The Spitzenkandidaten in European elections: In the spotlight or largely ignored?

Daniela Braun (LMU Munich) & Tobias Schwarzbözl (LMU Munich)

The nomination of lead candidates, or so-called Spitzenkandidaten, representing the biggest European political groups in the run-up to the European Parliament elections in 2014 fuelled hopes that electorates across Europe would finally show a stronger interest in European political debates and shake off the EU’s lingering democratic deficit. In the end, the Spitzenkandidaten hardly turned out to be the game-changers many hoped they would be. Instead, little interest in the candidates’ televised debate complemented voters’ general lack of knowledge about the candidates’ political profiles. In their article “Put in the spotlight or largely ignored? Emphasis on the Spitzenkandidaten by political parties in their online campaigns for European elections” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Daniela Braun and Tobias Schwarzbözl highlight that even national parties themselves were often unwilling to centre campaign efforts on their respective lead candidate. Using original data on national parties’ social media campaigns for the 2014 European Parliament elections, Daniela and Tobias show that only national parties affiliated with lead candidates generally placed a strong emphasis on the Spitzenkandidaten in their campaigns. The reluctance to put the spotlight on the Spitzenkandidaten indicates that not every national party faced sufficient incentives to rally behind their lead candidate in campaign communications. Casting doubt on hopes that lead candidates would help diminish the second-order status of EP elections, Daniela and Tobias’ analysis suggests that “the idea behind the introduction of Spitzenkandidaten to strengthen the relevance of these elections collides with most parties’ strategic considerations to make the candidates visible to voters.” Will the campaign for the upcoming 2019 elections be any different?

Capitalist diversity and compliance: economic reforms in Central and Eastern Europe after EU accession

Esther Ademmer (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)

Since the EU’s Eastern enlargement over a decade ago, Central and Eastern European member states’ track record of compliance with EU law has been closely scrutinized. It was feared that once the stick of withholding membership was gone, newer members states’ commitment to uphold EU law could potentially slump. In hindsight, it appears that these fears were unfounded: Until now, research has suggested that Central and Eastern European member states collectively fare well on the formal transposition of EU law, yet they struggle with de facto implementation. In search of an explanation for similar compliance patterns across Central and Eastern Europe, Esther Ademmer finds that compliance processes and outcomes among newer member states are not so homogenous after all. In her article “Capitalist diversity and compliance: economic reforms in Central and Eastern Europe after EU accession” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Esther uncovers variation in Central and Eastern European member states’ compliance with the Single Market acquis. Drawing on the Varieties of Capitalism literature, she identifies two clusters of newer member states, liberal and coordinated market economies, with different sets of explanatory factors shaping compliance patterns in the two groups. While the effectiveness of governments and their ideology appear to drive compliance in the liberal market economy cluster, Esther’s analysis suggests that among Central and Eastern European coordinated market economies “the interplay and preferences of various state and non-state actors are arguably more important for understanding compliance processes and outcomes”.

JEPP’s Best Paper Prize 2017

We are happy to announce the winner of the JEPP’s Best Paper Prize for 2017. Two members of JEPP’s editorial board, Will Jennings (University of Southampton) and Arndt Wonka (University of Bremen) selected among all original articles published in JEPP in 2017 (excluding Special Issues) their favorite piece:

Eva Heims (2017) ‘Regulatory co-ordination in the EU: a cross-sector comparison’, Journal of European Public Policy 24(8), 116-1134.

Eva Heims (University of York)

Statement: “The article ‘Regulatory co-ordination in the EU: a cross-sector comparison’ by Eva Heims of the University of York is an important study that shows that national regulators’ attitudes towards co-ordination by the EU are driven by the aim to protect their turf. The author specifies arguments that lead us to expect national regulatory agencies to engage in or refrain from horizontal cooperation between agencies in the EU regulatory system. The paper thus makes an important contribution to a better understanding of the conditions for successful administrative cooperation and implementation in EU regulatory politics. The research design has been carefully crafted to obtain data that can meaningfully inform the theoretical arguments. To provide original insights into regulatory coordination, the author draws on comparative case studies of food control and maritime safety in Germany and the UK. That data was obtained from policy documents and through semi-structured interviews with officials.

The article provides insights both in its theoretical arguments and empirical evidence. It argues for a new understanding of how national regulators use EU coordination to maintain their bureaucratic turf and should thus be of interest to students of public administration, regulatory policy-making and EU politics more generally.”

The prize-winning article will be freely available online until the end of 2018. JEPP’s editorial team congratulates Eva on winning the JEPP Best Paper Prize for 2017!