The annual Journal Citation Report published by Clarivate Analytics is out and we are proud that JEPP climbed the ladder in both of its listed sections, ranking at 12/176 in the Political Science category and 6/47 in the Public Administration category in 2018. JEPP’s unprecedented Journal Impact Factor score of 3.457 for 2018 (up from 2.994 in 2017) is the cherry on top. Another record year for the journal would not have been possible without the continued support from our family of authors, reviewers and readers, and we are very grateful for your help in making JEPP a success.
Agriculture not only ranks among the biggest contributors to climate change, but the agricultural sector is also one of the most vulnerable to the impact of rising temperatures and extreme weather events. In light of its contribution and exposure to climate change, we may expect agriculture to feature prominently in debates on climate policy. In her article “Late bloomer? Agricultural policy integration and coordination patterns in climate policies” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Nicole M. Schmidt notes that despite its status, agriculture nonetheless seems to fall “between the cracks in climate policymaking.” Nicole analyses the content of more than 1,000 climate policies of 176 developed and developing countries adopted between 1990 and 2017 to identify whether climate policies reference agricultural issues and whether agriculture ministries were involved in the policy-making process. Nicole’s findings show that about half of the examined climate policies feature agricultural or food-related items, with an uptick in mentions of agricultural issues in both EU and non-EU countries’ climate policies since 2005. However, her findings also demonstrate that the remaining half of climate policies omit agricultural issues, while input from agricultural ministries is hardly ever mentioned. Based on this evidence, Nicole concludes that the “fragmentation of agricultural components and the absence of agricultural ministries in the coordination process highlight the challenges of integrating agriculture into climate policies and suggest that both domains continue to co-exist rather than to merge into an entity.”
Time and again, critical voices have highlighted that the EU’s political system suffers from a democratic deficit: EU policy tends to rank low on salience for European citizens while elections to the European Parliament are largely fought out in the shadow of national politics. These assessments would suggest that the European public’s preferences play a negligible role in determining the course of EU policy. Nonetheless, recent studies provide evidence that despite the EU’s democratic deficiencies, its policy output is often remarkably congruent with citizens’ priorities. In his article “Democratically deficient, yet responsive? How politicization facilitates responsiveness in the European Union” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Iskander De Bruycker addresses this puzzle and shows that the politicization of EU policy processes facilitates EU decision-makers’ responsiveness to demands for new policy initiatives voiced by European citizens. Drawing on evidence from Eurobarometer surveys on 15 policy issues between 2010 and 2016 as well as a content analysis of almost 6,000 media statements by political elites, Iskander shows that civil society groups’ mobilization in the media coupled with citizens’ demands for new initiatives are important determinants of EU decision-making. Iskander concludes that his findings point to a ‘politicization paradox’: “On the one hand, further politicization may derail deeper integration and induce policy deadlock”, yet “[o]n the other hand, politicization is a necessary condition for democratic deliberation and control for the EU to develop into a responsive and democratically mature political system.”
Committee chairs are a coveted prize among Members of the European Parliament (MEPs): MEPs serving as chairs exercise discretion over their respective committee’s agenda, they have a say on who gets invited to committee hearings and they get a seat at the table of inter-institutional negotiations on new policy initiatives, the so-called trilogues. Although committee chairs in the European Parliament undoubtedly play an influential role in the EU’s policy-making process, Mihail Chiru notes that “we know virtually nothing about how committee chairs are selected”. In his article “Loyal soldiers or seasoned leaders? The selection of committee chairs in the European Parliament” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Mihail draws on evidence from the European Parliament’s first seven terms between 1979 and 2014 to identify the drivers of committee chair allocations. His findings suggest that MEPs with prior experience as committee chairs stand a better chance of securing (re-)appointment than their less-experienced colleagues. In contrast, MEPs’ voting records and loyalty to their European party groups (EPGs) appears irrelevant for the allocation of committee chairs. In light of this evidence, Mihail concludes that the office allocation of committee chairs “mainly serves the informational needs of the EPGs and a premium is put on experience in the role, acquired in the EP and less so on pure policy expertise.”