The Dutch and the European Semester: In Search for Flexibility, Conditionality, Ownership

Friday, July 14, 2017
John McIntyre - Room 201 (University of Glasgow)
Sonja Bekker , Tilburg University
New EU socio-economic governance has sparked intense academic and societal debates, doubting its ability to reach credible economic outcomes, questioning its social impact, and challenging its legitimacy (Barnard 2014; Dawson et al., 2015; DelaPorte and Pochet, 2014; Hinarejos, 2013; Kilpatrick and de Witte, 2014). At the same time, large parts of the European Semester remain unexplored (Ferrera, 2014), including its throughput stages (Schmidt, 2013). Within this context, this research aims to get a better understanding of EU socio-economic governance by focusing on the exchanges between the Netherlands and the EU (2011-2016). As national governments and EU level actors frequently meet to discuss policies and progress, their exchanges might allow member states to propose alternative policies and thus benefit from the system's flexibility (cf Bekker, 2017 forthcoming; Zeitlin and VanHercke, 2014). Also, the meetings between the national and EU level might result into softer conditionality or in more ownership of reforms. The research will determine the degree of flexibility, conditionality and ownership within the European Semester, by combining interviews with key stakeholders (official from the national governance, trade unions, employers' associations) and document analyses (policy document, news paper articles, etc).