Public support for differentiated integration: individual liberal values and concerns about member state discrimination

Dirk Leuffen (University of Konstanz) (Photo: Ines Njer)
Dirk Leuffen (University of Konstanz) (Photo: Ines Njer)
Julian Schuessler (University of Konstanz)
Julian Schuessler (University of Konstanz)
Jana Gómez Díaz (Pompeu Fabre University)
(Photo: Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals)









What do EU’s citizens think about the notion of differentiated EU integration? In their recent article, “Public support for differentiated integration: individual liberal values and concerns about member state discrimination” Dirk Leuffen, Julian Schuessler & Jana Gómez Díaz argue that individuals which support values, such as the freedom of choice and tolerance of unequal outcomes are more likely to appreciate a ‘two-speed Europe’. Both, individual political attitudes concerning economic liberalism, as well as national sociotropic concerns are hypothesized to shape the support for differentiated integration. Using Eurobarometer survey data, the authors show that proponents of a EU of varying speeds do, indeed, display liberal-conservative dispositions, while strong supporters of the equality principle are less supportive of differentiated integration. Furthermore, the analysis sheds light on the role of the national context: citizens in the Southern European member states are more strongly opposed to the concept than citizens in the North and the East – most likely because of the prevalent negative consequences of the Eurozone crisis in these countries. The findings have far-reaching implications for policy makers. If large parts of EU citizens view a ‘two-speed Europe’ as discriminatory and non-solidary, it will be increasingly difficult to promote it as a legitimate tool for future European integration.



Congruent with whom? Parties’ issue emphases and voter preferences in welfare politics

Michael Pinggera (University of Zurich)

In recent decades, voters’ support for the expansion of the welfare state has increased, as has conflict over its specific design. How have political parties adapted their policy positions in light of this transformation of political demand? In his recently published article “Congruent with whom? Parties’ issue emphases and voter preferences in welfare politics”, Michael Pinggera investigates whether parties’ social policy emphases match the preferences of partisan voters, the median voter, or both. Drawing on original data from election manifestos and individual-level survey data from seven West European countries, Michael shows that parties focus on issues that are overly supported by both partisans and the median voter. Interestingly this finding also holds for radical right parties, even though previous literature would lead to expect that they are closer to their own supporters rather than the general electorate. However, issue emphases across parties differ in line with the demands of the parties’ voters. The findings imply that while politics has become issue-based in recent years, parties still remain representatives of social groups.


The European Parliament’s mandate for trilogues: explaining the discretion of political group advisors

Emmy Ruiter (Utrecht University)

A high share of EU legislative proposals is decided upon in a fast-tracked process called ‘trilogues’ taking place between representatives of the European Parliament, Council and Commission. To understand the EU’s inter-institutional negotiations, Emmy Ruiter investigates the way in which EU institutions internally prepare for these talks in her recent article The European Parliament’s mandate for trilogues: explaining the discretion of political group advisors. Based on interviews and a survey, Emmy demonstrates that Political Group Advisors (PGA) participate extensively in the intra-EP mandating process preceding trilogues. In particular during the early stages of co-ordination, they enjoy high levels of autonomy. Ahead of group and shadows meetings, PGAs act without well-defined instructions and base their actions on what they assume is in line with the group’s political agenda. She concludes with a normative caveat: “we need to consider the possible implications of PGAs’ autonomy for the legitimacy of EP decision-making“.


Season’s greetings from JEPP!

A year that turned our lives upside down draws to a close, and we want to take a moment to thank everyone who kept JEPP’s machine humming despite the circumstances! Our reviewers, who continued to take time out of busy schedules to offer useful advice on manuscripts, our authors, who kept firing off quality submissions, and our readers, who continued to pick up our latest issues after tiring days in their home offices. We hope everyone gets a well-deserved break over the holidays and are looking forward to seeing you in the next year!

We are ringing the new year in by welcoming a new member to the team! Sarah Dingler, Assistant Professor at the University of Innsbruck, will take over the reins of JEPP’s social media presence and strengthen the Alpine flair in the editorial office.

Stay tuned for our upcoming issues, debate sections and special issues. Follow us on Twitter (@jepp_journal), read and subscribe to our newsletter.

Season’s greetings and all good wishes,
Your JEPP team

PS: And if you’re keen to know how JEPP’s editorial team will spend their holidays, go ahead and scroll down!

In the absence of Christmas markets, Michi is already working towards ensuring “strategic autonomy” for his holiday break: large-scale production of own cookies has started, Christmas decoration massively expanded and Glühwein stocks refilled. Apart from this, he will follow his only sustainable strategy throughout 2020: no plans whatsoever! The picture was taken during the carefree month of August, but already then, he was very much looking forward to leaving this year behind and a bit more “old normal” in 2021.

For the first time, Sarah will spend Christmas together with Alex in Innsbruck this year. She will swap large family gatherings with (hopefully) solitary ski tours in the Austrian Alps. Instead of the usual Christmas presents, all she asks for is snow fall and good weather conditions for nice powder days. After some time of tranquility, she can’t wait for new endeavors in 2021 and looks very much forward to joining the JEPP’sters as Social Media editor.

Berthold and Jess will spend the holiday season in their digs near the Chiemsee. Pandemic-life and the end-of-the-year lockdown turn remaining travel options, such as the nearby farm to fetch fresh eggs, into a welcome change from online-teaching, online-researching, online-administrating and online-interacting. Funnily enough, pandemic-life has had zero impact on the workings of the JEPP editorial office. As always, just good old email at a dozen exchanged between down under and the deep Bavarian south. Pandemic-life has brought us a fur-pal from Istanbul. His name is Semih. He liked books when he joined our family in the summer. Now he is more into normal cat-like behavior, such as walking across computer keyboards and the unsolicited sending of half-finished emails. He will need some more training before he turns editorial assistant.

I am the odd one out on the team, living in NZ where there are currently (02/12/20)  no significant COVID-19 restrictions (things can change rapidly, as we all know). However, we plan to repeat our now well established Kiwi tradition of  heading for the Akaroa beach, ready for the Christmas BBQ. The ‘we’ is the usual ‘we’, namely me Sonia, Tess, Molly, and Murphy the dog. I am minded to have just one more go at standing up on a bloody paddle board as I noticed that some of them have sort of bike handlebars that one can hold on to. I showed one to Sonia the other weekend. My hunch is that I will not get beyond ‘I am minded…’.  I take this dirigiste attitude on the part of my wife to be an act of  true love, bearing in mind that the insurance payout from my death by drowning would be sufficient for her to buy a couple of new BMWs and have money to spare!

It’s been an odd year, to say the least. I spent most of the year cooped up in shoebox-sized flats in Northern London and Northern Sweden, seeing time fly by while seemingly nothing gets done. But looking back there is still not much to complain about, all the loved ones are healthy and happy, and at least the earlier parts of the year had some highlights (including a trip to the subarctic, eating Swedish pastries surrounded by plenty of snow). Plus, although the annual end-of-year visit to the parents in Munich is cancelled, I get to spend a few cosy days over Christmas with my significant other near Hampstead Heath (living in proximity to an open, green space was extra valuable throughout the year). In keeping with the things unusual this year, this post is also somewhat unusual: It’s the last post I write as JEPP’s Social Media Editor, as it’s time to pass the torch on and leave JEPP’s social media presence in very capable hands. I did the job for more than five years, usually too late in the evening, and it’s been very nice to meet so many of JEPP’s authors along the way. It’s been a pleasure, here’s to a more joyful new year for all of us!


Dieselgate and Eurolegalism. How a scandal fosters the Americanization of European law

Katharina van Elten (Ruhr Universität Bochum) & Britta Rehder (Ruhr Universität Bochum)

Following revelations that Germany’s largest car manufacturer had manipulated emission readings in its diesel cars, the German government’s decision to deny European owners of affected vehicles financial compensation had an arguably unforeseen and certainly unintended effect on both the German and European legal systems. In their article “Dieselgate and Eurolegalism. How a scandal fosters the Americanization of European law” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Katharina van Elten and Britta Rehder show how the German government’s decision spurred a transnational coalition of consumer organizations and law firms to take to the courts and challenge an unfavourable political decision through legal means. Historically uncommon in a European context, such litigation strategies appeared at odds with Germany’s traditional corporatist government-industry connections but were welcomed by the European Commission. Katharina and Britta trace a process that unfolded in the wake of the emissions scandal in Germany and ultimately concluded with a strengthening of collective litigation rights at the European level, most importantly through the ‘New Deal for Consumers’ Directive, which established a European collective redress mechanism. Katharina and Britta conclude that in “what seems to be the most important implication of the affair over emissions manipulation in diesel cars, class-action-style-models making it easier to pursue collective redress in civil courts have become a reality, not only in Germany but also at a European level.”

Does it pay to lobby? Examining the link between firm lobbying and firm profitability in the European Union

Adam W. Chalmers (King’s College London) & Francisco Santos Macedo (Independent researcher)

It is no secret that a broad variety of firms divert significant resources into lobbying the European Union’s political institutions. Naturally, scholars have questioned whether or not private companies’ lobbying efforts actually translate into tangible changes in the content of the EU’s legislative output. Their findings suggesting that firms more often than not lose their ‘lobbying battles’ then present a puzzle. Why would firms continue to pour money into lobbying that rarely succeeds? In their article “Does it pay to lobby? Examining the link between firm lobbying and firm profitability in the European Union” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Adam William Chalmers and Francisco Santos Macedo study the relationship between firms’ lobbying efforts and a success metric arguably closer to their key interests than changing legislative outcomes: profit. Drawing on original data comprising information on the lobbying and financial performance of over 700 firms over four years, Adam and Francisco show that spending more money on lobbying is positively associated with firms’ overall profitability. While private companies’ lobbying may rarely shape EU legislation, evidence suggests “that the institutional structure and lobbying context of the EU, which both requires considerable lobbying expenditures in the form of informational lobbying, and which promotes longer term relationships between lobbyists and public officials, is conducive to seeing financial returns on firms’ lobbying efforts.”

Bounded rationality and the Brexit negotiations: why Britain failed to understand the EU

Filipa Figueira (University College London) & Benjamin Martill (University of Edinburgh)

Ever since the British electorate set the United Kingdom on a path to leave the European Union, negotiations between London and Brussels aimed at ensuring that British interests are protected along the way have been anything but the proverbial ‘walk in the park’. Several observers have pointed out that flawed assumptions held by British negotiators about their European counterparts’ willingness to meet the UK’s demands translated into stuttering talks. In their article “Bounded rationality and the Brexit negotiations: why Britain failed to understand the EU” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Filipa Figueira and Benjamin Martill explore the sources of these biased assumptions. Drawing on evidence from a series of interviews with officials in London and Brussels conducted between 2017 and 2018, Filipa and Benjamin identify several inhibitors of rational decision-making that shaped the UK’s approach to Brexit negotiations, including a reliance on ill-fitting analogies based on past experiences and the exclusion of key sources of reliable information for decision-makers. Filipa and Benjamin conclude that “evidence from the Brexit case suggests adaptation and learning may be more difficult to achieve even in situations of high policy salience, since assumptions become ‘locked in’ and discrepant evidence cast aside.”

How women in the executive influence government stability

Svenja Krauss (University of Essex) & Corinna Kroeber (University of Greifswald)

Many European democracies are still some way off from achieving equal gender representation at the highest echelons of political power. Nonetheless, over the past decades the number of women holding ministerial portfolios in government cabinets has increased. How does the growing number of women in leadership positions shape the politics of governments? In their article “How women in the executive influence government stability” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Svenja Krauss and Corinna Kroeber offer evidence indicating that women in positions of power in the executive branch bolster government stability. Drawing on previous research showing that women in leadership positions are more likely to favour compromise and consensual solutions to conflicts than their male colleagues, Svenja and Corinna argue that governments run by female prime ministers and cabinets with a higher share of female members are more likely to avoid early termination due to internal conflicts. Using original data from 27 European countries between 1945 and 2018, Svenja and Corinna show that while there is no discernible effect of female prime ministers on government duration, cabinets with a higher proportion of female members are more resilient and less likely to face early termination than governments dominated by men. These findings suggest that “female ministers are able to introduce different behavioural norms and change the nature of politics towards a more compromise-oriented setting.”

Aiding the state: administrative capacity and creative compliance with European state aid rules in new member states

Nicole Lindstrom (University of York)

Following the 2008 financial crisis, administrations in EU member states faced incentives to prop up their domestic industries and shelter national economies from the pressures of transnational markets. These incentives set the stage for tensions with the European Commission, which may allow ‘horizontal’ state investments benefiting overall European competitiveness, but polices ‘vertical’ state aid favouring domestic companies over single market competitors. In her article “Aiding the state: administrative capacity and creative compliance with European state aid rules in new member states” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Nicole Lindstrom finds that the Hungarian government, usually a vocal proponent of state intervention, reported high proportions of horizontal state aid in the aftermath of the crisis. Nicole contrasts this finding with evidence of higher proportions of post-crisis vertical state aid in Estonia, an otherwise paradigmatic neoliberal state. Drawing on interviews with Hungarian and Estonian state aid officials as well as members of the European Commission to explain this counterintuitive pattern, Nicole offers a novel insight into the role administrative capacity plays in EU member states’ compliance with state aid rules: Skilled civil servants in the Hungarian administration shared the political leadership’s ideological commitment to assist domestic industries and facilitated the appearance of rule-conforming behaviour, while in practice implementing policies that ran counter to the EU’s objectives. Nicole’s findings show that “national administrators are important but hitherto understudied agents in navigating growing tensions between the uniform application of supranational free market rules and increased domestic politicization of the core incentives and obligations underlying the single market project.”

Caught between 1945 and 1989: collective memory and the rise of illiberal democracy in postcommunist Europe

Peter Verovšek (University of Sheffield)

Thirty years after the revolutions of 1989, a divide between Western and Central Europe remains apparent. In his article “Caught between 1945 and 1989: collective memory and the rise of illiberal democracy in postcommunist Europe” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Peter Verovšek argues that the commitment to the rule of law and protection of individual rights in West European democracies contrasts with the emphasis on the nation’s popular sovereignty and republican majority will characterising the approach to democracy in much of Central Europe. Peter notes that differences in societies’ collective memory, centred on two different historical ruptures, help explain the diverging conceptions of democracy in Western and Central Europe. While Western Europeans turn to the symbolic date of 1945, representing a repudiation of nationalism and the importance of protecting individual freedoms from the state, collective memory in Central Europe is shaped by the fall of communism in 1989, ending an oppresive political system imposed by an external power. Peter argues that “the differing memory cultures in these two regions help to explain why the West emphasizes the liberal protection of rights by a neutral, internationally embedded state, whereas postcommunist Europe emphasizes majoritarian voting and national sovereignty.”