Recent reforms implemented by right-wing governments in Poland and Hungary have threatened to unravel the separation of powers in their respective polities, conflicting with the principles of the rule of law enshrined in Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty. The Lisbon Treaty, however, equips EU institutions with a mechanism to respond to such threats. The European Commission’s decision to trigger Article 7 proceedings in response to the rule of law crisis in Poland, but not in Hungary, has raised more than a few eyebrows among both policy-makers and academics. In his article “The politics of guarding the Treaties: Commission scrutiny of rule of law compliance” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Carlos Closa argues the European Commission’s decision to initiate Article 7 proceedings is driven by strategic considerations. Carlos argues that absent cooperation from domestic authorities in the offending member state, the Commission anticipates the likelihood of lacking sufficient support among EU members to employ Article 7 sanctions, which would threaten to signal tacit acquiescence to offending authorities. Drawing on data from Commission documents and a series of interviews with key decision-makers, his findings indicate the limits to the Commission’s enforcement capacities, translating into the latter’s “preference for compliance through instruments that can actively engage offending governments rather than those which could lead to severe sanctions.”
Since its inception in 2004, asylum and migration policy reform in the EU’s neighbouring countries has been a key domain of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). Amid a flurry of reform efforts across most ENP countries, some of the EU’s neighbours chose to align their asylum and migration policies with EU rules, whereas others fell short of the targets set out in the ENP. In her article “One wave of reforms, many outputs: the diffusion of European asylum policies beyond Europe” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Nina Guérin draws on the concept of policy diffusion to explain variation in the outcomes of asylum and migration policy reform across the EU’s neighbourhood. Employing a qualitative comparative analysis, she shows that two separate pathways can account for the observed variation in EU neighbours’ policy reform outcomes. Nina’s analysis reveals that “ENP states align with European asylum policies in two cases: first, if they are electoral democracies and face moderate migratory pressures; second, if they are electoral democracies and hold EU membership aspirations.”
A dominant view among EU scholars holds that European integration had advanced at the expense of national parliaments’ authority, with domestic legislatures only starting to claw back their say over EU policy-making since the Maastrich. Pierre Haroche challenges these notions, arguing that national parliaments had a hand in shaping the path of European integration and competences of EU institutions long before the treaty reforms of the 1990s. In his article “The inter-parliamentary alliance: how national parliaments empowered the European Parliament” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Pierre shows that national parliaments made their approval of transferring legislative competences to the supranational level conditional on the empowerment of the European parliament. Connected through national political parties, most (albeit not all) national parliaments perceived the empowerment of the European parliament as an adequate compensation for giving up their competences at home. Analysing the first transfer of budgetary powers to the European parliament in 1970 and the first transfer of legislative powers via the Single European Act in 1986, Pierre shows that at these critical junctures of European integration, empowerment of the European parliament was fostered by an inter-parliamentary alliance between the European parliament and its national counterparts. He concludes that far from being victims of European integration, national parliaments “successfully used their national powers to impose the parliamentarization of the EU regime.”
Clarivate Analytics recently released its Journal Citation Report for 2017. JEPP continues to be listed in two sections: Political Science and Public Administration. While the journal dropped a few spots on the Political Science list, it remains safely in the top-twenty (now ranking 15/165), and it maintained its position among the top-ten journals in the Public Administration segment (ranking 8/47). After a record increase in JEPP’s impact factor last year, the journal posted its highest impact factor yet, increasing from 2.982 (2016) to 2.994 (2017).
Marking JEPP’s 25th anniversary this year, these results are special for our editorial team. There is no doubt that the journal’s continued success is built on the tireless efforts of our family of authors, referees and readers, and we greatly appreciate your time and support.
The Journal of European Public Policy‘s editorial team is proud to sponsor the Keynote Lecture “Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration” delivered by Catherine De Vries at this year’s ECPR Standing Group on the European Union Conference in Paris. Join us and Catherine on Thursday, 14 June 2018, from 6.15-8.00 pm at Sciences Po’s Amphitheater Boutmy.
Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration
The European Union is facing turbulent times. It is plagued by deep divisions over how to shape its future. Over half a century of integration has created a profound interconnectedness between the political, economic, and social fates of member states. At the same time, however, the fortunes of member states have started to diverge dramatically.
As a result, the political fault lines are widening. Today, they crosscut the continent from North to South on the economy and austerity, and from East to West on migration and human rights. What are the effects of these developments on public opinion? By presenting a wealth of empirical evidence, this lecture provides an overview of the contours of public opinion. Moreover, it discusses how it matters for behaviour in elections and how it shapes possible reform of the European Union in the future.
Catherine de Vries is a Professor of Politics in the Department of Government at the University of Essex where she also serves as the Director of the Essex Centre for Experimental Social Sciences, and a Professor and Chair of Political Behaviour at the Free University Amsterdam. She is also an associate member of Nuffield College at the University of Oxford. Over the years, she has published extensively on the most important societal and political problems facing Europe today, such as the ramifications of the Eurozone crisis, the success of extremist parties or political corruption. Her recent monograph Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration with Oxford University Press provides a systematic account of public opinion towards Europe.
Throughout 2018, we ask JEPP authors and members from JEPP’s editorial board to share with us their stories as to how the research published in JEPP over the past 25 years influenced their own thinking and research about Europe, the EU, and public policy. This is what they are saying.
Daniel Naurin, University of Oslo, Norway
Over the years, I have found highly inspiring articles in JEPP within most of my fields of interest, including interest group politics, EU legislative politics, deliberation and intergovernmental negotiations. In the last years, a particularly motivating special issue has been “Perpetual momentum? Reconsidering the power of the European Court of Justice”, edited by R. Daniel Kelemen and Susanne K. Schmidt in 2012. The special issue was published at a time when European judicial politics was at cross-roads. Established truths based largely on intelligent speculation was increasingly being questioned by systematic empirical research, raising heated debates about the judicialization of European politics, and the possibility of democratic control over unelected judges. These scholars, however, managed to keep their cool, and provide a nuanced set of articles demonstrating both the opportunities and limitations of judicial discretion set by the EU political system. Furthermore, they pointed at several puzzles and gaps in the literature that I have grappled with in my research ever since, including in particular the sources of judicial preferences, the political appointments of judges, and the politics of organization within the ECJ.
Dimiter Toshkov, Leiden University, Netherlands
JEPP published this article in 2004, just as the first wave of post-communist countries was officially entering the European Union. Amidst all the fanfare celebrating the success of the ‘big-bang’ enlargement of the EU to the East, Frank Schimmelfennig and Ulrich Sedelmeier presented an insightful and clear-headed analysis of the power of the EU to export its rules outside its borders. The article outlined a comprehensive theoretical framework of rule transfer and offered a perceptive interpretation of the Eastern enlargement process in light of this framework. But the major feat of Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier was probably to demystify the sources and mechanisms of EU influence, and in the process, hint to its limits. This opened a new research agenda that continues to this day to explore the varying success of the EU in exporting its rules and institutions to candidates for membership, to the countries in the EU’s neighbourhood, and beyond.
The threat of international terrorism encourages governments to enact policies that make domestic targets less attractive for terrorist groups. Mariaelisa Epifanio and Thomas Plümper argue that governments’ counterterrorist policies not only put pressure on domestic civil rights – they can also have detrimental effects on the respect for civil liberties abroad. As effective counterterrorist measures render some countries less viable targets, terrorist groups face incentives to focus their attention on places where less restrictive policies are in place. To avoid being targeted, this dynamic induces governments to outbid each other in an effort to implement effective counterterrorist regulations, often on the back of a deteriorating respect for civil liberties. In their article “European integration and the race to the top in counterterrorist regulations” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Mariaelisa and Thomas find evidence that the EU’s supranational counterterrorism strategy mitigated EU member states’ competition over restrictive counterterrorism policy by providing a common minimum standard of regulations. Comparing government responses to terrorist threats in EU member states with counterfactual, Western non-EU states, Mariaelisa and Thomas show that prior to 2008, EU governments had implemented substantively fewer counterterrorism measures than their comparable non-EU counterparts. Challenging accounts generally associating European integration with a proliferation of regulations, evidence from their analysis suggests that the EU’s supranational response to the threat of international terrorism “may lead to a harmonization of counterterrorist regulations and breaks the regulatory spiral that pushes counterterrorist policies upwards.”
By Simon Bulmer and Lucia Quaglia
The British referendum on continuing membership of the European Union (EU) in June 2016 represented a turning point in the relationship between the United Kingdom (UK) and the EU. The result—a 51.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent victory for Leave voters on a high turnout of 72.2 percent—was accepted by Prime Minister David Cameron as a defeat; he resigned. In March 2017, the British government under Prime Minister Theresa May invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, officially beginning the negotiations UK withdrawal from the EU – the Brexit process. Brexit raises a set of important questions that this special issue sets out to address: i) what are the repercussions of Brexit for the EU, to be precise its policies, the relations between member states and the domestic contestation of the EU? ii) what are the consequence of Brexit for the UK, specifically for British politics and the British economy? iii) What are the implication of Brexit for theories of EU integration?
The economic and political effects of Brexit will be far-reaching for the UK and the EU and warrant scholarly examination. This special issue investigates the implications of Brexit for the EU and the UK, placing this assessment in the context of the long-term evolution of Britain’s relations with the EU. It also draws some lessons from Brexit, relating it to long-standing debates within the literature on EU policy-making, comparative politics and political economy. The articles in the first part of the special issue explores the implications of Brexit for key policy areas, namely the single market, finance and immigration. The second part explores important ‘horizontal’ or thematic issues, namely lessons from Brexit for theories of integration, the balance of power in the EU amongst the main member states post-Brexit, the evolution of the domestic political contestation in the EU, and the impact of Brexit on domestic politics in the UK.
The European Parliament and the Council rely heavily on the Commission’s Directorates General when it comes to policy implementation. Commission officials may have their own distinct policy preferences, hence the European Parliament and Council need to carefully tune the discretion they grant to Directorates at the implementation stage. In her article “The Watchdog or the Mandarin? Assessing the impact of the Directorates General on the EU legislative process” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Anastasia Ershova argues that the proximity of preferences among the Directorates themselves, as well as vis-à-vis the European Parliament and Council, provides the latter with clues regarding the Commission’s future behaviour on policy implementation. Anastasia shows that when preferences of lead Directorates General overlap with those of the European Parliament and Council, bureaucrats in charge of implementation are expected to steer policy closer to preferred outcomes of the EU’s legislating institutions and consequently enjoy wider discretionary limits. When it comes to advancing European integration, discord among the Commission and a less-integrationist lead Directorate incentivises the European Parliament and Council to grant the latter sufficient leeway to steer policy outcomes away from more extreme positions of the Commission. Anastasia’s contribution highlights the benefits of paying close attention to the motivations of individual Directorates General rather than treating the Commission as a unitary actor: “[I]nternal conflict and deviating preferences within this institution shape both policy proposals and the discretionary power available to the Commission at the implementation stage.”
Refereeing is the lifeblood of our profession, at least in this day and age. As authors and editors, we have to take it for granted that our colleagues invest time and effort into assessing the quality of our work. We as editors, of JEPP never cease to be grateful that (until now!) we always find dedicated colleagues who take on this important task for every single paper that we send out for review (and there are luckily many papers making their way to JEPP). We owe our reviewers an immense amount of recognition and gratitude. To emphasize the importance of reviewing, we have decided to award an annual reviewer prize, following the admirable step that some other journals in our discipline have already taken. With this prize we want to recognize the exceptional commitment of our reviewers as well as their selfless investment in helping to improve the work of colleagues.
This year, we are happy to award the first two reviewer prizes to honour these qualities to:
Frank Baumgartner (UNC Chapel Hill)
Eva Thomann (University of Exeter)
Congratulations to our prize winners!