University of Glasgow)
Amandine Crespy , Political Science, Université libre de Bruxelles²
Pierre Vanheunerzwijn , Centre d’étude de la vie politique (CEVIPOL)
This paper explores the functioning of post-crisis socio-economic governance in the EU through practice and interactions between national administrations and EU institutions in the framework of the European Semester. Our central hypothesis is that, since its inception in 2011, the changes in governance of the Semester have aimed to enhance both its effectiveness in terms of implementation and its legitimacy in terms of support from national authorities for the nature of the reforms advocated in Brussels. This is framed through the paramount idea of ownership, a concept which is far from new but has become key in relation with socio-economic governance in the EU. Our analysis is based on a series of semi-structured interviews in four countries of the EU’s “core” (namely Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the UK) which have also served for a basic network analysis. In addition to empirical support for our hypothesis, we also unveil a fundamental tension between the intrinsically bureaucratic nature of the Semester and the will to make it more salient in the national arenas while triggering adverse politicization.