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Research Agenda Articles: Word Limit Extended to 8.000

JEPP encourages submissions of manuscripts for the Research Agenda Section at any time of the year. Typically, contributions to the research agenda section are broader in scope and more open-ended than individual research articles. They are expected

  1. to review the state of the art in a particular field of interest and, against this background,
  2. to develop an innovative research agenda with broad appeal to JEPP readers (i.e. going beyond the author’s individual research agenda).

Meeting both aims in 5.000 words proved challenging in the past, which is why we extended the word limit to 8.000.

Research agenda articles can depart from a review of recent trends in an established field of research or bring together different literatures around one common topic or concept. Previous contributions to this section have been very well cited and have also been used for teaching purposes, i.e. as research-oriented updates to conventional textbook chapters. Research agenda articles are subject to the normal peer review process and are edited by Michael Blauberger (for any questions, please contact him: michael.blauberger@plus.ac.at).

Happy Holiday Season

Dear friends of JEPP:

it is time to once again to thank you, our dear reviewers, authors and readers, for producing great research, constructively commenting on manuscripts and engaging with the pieces published in JEPP. We hope 2024 will be as productive for research on public policy, European politics and the EU as 2023 was.

Before we ring in the new year, we will spent some quiet days in the sun or the snow, or what is left thereof. Scroll down to read more about our plans. Hopefully, all of you can also enjoy a well-deserved break over the holidays. We are looking forward to hearing from you in 2024! Stay tuned for our upcoming issues, debate sections and special issues. Follow us on Twitter (@jepp_journal) or Blue Sky (@jeppjournal.bsky.social) and subscribe to our newsletter.

Happy holidays!

Your JEPP team

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For Michael, this will be the first Christmas without his beloved mother Monika. She died in August 2023 after difficult last months. To share the innumerable good memories of her, Michael will meet with some of her old friends over the holidays. Monika loved her grandson Kolja, whose first day in school she missed only narrowly and with whom she remains unbeaten as a team playing Memory. Her favorite flowers were cowslips.

 

Sarah and her family will leave their ‘creatively’ decorated home (photo) in Innsbruck to celebrate Christmas with her parents in the Black Forest. It will be their first Christmas as a family of four since the newest family member, Paula, was only born in October. They will hopefully eat a lot of Swabian treats like Maultaschen (Swabian Ravioli) and potato salad. before they return to the white mountains and back country skiing in Austria.

 

As usual, we will be spending Christmas at our holiday home in Akaroa, joined by our daughters Tess and Molly, and their partners Billy and Iain. Murphy, the family dog, will supervise Billy and Iain on the BBQ as Murphy is very particular about how his steak and sausages are cooked. As regular JEPP readers will be glad to hear, I remain persuaded that paddle boarding is NOT for anyone over 80. My more modest target is simply to get as far as this view.

 

Berthold and Jess will leave their digs in Upper Bavaria & Salzburg to spend Christmas with Berthold’s family in Tübingen, that is, in the heartland of Swabian-protestant ascetism. They hope for a feast nevertheless. Semih (pictured) will take a well-deserved vacation at his favorite cat hotel, where he and his friends will surely plot how they can fill our lives with ever more excitement in 2024. Happy holidays, everyone!

Special Issue: British policy-making after Brexit

The main purpose of this Special Issue is to provide an empirical analysis of the implications and constraints that confront policy-makers across a range of policy sectors in the aftermath of the UK’s momentous decision to leave the European Union. For the last seven years, the British Government has sought to ‘get Brexit done’ while assessing the scope for transformation of UK public policy. As the guest editors Patrick Diamond and Jeremy Richardson argue, the referendum decision to leave the EU unquestionably represented a critical juncture in British politics (Diamond and Richardson 2023). Indeed, Brexit was the first time in British political history that plebiscitary democracy triumphed over representative democracy (Dudley and Gamble 2023). Yet the intervening period of withdrawal negotiations have been characterised  by stasis, fiasco and muddling through, despite the UK Government’s intension to maximise regulatory divergence from Europe while reclaiming national sovereignty. An already weakened machinery of government came under severe strain in attempting to cope with the stark realities of Brexit (Diamond 2023). ‘Taking back control’ might have been a good marketing slogan, but delivering on it has been fraught with difficulties. For example, the UK’s attempt to depart from the EU’s state aid regime has left the UK in a state of ‘orbiting Europeanisation’(McGowan 2023). Similarly, in the case of criminal justice policy, the sheer weight of practical day to day realities has limited the degree of divergence (Mitsilegas and Guild 2023)

Patrick Diamond, University of London
Jeremy Richardson, University of Oxford and University of Canterbury

 

 

 

 

 

 

While in some strategic sectors, notably defence and foreign affairs, higher education, and agriculture there have been observable changes in policy direction as a consequence of Brexit (Martill 2023; Corbett & Hantrais 2023; Greer & Grant 2023), Brexit appears in practice to look less like a critical juncture since the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) was signed. Significant constraints have impacted on policy-makers, while path dependencies have gradually reasserted themselves. Moreover, there are certain features of the Brexit decision itself, combined with structural characteristics of the current UK policy-making process, that present huge challenges in the post-Brexit era. They are as likely to perpetuate stagnation and stasis as they are to facilitate far-reaching policy change.

Having only just begun to understand the inordinate complexity of Brexit, in May 2023 the UK Government announced that it is was amending the Retained EU Law Bill (REUL). REUL itself goes to the heart of the UK’s post-Brexit policy dilemma, illustrating the sheer scale of the policy challenges which the Brexit process has created. The British Government must decide how to deal with a swathe of legislation and regulation that have accumulated during fifty years of UK membership of the EC/EU. Undertaking this convoluted and intricate task has been compared to trying to unscramble an omelette. The post-Brexit challenge is to decide, first, how much of this EU legislation is to be ‘unmade in Britain’, and secondly, the specific content of that ‘unmade in Britain’ public policy.

Moreover, scrapping rules and regulations that seem minor or insignificant may actually be hugely consequential for the Conservative Government’s traditional allies, notably the private sector and, in particular, small business. Indeed, British business interests often played an active and influential role in the formulation of those very rules through their effective lobbying activities in Brussels. There will be long-term consequences for a whole raft of other interest groups, notably the trade unions (Copeland, 2023), women’s organisations (Sanders & Flavel, 2023), environmentalists (Gravey & Jordan, 2023), healthcare providers (Dayan et al, 2023), groups directly affected by foreign policy and trade policy (Martill, 2023; Garcia, 2023), as well as corporate interests in the financial sector (James & Quaglia, 2023). Decisions will no doubt depend on the effectiveness of interest groups in lobbying Parliament, although the current Government has not been especially inclined to work with external stakeholders since the Brexit process began seven years ago.

 

As this Special Issue illustrates, there are sectoral variations in the degree to which British public policy might diverge from existing EU policy over time, with the ideology of parties and factions within them likely to play an important role. If there is significant change, it will in turn have distributional consequences. For example, the presumption that de-regulation and ‘cutting red tape’ is inherently desirable is not a policy precept with which all businesses agree. Separate UK regulatory frameworks fit the ‘regain our sovereignty’ frame, but do they sit comfortably alongside the need for businesses to avoid having to comply with several different regulatory frameworks? Diverging from EU public policies will provoke a backlash from those (many) interest groups who have benefitted from EU membership, and will eventually present a strong challenge to those inclined towards a top-down, dirigiste, policy style. As Kelly and Tannan point out, ‘muscular’ approaches risk taking a wrecking ball to carefully crafted policies designed to solve intractable problems (Kelly & Tannam, 2023).

Moreover, the EU itself has a view on regulatory divergence by Britain. Just because it is no longer in the EU, Britain has not become an independent actor that faces no external constraints on its policy decisions. The reality of constrained policy choices is one that the short-lived Truss Administration discovered to its cost in autumn 2022 when forced to abandon a major package of tax cuts intended to enhance post-Brexit competitiveness in the face of a collapse of market confidence due to ballooning levels of UK government debt. The lack of engagement so far, both with interest groups and, at least prior to the election of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister, with the EU itself, merely increases the potential for policy errors and blunders. The importance of effective consultation with interest groups who are a huge repository of knowledge about the practical workings of EU public policies has yet to be acknowledged. As such, the UK seems destined to experience long-term policy drift with stagnation and stasis more likely to characterise key policy sectors than change and recalibration.

The authors of this blog are Patrick Diamond and Jeremy Richardson.

Special Issue: The politics of policy analysis: theoretical insights on real world problems

How can policy process research help to address policy and policymaking problems? This special issue of the Journal of European Public Policy seeks to address that question by examining the theory and practice of policy analysis. The call for papers sought state of the art articles that conceptualise the politics of policy analysis, and empirical studies that use theoretical insights to analyse and address real world problems. Contributions could draw on mainstream policy theories to explain how policymaking works, and/ or critical approaches that identify and challenge inequalities of power. Both approaches identify three general reference points or assumptions.

First, policy analysis is not a disinterested, objective search for truth and an optimal policy solution. It is not a technocratic process that can be separated from politics. Techniques such as cost-benefit analysis require technical skills, but are not a substitute for political debate. Therefore, phrases like ‘evidence based’ do not describe policymaking well.

Second, policy analysis is not part of a simple, orderly policy process. It does not contribute to a tightly managed policy cycle consisting of linear and clearly defined technical stages. Policymaking is a highly contested but unequal process. Many policymakers, analysts, and influencers cooperate or compete to use information selectively to define problems, and select policy solutions with inevitable winners and losers, in processes over which no actor has full understanding or control.

Third, optimal policy and linear policymaking are not good ideals anyway. The language of optimality depoliticises policy analysis and reduces attention to policy’s winners and losers. Simple images of policymaking suggest that policy problems are amenable to technical policy solutions. They downplay power and contestation. Ignoring or denying the politics of policy analysis is either naïve, based on insufficient knowledge of policymaking, or strategic, to exploit the benefits of portraying issues as technical and solutions as generally beneficial.

Further, governments are not in the problem solving business. Instead, they inherit policies that address some problems and create or exacerbate others, benefit some groups and marginalize others, or simply describe problems as too difficult to solve. The highest profile problems, such as global public health and climate change, require the kinds of (1) cooperation across many levels of government (and inside and outside of government), and (2) attention to issues of justice and equity, of which analysts could only dream.

This description of policymaking complexity presents a conundrum. On the one hand, there exist many five-step guides to analysis, accompanied by simple stage-based descriptions of policy processes, but they describe what policy actors would need or like to happen rather than policymaking reality. On the other, policy theory-informed studies are essential to explanation, but not yet essential reading for policy analysts. Policy theorists may be able to describe policy processes – and the role of policy analysts – more accurately than simple guides, but do not offer a clear way to guide action. Practitioner audiences are receptive to accurate descriptions of policymaking reality, but also want a take-home message that they can pick up and use in their work. Critical policy analysts may appreciate insights on the barriers to policy and policymaking change, but only if there is equal attention to how to overcome them.

We see this Special Issue as not only the source of five new articles (by Claudio M. Radaelli; Joshua Newman and Michael MintromJohanna Hornung; Kennet Lynggaard and Peter Triantafillou as well as Céline Mavrot, Susanne Hadorn and Fritz Sager) but also the spark for a longer term discussion about how to engage head-on with this theory-practice conundrum. In this more general project, we seek new research that can perform a dual purpose, to:

  1. improve policy theories and generate new empirical insights, and
  2. provide practical lessons to non-specialist audiences, many of whom would otherwise use too-simple models of policymaking to guide their understanding.

The following blog posts engage with these issues in five different ways:

Occupy the semantic space! Opening up the language of better regulation

Evidence-Based Policy, Artificial Intelligence, and the Ethical Practice of Policy Analysis

Social identities and deadlocked debates on nuclear energy policy

Discourse analysis and strategic policy advice: manoeuvring, navigating, and transforming policy

Blood, Sweat, and Cannabis: Real-World Policy Evaluation of Controversial Issues  

You can also read the full introduction to the Special Issue: Cairney, P. (2023) ‘The politics of policy analysis: theoretical insights on real world problems’, Journal of European Public Policy.

 

The author of this blog post is Paul Cairney, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, University of Stirling, UK

Jolly Good Reads II

So here comes part II with Berthold’s selection of jolly good reads from 2009-2023:

  • 2009: “An agenda setting piece for scholarship on EU rule transfer beyond the EU.” Sandra Lavenex & Frank Schimmelfennig: EU rules beyond EU borders: theorizing external governance in European politics, Journal of European Public Policy, 16:6, 791-812. 10.1080/13501760903087696
  • 2010: “One of the most insightful analyses of the EU’s democratic deficit to date.” Peter Mair & Jacques Thomassen: Political representation and government in the European Union, Journal of European Public Policy, 17:1, 20-35.10.1080/13501760903465132
  • 2011: “An essential piece to understand the evolution of the EU’s agency landscape.” Mark Thatcher: The creation of European regulatory agencies and its limits: a comparative analysis of European delegation, Journal of European Public Policy, 18:6, 790-809. 10.1080/13501763.2011.593308
  • 2012: “One of those big concepts that sticks and is useful.” Chad Damro: Market power Europe, Journal of European Public Policy, 19:5, 682-699.10.1080/13501763.2011.646779
  • 2013: “An immensely instructive assessment of the multiple streams framework to study policy change in the EU.” Robert Ackrill, Adrian Kay & Nikolaos Zahariadis: Ambiguity, multiple streams, and EU policy, Journal of European Public Policy, 20:6, 871-887. 10.1080/13501763.2013.781824
  • 2014: “The quintessential discursive institutionalist analysis of EMU reform.” Amandine Crespy & Vivien Schmidt: The clash of Titans: France, Germany and the discursive double game of EMU reform, Journal of European Public Policy, 21:8, 1085-1101. 10.1080/13501763.2014.914629
  • 2015: “Excellent work on lobbying simply won’t stop making its way to JEPP. Another exemplary piece by some of the very best in the field.” Heike Klüver, Caelesta Braun & Jan Beyers: Legislative lobbying in context: towards a conceptual framework of interest group lobbying in the European Union, JEPP, 22:4, 447-461. 10.1080/13501763.2014.994020
  • 2016: “An instant classic on Brexit; no, *the* instant classic!” Sara B. Hobolt: The Brexit vote: a divided nation, a divided continent, Journal of European Public Policy, 23:9, 1259-1277. 10.1080/13501763.2016.1225785
  • 2017: “An outstanding piece on the limited success to integrate environmental considerations in the EU’s agricultural policy.” Gerry Alons: Environmental policy integration in the EU’s common agricultural policy: greening or greenwashing?, Journal of European Public Policy, 24:11, 1604-1622. 10.1080/13501763.2017.1334085
  • 2018: “A piece that stands for the coming of a new era.” Liesbet Hooghe & Gary Marks: Cleavage theory meets Europe’s crises: Lipset, Rokkan, and the transnational cleavage, Journal of European Public Policy, 25:1, 109-135.10.1080/13501763.2017.1310279
  • 2019: “Look no further for a state of the art analysis of how identity politics shape EU integration.” Theresa Kuhn: Grand theories of European integration revisited: does identity politics shape the course of European integration?, Journal of European Public Policy, 26:8, 1213-1230. 10.1080/13501763.2019.1622588
  • 2020: “The essential account of the EU’s “other” democratic deficit. JEPP piece best known amongst Hungarian government officials, it seems.” R. Daniel Kelemen: The European Union’s authoritarian equilibrium, Journal of European Public Policy, 27:3, 481-499. 10.1080/13501763.2020.1712455
  • 2021: “A must read to grasp the socio-economic base of radical right party support.” Sarah Engler & David Weisstanner: The threat of social decline: income inequality and radical right support, Journal of European Public Policy, 28:2, 153-173. 10.1080/13501763.2020.1733636
  • 2022: “A must-read on policy responses to Covid-19 across Europe.” Dimiter Toshkov, Brendan Carroll & Kutsal Yesilkagit: Government capacity, societal trust or party preferences: what accounts for the variety of national policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe?, JEPP, 29:7, 1009-1028. 10.1080/13501763.2021.1928270
  • 2023: “If you wonder what we can learn from over a decade of EU crisis politics and research, look no further.” Maurizio Ferrera, Hanspeter Kriesi & Waltraud Schelkle: Maintaining the EU’s compound polity during the long crisis decade, Journal of European Public Policy (early view). 10.1080/13501763.2023.2165698

 

 

Jolly Good Reads I

It is time to celebrate: JEPP is turning 30 this year. And, what is the best way to celebrate an academic journal’s anniversary? Well, to highlight jolly good reads from the last three decades. We decided to pick one per year, so thirty all together.

We start with Jeremy’s selection of articles and his explanations as to why they are great

  • 1994: “An excellent example of lesson-drawing from comparative public policy research.” Giandomenico Majone: Paradoxes of privatization and deregulation, Journal of European Public Policy, 1:1, 53-69, 10.1080/13501769408406947
  • 1995: “A really perceptive analysis of the complex relationship between power and knowledge.” Claudio M. Radaelli: The role of knowledge in the policy process, Journal of European Public Policy, 2:2, 159-183. 10.1080/13501769508406981
  • 1996: “A landmark article on the nature of the EU regulatory process.” Adrienne Héritier: The accommodation of diversity in European policy‐making and its outcomes: Regulatory policy as a patchwork, Journal of European Public Policy, 3:2, 149-167. 10.1080/13501769608407026
  • 1997: “A classic ‘big picture’ article and a huge contribution to our understanding of how integration takes place.” Alec Stone Sweet&Wayne Sandholtz: European integration and supranational governance, Journal of European Public Policy, 4:3, 297-317. 10.1080/13501769780000011
  • 1998: “JEPP struck lucky in persuading Paul to contribute a revision to his pathbreaking ACF.” Paul A. Sabatier: The advocacy coalition framework: revisions and relevance for Europe, Journal of European Public Policy, 5:1, 98-130. 10.1080/13501768880000051
  • 1999: “One of those ground-breaking articles that made us all think out of the box.” Thomas Christiansen, Knud Erik Jorgensen & Antje Wiener: The social construction of Europe, Journal of European Public Policy, 6:4, 528-544. 10.1080/135017699343450
  • 2000: “JEPP subsequently published many articles on transposition and implementation. This article set the standard and has been the ‘gateway’ through which most other studies have to pass. Simply classic!” Tanja A. Börzel: Why there is no ‘southern problem’. On environmental leaders and laggards in the European Union, Journal of European Public Policy, 7:1, 141-162. 10.1080/135017600343313
  • 2001: “This article is as relevant today as it was over twenty years ago. Such clear thinking.” Kenneth W. Abbott & Duncan Snidal: International ‘standards’ and international governance, Journal of European Public Policy, 8:3, 345-370. 10.1080/13501760110056013
  • 2002: “JEPP has become the go to journal for work on EU lobbying. This article is the absolute pick of a large tranche of high-class work on the EU lobbying system.” Pieter Bouwen: Corporate lobbying in the European Union: the logic of access, Journal of European Public Policy, 9:3, 365-390. 10.1080/13501760210138796
  • 2003: An outstanding contribution to the study of European identity from an outstanding scholar.” Thomas Risse: The Euro between national and European identity, Journal of European Public Policy, 10:4, 487-505. 10.1080/1350176032000101235
  • 2004: “An article that is good to revisit at a time when evidence based policy-making is much talked about but rarely seen in the wild!” Peter Haas: When does power listen to truth? A constructivist approach to the policy process, Journal of European Public Policy, 11:4, 569-592. 10.1080/1350176042000248034
  • 2005: “A really thought-provoking article on a topic central to the study of policy change.” Christoph Knill: Cross-national policy convergence: concepts, approaches and explanatory factors, Journal of European Public Policy, 12:5, 764-774. 10.1080/13501760500161332
  • 2006: “I wish I could write articles as good as this! The comparative agendas project remains hugely influential in policy studies. JEPP was particularly lucky to get this contribution.” Frank R. Baumgartner, Christoffer Green-Pedersen & Bryan D. Jones: Comparative studies of policy agendas, Journal of European Public Policy, 13:7, 959-974. 10.1080/13501760600923805
  • 2007: “So much has been and is written about ‘governance’. If you are planning to join the throng, start with this article. A model of clear analytical thinking.” Oliver Treib, Holger Bähr & Gerda Falkner: Modes of governance: towards a conceptual clarification, Journal of European Public Policy, 14:1, 1-20. 10.1080/135017606061071406
  • “A really important and influential contribution that shows when and why organizations employ knowledge as a source of legitimation.” Christina Boswell: The political functions of expert knowledge: knowledge and legitimation in European Union immigration policy, Journal of European Public Policy, 15:4, 471-488. 10.1080/13501760801996634

Algorithms, data, and platforms: the diverse challenges of governing AI

Mark Nitzberg (right) and John Zysman (both University of California)
Mark Nitzberg (right) and John Zysman (left), both University of California

With the introduction of ChatGPT and similar tools based on artificial intelligence (AI), public debates have sparked renewed interest about the challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence. In this article, Mark Nitzberg and John Zysman discuss how AI can and should be governed from a national and global perspective. They argue that challenges of governing AI cannot be considered in isolation but in the larger context of a ‘toolbox’ that includes algorithms, data, processing power. And even more importantly, both platform firms and the platform technology itself need to be governed because they generate big data on which AI tools can operate. To strike a balance between encouraging the potential while minimizing the risk of AI, according to Mark and John, governing this toolbox needs to focus on two complementary approaches. One needs to focus on sector-specific applications to account for variations in gains and costs depending on the purpose and domain where it is applied. The other approach should focus on overarching principles and rules that cut across many social domains and economic sectors. However, since AI is identified as a critical component for national success and a global debate on AI beyond ethical expressions is unlikely, the article concludes that rather than a mutual agreement on a set of goals and market/social rules, governing AI should have the objectives of interoperability amongst nations with sometimes fundamentally different political economies.

Drivers of parliamentary opposition in European Union politics: institutional factors or party characteristics?

Thomas Persson, Uppsala University
Thomas Persson, Uppsala University
Christer Karlsson, Uppsala University
Christer Karlsson, Uppsala University
Felix Lehmann, University of Gothenburg
Felix Lehmann, University of Gothenburg
Moa Mårtensson, Uppsala University
Moa Mårtensson, Uppsala University

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do institutional factors and party characteristics shape parliamentary opposition in EU politics, ask Thomas Persson, Christer Karlsson, Felix Lehmann & Moa Mårtensson in this recently published article. They introduce the idea that opposition can either take the form of expressing critique (e.g., influencing or shaping policy-making) or providing alternatives (e.g., providing different policies or methods), and argue that the strength of oversight mechanisms as well as Euroscepticism of a party determines which form of opposition MPs choose to use. To test this argument, Thomas, Christer, Felix and Moa analyse more than 7,500 statements of MPs Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom during plenary sessions and deliberations during European Affairs Committee meetings. The analyses demonstrate that in the absence of strong oversight mechanisms, MPs primarily make use of opposition in form of critique. Additionally, and unsurprisingly, MPs belonging to Eurosceptic parties are champions of opposition both in form of expressing critique and presenting alternatives. Most interestingly, however, the results show that in contrast to members of Eurosceptic parties who engage in oppositional behavior irrespective of institutional contexts, MPs from Europhile parties seem to regard formal oversight mechanisms partly as a substitute for expressing opposition. With these findings, the article provides a more nuanced picture about the drivers of oppositional behavior in EU politics, it prompts future research to take into account the interplay between institutional set-ups and party characteristics when analyzing parliamentary opposition.

The varying effect of court-curbing: evidence from Hungary and Poland

Aylin Aydin-Cakir, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Aylin Aydin-Cakir, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

In recent years, several governments have tried to limit judicial power with court-curbing policies. Two of the countries that have witnessed constraints of judicial power lately are Hungary and Poland. Analyzing these developments, Aylin Aydin-Cakir’s article introduces the categorization of formal and informal court-cubing and explains why different court-curbing attempts affect judicial independence differently. Aylin argues that public discontent should be higher when the government tries to weaken the judiciary through informal court-curbing (i.e., unconstitutional strategies like unilaterally removing or threatening to remove judges from office). Constraining the judiciary in this way, lacks a solid legal framework, and should more extensively decrease public confidence in the judiciary. By contrast, formal court-cubing such as restructuring the judiciary via constitutional and legal reforms, should not decrease the perceived legitimacy of the ‘new’ constitutional court at least until these legal changes go into effect. Through a high level of public confidence, the judiciary might feel powerful and judges might continue to behave assertively vis-à-vis governmental policies. Employing the innovative synthetic control method, the article demonstrates that informal court-curbing as used by the PiS in Poland has indeed a greater negative impact on judicial independence and on public confidence in the judiciary than Fidesz’s predominantly formal court-curbing in Hungary. This study, thus, presents public confidence as an important moderating factor that can mitigate the overall negative impact of court-curbing on the independence of the judiciary.

Single issue EU referendums: tying hands, domestic effects and the challenge of consentification

Dermot Hodson, University of London and Imelda Maher, University College Dublin

Referendums on specific EU policies or EU integration more generally have become a familiar feature of EU politics. Dermot Hodson and Imelda Maher consider three main explanations for governments’ increasing call for referendums: to secure bargaining advantages at the EU level, to enhance political standing domestically and to (de-)legitimize EU decision-making. Based on case studies of eight single issue referendums in five EU member states, they demonstrate that governments tend to call a referendum when the issue at stake can be approved under domestic law, but lacks political legitimacy. Government leaders use referendums either to manage internal party differences, gain electoral advantages over rivals or boost their personal popularity. In light of these results, Dermot and Imelda contend that referendums as a strategic instrument of direct democracy will remain a prominent feature of EU politics in the future.