A responsive relationship? Setting the political agenda in the European Union

Petia Kostadinova (University of Illinois, Chicago)
Magda Giurcanu (National Louis University, Chicago)






In any democratic system, political decision-makers should shape policies according to public preferences. In the context of the EU, the public-to-policy linkage is often thought to be weak. In their article “A responsive relationship? setting the political agenda in the European Union”, Magda Giurcanu and Petia Kostadinova research the extent to which the European Commission responds to the preferences of the European public. They find that the Commission’s efforts to respond to public dissatisfaction with the EU already began during the first Barroso Presidency. The comparison between Europarties’ pledges issued during the 2004 EP elections and subsequent Commission policy priorities reveals that the Commission and the EP generally address the same topics in their public statements. Three conditions facilitate the Commission’s consideration of the EP’s agenda: (1) when levels of Euroscepticism are high, both in terms of principled opposition and critical positions towards European integration; (2) when the public cares deeply about the policies under consideration; and (3) when the topic of the policy proposal falls under a Commission Directorate best described as friendly to the public. Thus, the authors conclude that despite being an unelected body, the Commission strategically responds to pressures from below by taking into account the EP’s policy agenda in its policy priorities.

JEPP bibliometrics: the new numbers in 2021

The 2020 Journal Citation Reports release by Clarivate Analytics sees JEPP’s impact factor increase from 4.177 in 2019 to 7.339 in 2020 (note that the increase in the impact factor score is – in parts – due to the fact that Clarivate changed the way how the impact factors were calculated). JEPP thus continues to be ranked in the top 10 of all Political Science journals (6/182) and now ranks top in the Public Administration category (1/47).

JEPP was also able to hold on to its excellent third place in the 2021 Google Scholar Metrics ranking for Political Science, with an h-index of 63, up from 55 (only APSR and AJPS have slightly higher scores).

To top off yet another year of good news, JEPP continues to do very well on CiteScore provided by Scopus, with a score of 8.1 (up from 7.7), which implies that JEPP is ranked 2/165 in Public Administration and 20/1269 in the catch-all Sociology and Political Science category.

We won’t tire of thanking our family of authors who have chosen JEPP as the venue to publish their research, our board members and reviewers for their outstanding and continuing support, and our readers without whom JEPP would have never made it this far!

EU health solidarity in times of crisis: explaining public preferences towards EU risk pooling for medicines

Sharon Baute (University of Amsterdam)
Anniek de Ruijter (University of Amsterdam)







In view of the current COVID-19 pandemic, access to medicines has moved centre-stage in national health policy debates. One prominent point of contention is the development of a permanent system of EU joint procurement. Since the issue of joint procurement is politically contested, Sharon Baute and Anniek de Ruijter investigate potential dividing lines in their recently published article “EU health solidarity in times of crisis: explaining public preferences towards EU risk pooling for medicines”. Drawing on data from a conjoint experiment carried out among 10,000 respondents from five European member states, the authors find that Euroscepticism most strongly explains individual preferences over the design of EU risk pooling for medicines. By contrast, egalitarian ideology plays only a minor role. Beyond the pro versus anti EU-integration divide, the specificities of the COVID-19 pandemic raise a crisis-driven rationale through which citizens evaluate the desirability of alternative EU risk pooling designs. Across the whole spectrum of ideological and EU integration attitudes, the support for EU health solidarity strongly depends on medical need. Overall, these findings lend support for policymakers aiming to integrate welfare policy and build a stronger Social Europe.

Interest group tactics and legislative behaviour: how the mode of communication matters

Oliver Huwyler (University of Basel)
Shane Martin (University of Essex)






Interest groups frequently attempt to influence public policy by lobbying legislators. For decades, it has been debated whether lobbying benefits or undermines the democratic process. On the one hand, it may privilege some public preferences over others. On the other hand, it may help legislators to better understand citizens’ interests. In their recent article “Interest group tactics and legislative behaviour: how the mode of communication matters“, Oliver Huwyler and Shane Martin argue that the answer depends on how precisely lobbying is shaping legislative behaviour. Building on social presence theory, they expect that lobbying tactics with more direct contact are more likely to influence legislators’ behaviour. The analysis of all 217,886 lobbying attempts in the Irish Parliament between 2015 and 2019 and 167,347 parliamentary questions tabled by Irish legislators shows that lobbying tactics where communication is synchronous and rich in non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, and vocalics, is indeed more effective. In their conclusion, the authors hint at potential implications for representative democracy: “For better or worse, lobbying impacts what legislators do, and different communication tactics can be more or less effective.“

Having banks ‘play along’ state-bank coordination and state-guaranteed credit programs during the COVID-19 crisis in France and Germany

Elsa Clara Massoc (Goethe University Frankfurt)

How do governments convince profit-oriented banks to provide liquidity to firms in need? To shed light on that question, Elsa Clara Massoc analyzes the elaboration and implementation of state-guaranteed credit programs (SGCPs) during the COVID-19 crisis in her article “Having banks ‘play along’ state-bank coordination and state-guaranteed credit programs during the COVID-19 crisis in France and Germany”. The COVID-19 crisis constitutes a particularly puzzling case as no bank would, from a commercial point of view, willfully grant cheap and copious credit to struggling firms in the context of a global pandemic. SGCPs were specifically designed to make banks do so, nevertheless. Building on a comparative process analysis of SGCPs in France and Germany, Elsa shows that it has been less costly for the French government to convince their banks to provide liquidity as German banks obtained better terms for their participation in their national SCGP. The variation stems from differences in the institutionalized state-bank modes of coordination: In France, state-bank coordination is characterized by mutual trust among a small number of socially homogeneous groups used to close cooperation. By contrast, state-bank coordination is weaker in Germany. As a consequence, state officials have to resort to monetary incentives to persuade banks. State-led credit allocation may prove an essential tool in maintaining modern states’ capacity to govern in economic crises, and different modes of coordination between states and banks are instructive for how states are able to meet that challenge.

Online Special Issue No 2-2021: The Brexit Referendum

Five years ago, on 23 June 2016, citizens of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar voted in favor of leaving the European Union. Unprecedented in the history of the EU, the Brexit referendum and its consequences generated ample research, which is also reflected in submissions to and publications in JEPP. The first Debate Section on the British exit from the EU discussing the potential effects for the EU was published online in April 2016. Since then, 128 articles appeared in JEPP analyzing the referendum’s political, financial and legal implications for Great Britain and the EU, its importance as electoral issue or its meaning for theories of European integration. To mark the fifth “anniversary” of the Brexit vote, we highlight seven of these excellent contributions in this online Special Issue – consider putting them on your academic summer reading list! They are free access until 31 July 2021.

Alexander Spencer & Kai Oppermann (2020) Narrative genres of Brexit: the Leave campaign and the success of romance, Journal of European Public Policy, 27:5, 666-684, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2019.1662828

Claire A. Dunlop, Scott James & Claudio M. Radaelli (2020) Can’t get no learning: the Brexit fiasco through the lens of policy learning, Journal of European Public Policy, 27:5, 703-722, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2019.1667415

Darrin Baines, Sharron Brewer & Adrian Kay (2020) Political, process and programme failures in the Brexit fiasco: exploring the role of policy deception, Journal of European Public Policy, 27:5, 742-760, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2020.1722203

David Howarth & Lucia Quaglia (2018) Brexit and the battle for financial services, Journal of European Public Policy, 25:8, 1118-1136, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2018.1467950

Filipa Figueira & Benjamin Martill (2020) Bounded rationality and the Brexit negotiations: why Britain failed to understand the EU, Journal of European Public Policy, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2020.1810103

Michael Keating (2021) Taking back control? Brexit and the territorial constitution of the United Kingdom, Journal of European Public Policy, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2021.1876156

Sara B. Hobolt (2016) The Brexit vote: a divided nation, a divided continent, Journal of European Public Policy, 23:9, 1259-1277, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2016.1225785

Online Special Issue No 1-2021: A Reading List on European Integration

This year, May 9th marks the 71st anniversary of the Schuman Declaration. We would like to celebrate this occasion by highlighting eight great contributions to the scholarship on European Integration. The choice was difficult, as you can imagine, since JEPP published almost 950 articles that at least mentioned ‘European Integration’, around 90 that referred to the term in the keywords and 70 that prominently placed it in the title between 1994 and 2021. The authors provide very different perspectives and angles, from explaining EU integration in normal times and crisis episodes, public attitudes about integration, to the effects of European integration on domestic processes and actors. So, we are convinced the pieces from our online special issue are a great addition to your reading list. Our small collection of articles will be free access until 31 May 2021. Enjoy reading:


Bryan Wendon (1994) British trade union responses to European integration, Journal of European Public Policy, 1:2, 243-261, DOI: 10.1080/13501769408406957

Alec Stone Sweet & Wayne Sandholtz (1997) European integration and supranational governance, Journal of European Public Policy, 4:3, 297-317, DOI: 10.1080/13501769780000011

Ian Bailey (2002) National adaptation to European integration: institutional vetoes and goodness-of-fit, Journal of European Public Policy, 9:5, 791-811, DOI: 10.1080/13501760210162366

Anke Hassel, Jette Steen Knudsen & Bettina Wagner (2016) Winning the battle or losing the war: the impact of European integration on labour market institutions in Germany and Denmark, Journal of European Public Policy, 23:8, 1218-1239, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2016.1186209

Kathryn Simpson & Matthew Loveless (2017) Another chance? Concerns about inequality, support for the European Union and further European integration, Journal of European Public Policy, 24:7, 1069-1089, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2016.1170872

Tanja A. Börzel & Thomas Risse (2018) From the euro to the Schengen crises: European integration theories, politicization, and identity politics, Journal of European Public Policy, 25:1, 83-108, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2017.1310281

Liesbet Hooghe & Gary Marks (2019) Grand theories of European integration in the twenty-first century, Journal of European Public Policy, 26:8, 1113-1133, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2019.1569711

Cengiz Erisen, Sofia Vasilopoulou & Cigdem Kentmen-Cin (2020) Emotional reactions to immigration and support for EU cooperation on immigration and terrorism, Journal of European Public Policy, 27:6, 795-813, DOI: 10.1080/13501763.2019.1630470

External borders and internal freedoms: how the refugee crisis shaped the bordering preferences of European citizens

Philipp Lutz (University of Geneva)
Philipp Lutz (University of Geneva)

Does an external shock affect public opinion about adequate internal and external border restrictions in Europe? Yes and no, is the answer from Philipp Lutz and his co-author in the recently published article “External borders and internal freedoms: how the refugee crisis shaped the bordering preferences of European citizens”. The authors argue that the irregular inflow of immigrants, understood as a failure of external exclusion, could go hand in hand with citizens’ decreasing support for free movement within Europe. According to their rationale, the external threat posed by immigration might activate feelings of national identity and fuel scepticism about the EU’s ability to guarantee the integrity of internal freedoms. Drawing on Eurobarometer data between 2012 and 2018, their findings highlight that Europeans’ long-term support for free movement has been unaffected by the refugee crisis. In contrast, after the crisis citizens became more positive about internal migration and increasingly preferred border controls at the European, rather than at their national borders. Based on these findings Philipp Lutz and Felix Karstens conclude that political elites’ fears that failure to limit irregular border crossings undermines public support for free freedom of movement within Europe or the European model as a whole is unsubstantiated.


The use of pseudo-causal narratives in EU policies: the case of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa

Natascha Zaun (LSE)
Natascha Zaun (LSE)
Olivia Nantermoz (LSE)
Olivia Nantermoz (LSE)







In light of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, the EU founded the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (‘EUTF’) to address ‘root causes’ of migration through preventive measures in countries of origin. EU policymakers adopted this framing of aid as a tool to prevent migratory movements even though it contradicts the broad academic consensus that development makes migration more likely. To understand how the misleading ‘root causes’ narrative gained political traction, Natasha Zaun and Olivia Nantermoz assess how EU policymakers created the assumption that development aid reduces migration flows in their recently published article “The use of pseudo-causal narratives in EU policies: the case of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa”. The frame analyses demonstrate that policy actors used the ‘root cause’ narrative against better evidence in order to signal that the EU actively responded to the ‘crisis’. It allowed the European Commission to rally support and reassert its legitimacy at a time when criticism over its inability to resolve the internal struggles became increasingly strong. The findings imply that even technocratic actors, which are expected to base their work on expertise and knowledge, strategically promote unwarranted causal narratives to legitimize their role politically when they are under pressure

Externalising internal policies via conflict: the EU’s indirect influence on international institutions

Manuel Becker (Uni Bamberg)
Manuel Becker (Uni Bamberg)

The recently published article “Externalising internal policies via conflict: the EU’s indirect influence on international institutions” by Manuel Becker proposes an innovative causal mechanism of how the EU might – intentionally or unintentionally – compel external institutions to adjust to EU policies. Manuel Becker argues that if European regulatory policies cause important European market actors to suspend the rules and obligations of other institutions, the EU can create a conflict that undermines the effectiveness of international institutions. To dissolve this conflict, external institutions need to enable mutual compliance for European market actors by realigning its policies towards European objectives. To test this proposed mechanism, the EU’s externalization of data protection to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the externalization of European fundamental rights to the UN Security Council (UNSC) serve as cases. Process-tracing reveals that the EU has indeed leverage over international institutions’ policies under specific conditions: The European actors’ market share needs to be sufficiently important to the international institution. The UNSC e.g. adapted its policies after the European Court of Justice ruled that European private banks have to release financial assets of individuals and entities connected to Al-Qaida since the UNSC’s listing procedures violated European fundamental rights. In this case, the EU had great leverage over the functionality of the international sanctions regime as the Eurozone had by far the biggest banking sector and thus was considered a central player. Overall, the article implies that creating a vertical regulatory conflict can serve as an indirect tool of influence and can enhance the EU’s status as an independent player in international regulation.