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Do burqa bans make us safer? Veil prohibitions and terrorism in Europe

Nilay Saiya (Nanyang Technological University) & Stuti Manchanda (Nanyang Technological University)

In recent years, restrictions on the wearing of Islamic face veils have been implemented in several European states. Supporters of such restrictions often point out that the wearing of face veils prevents Muslim women from integrating into European societies, thus creating populations vulnerable to radicalization. Further, some perceive the Islamic face veil as a symbol associated with terrorism or even a physical threat. In their article “Do burqa bans make us safer? Veil prohibitions and terrorism in Europe” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Nilay Saiya and Stuti Manchanda offer evidence that bans on face veils do not foster national security. To the contrary Nilay and Stuti’s analysis of panel data for 28 European states between 2003 and 2017 shows that states which had restricted the wearing of Islamic face veils were more likely to experience terrorist events in response. Nilay and Stuti argue that rather than aiding cultural assimilation, limitations on religious dress engender grievances among Muslim populations and may even provoke violent backlash. Bans on face veils thus appear ill-suited to achieved their desired effect, ensuring national security. Nilay and Stuti’s findings underscore that “[i]t is important for governments to consider not only the human rights implications of restricting religious expression and women’s rights in the name of combatting terrorism, but the social, political and economic consequences as well.”

More Catholic than the Pope? Europeanisation, industrial policy and transnationalised capitalism in Eastern Europe

Visnja Vukov (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

When several Central and Eastern European (CEE) states joined the EU in the mid-2000s, some observers feared that Europeanisation of national policies would remain shallow among the union’s latest members. Expecting compliance on paper only and poor implementation rates, institutional and policy changes would fail to be locked-in and remain at risk of reversal. Recent signs of resurging economic nationalism in some CEE states appear to confirm these fears. In her article “More Catholic than the Pope? Europeanisation, industrial policy and transnationalised capitalism in Eastern Europe” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Visnja Vukov challenges these assessments by zooming in on national industrial policies. Visnja shows that CEE states have embraced horizontal state aid policies favoured by the EU and record even better compliance rates with EU state aid regulations than their Western neighbours. She attributes this somewhat puzzling pattern of ‘deep’ Europeanisation of industrial policies in CEE states to EU pre-accession conditionality and EU-led efforts to support institution-building. Visnja concludes that “[t]ogether, these elements played a key role in shifting domestic developmental strategies towards FDI-oriented ones, and building capacities for EU compliant industrial policies.”

Regulating the audit market in the European Union: who dominates, who loses?

Armin Mertens (University of Cologne)

Given the large number of interest groups that vie for the attention of decision-makers in EU institutions, questions surrounding which groups tend to succeed in translating their concerns into legislative text continue to be hotly debated among observers of EU policy-making. In his article “Regulating the audit market in the European Union: who dominates, who loses?” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Armin Mertens offers a novel approach on how to empirically study the influence different interest groups exert on EU policy-making. Rather than analysing interest groups’ preference attainment across different policies, Armin splits the text of a single piece of legislation on the EU’s audit market regulation into its constituent issues and evaluates interest groups’ success in getting their issue-specific concerns across. Further, instead of assuming that business groups voice homogenous interests, he distinguishes between large firms and small and medium-sized enterprises. Armin argues that these refinements in measuring interest groups’ influence are warranted, as his empirical results present a more nuanced picture than what existing research would have us expect. Armin’s analysis shows that “a general statement about the success of specific interest groups across all issues is difficult to make: interest group success in preference attainment depends heavily on issue salience and the size of issue-specific policy coalitions.”

Who refers most? Institutional incentives and judicial participation in the preliminary ruling system

Arthur Dyevre (KU Leuven), Monika Glavina (KU Leuven) & Angelina Atanasova (KU Leuven)

The preliminary reference procedure allows national courts to refer questions surrounding the clarification of EU law to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). In the past, the CJEU has often seized on these opportunities to advance social and economic integration in Europe through its jurisprudence. Unsurprisingly though, not all national courts appear equally eager to invest the extra effort and refer their cases to the CJEU. In their article “Who refers most? Institutional incentives and judicial participation in the preliminary ruling system” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Arthur Dyevre, Monika Glavina and Angelina Atanasova argue that in the face of a higher caseload, judges at national first-instance courts tend to afford less time per case than their colleagues higher up in national judicial hierarchies. Busier schedules would then lead us to expect lower referral rates among lower courts. To study the drivers of national courts’ referral rates to the CJEU, Arthur, Monika and Angelina extended, revised and supplemented existing data. Their evidence shows that while lower courts ‘accidentally’ pioneered the use of the preliminary reference procedure early on, higher appellate courts have established themselves as the most prominent referring courts over time. This pattern suggests that as lower courts kick-started an institutionalisation of EU law, higher courts had to divert their attention to supranational law, which then “allowed the division of labour underpinning the organisation of national judiciaries to reshape referral dynamics.”

Convergence, capitalist diversity, or political volatility? Immigration policy in Western Europe

Erica Consterdine (Lancaster University) & James Hampshire (University of Sussex)

Immigration has cemented its rank among the most salient policy issues across Europe over the past decades. In their article “Convergence, capitalist diversity, or political volatility? Immigration policy in Western Europe” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Erica Consterdine and James Hampshire employ an original immigration policy index to capture policy restrictiveness in five European countries between 1990 and 2015. Challenging accounts suggesting that forces of economic globalisation lead to policy convergence beyond governments’ control, Erica and James show that there is little evidence suggesting that immigration policies in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France and Spain have converged. Some of the observed variation in the restrictiveness of immigration policy can be explained by the varieties of capitalism (VoC) characterising these five countries. However, Erica and James show that differences between countries and over time are predominantly shaped by the dynamics of national politics and political parties’ competition for office. Their analysis suggests that “while VoC may set the broad parameters for immigration regimes, both the direction and timing of policy changes appear to be shaped by party competition.”

Salami tactics and the implementation of large-scale public projects

Markus Hinterleitner (KPM Center for Public Management, University of Bern)

Announcements for large-scale public projects typically provide politicians with opportunities to soak up some of the limelight. However, subsequent implementation phases of these projects often prove bumpy. In his article “Salami tactics and the implementation of large-scale public projects” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Markus Hinterleitner shows that when public projects’ costs outrun projected budgets and deadlines are unlikely to be met, politicians turn to a blame management strategy that has been widely neglected in the literature on policy implementation: the stepwise announcement of delays and cost-overruns, commonly known as ‘salami tactics’. Markus shows that the application of salami tactics has prominently featured in two large-scale public projects beset by a multitude of implementation issues, the Berlin Brandenburg Airport in Germany and the Swiss National Exposition Expo.02. While such tactics appear popular among reputation-sensitive politicians, as they allow the latter to portion blame into smaller, less damaging parts, Markus cautions that these strategies can have detrimental effects. He argues that by “delaying the revelation of a project’s real benefit-cost ratio (BCR), salami tactics prevent adaptations and readjustments in the early stages of the implementation phase that could save public resources.”

Networking for resources: how regulators use networks to compensate for lower staff levels

Francesca Pia Vantaggiato (University of California, Davis)

How do EU member states’ regulatory agencies cope with their broad portfolio of tasks when their resources are scarce? In her article “Networking for resources: how regulators use networks to compensate for lower staff levels” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Francesca Pia Vantaggiato argues that less well-resourced regulators turn to their informal networks with counterparts in other EU member states to source the necessary expertise to accomplish their tasks. Since the maintenance of networks involves costs, Francesca Pia expects regulatory agencies with intermediate levels of resources to benefit most from informal networking with their peers. Drawing on data from a survey of EU member states’ energy regulators fielded in 2015 and 2016, she finds evidence supporting her claim that it is predominantly agencies with access to moderate levels of resources engaging in network activism. Francesca Pia’s analysis highlights the benefits of national regulators’ embeddedness in the EU: Interdependence within the EU facilitates ties to well-resourced regulators in other member states, suggesting that European regulatory networks “have a consistent impact on improving European regulatory policy and practice via the national level.”

Institutional amnesia and public policy

Alastair Stark (University of Queensland) & Brian Head (University of Queensland)

We may believe that there is an inherent value in experimenting with policy reforms: Even in the unfortunate event of a policy not delivering its promised benefits, policy-makers have learned a lesson that would allow them to turn future initiatives into a success story. Alastair Stark and Brian Head warn that such optimistic views on ‘organizational learning’ omit the reality of ‘organizational forgetting’. In their article “Institutional amnesia and public policy” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Alastair and Brian present evidence from interviews with 100 senior policy practitioners from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to highlight that policy-makers themselves consider institutional amnesia as a serious concern undermining the performance of public administrations. Alastair and Brian offer a multi-dimensional operationalization of institutional amnesia, hypothesise how amnesia affects various fields of policy-making, and discuss how its detrimental effects can be mitigated. Acknowledging that a concern about organizational forgetting has fallen through the cracks of scholarly interest before, Alastair and Brian emphasize that “remedies for memory-loss will only be found once policy scholars realize what policy practitioners already know – that we cannot afford to keep forgetting about institutional amnesia.”

Parties, governments and the integration of immigrants

Lasse Aaskoven (University of Essex)

Ensuring the seamless integration of immigrants into the workforce has been a prominent concern for policy-makers in many developed democracies. High rates of unemployment among immigrants are often thought to put a strain on welfare systems and may fuel anti-immigrant sentiments within societies. In his article “Parties, governments and the integration of immigrants” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Lasse Aaskoven notes that some administrations must jump higher hurdles than others to foster immigrants’ successful integration into the labour market. He argues that single-party majority governments are in a better position to successfully reduce employment gaps between foreign and native-born workers than multi-party coalitions. An analysis of panel data comprising 28 OECD countries offers evidence that coalition governments’ need to reconcile diverging policy positions on immigration hinders the design of coherent, effective integrational policy packages. Since coalition governments are common across Europe, these findings are a cause for concern, as “party and electoral systems which give rise to multi-party and minority governments might thus indirectly be a non-trivial hindrance for better labor market integration of immigrants within developed democracies.”

Late bloomer? Agricultural policy integration and coordination patterns in climate policies

Nicole M. Schmidt (Heidelberg University)

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.”