N° 46 2014/4 – The Export of Norms beyond the European Union


edited by Elsa Tulmets, 2014/4 (n°46)


Special Issue


Elsa Tulmets – Analyzing the Export of Norms outside the European Union. An Eclectic Approach

This special issue proposes to present and discuss the issue of the exportation of norms in international relations, in particular in the framework of the external policies of the European Union (EU). The notion of transfer has largely been used in sociology, public policy and comparative studies in order to describe the process of export of norms, policies and institutions. In the framework of European Studies, it has encountered some success though the work on Europeanisation of internal as well as external policies. In order to respond to criticism expressed against the concept of transfer, the eclectic approach adopted here proposes to let open the question of the choice of the concepts from the “policy transfer studies depending on four factors: the nature of the norms exported, the nature of the policies, the motivations of the actors – who are seldom only European institutions, but also national actors, international organizations, non-governmental actors – and the role of their interactions.


Elsa Tulmets – Exporting “Soft Norms” through the European Union’s External Policy. A Single or Several Models?

This article shortly reviews the literature on the circulation of norms in the context of accession to the European Union (EU) and European neighbourhood policy (ENP) in order to show that debates on transfer in other disciplines of social sciences can fruitfully nurture those on norm exportation in international relations and in the EU foreign policy in particular. The example of differentiated interpretations and translations of the “soft norm of “good governance in the field of institutional reforms shows that it is necessary to combine difference concepts in order to detail more precisely ongoing processes in relation to the eastern neighbourhood.


Rodica Plugaru – The Power of International Actors in Transfers. The Case of International Organizations and Private Firms in Hospital Modernization in Ukraine and Moldova

In this article, I explore the role of international organizations and private firms in the process of policy transfer, taking the case of hospital design modernization in Ukraine and Moldova. I argue that international organizations are more powerful than private practices in transferring their experience: while the first can exert coercion, the second need to “sell their hospital model. My results show that the World Bank use coercive pressure all along the Moldavian project, while in Ukraine, the private firms use commercial strategies to transfer their hospital model. Nevertheless, the economic actors are also capable of using coercive pressures, in case all the other “soft strategies are unsuccessful.


Katerina Kesa – Sharing the Baltic Experience with Eastern Partnership Countries

This paper proposes to study the case of exportation of norms (practices and know-how) by the Baltic States towards Eastern Europe. Following an interdisciplinary approach intersecting the mechanisms of Policy Transfert Studies (PTS) and the historical and comparative approach, it attempts to explain the reasons behind the Baltic States involvement in the East, the processes and the methods of implementation, the role of actors-donors as well as their interaction with their local partners. Through three study cases of expertise, we will draw some parallels with the Nordics assistance towards the Baltics (1990) to see how the Nordic model of assistance serves as an inspiration for the Baltic States action today.


Hélène Colineau – Questioning Norm Diffusion in the EU’s Aid to Countries in Transition. The Case of Prison Reform Projects

This article questions the circulation of norms and policy solutions through the European Union’s development cooperation policy, the relations between the EU and its partners being less marked by constraints than with candidate countries. Our analysis focuses on the concrete aspect of this policy, by studying human rights and rule of law promotion through prison reform projects funded by the EU in its partner states, mainly from the neighbourhood. The agents must translate soft law into actions that will make up the project. Ultimately, the circulation we observe in these projects is far from obvious, but rather fine and dependent on interindividual relationships. As a result we contend that this circulation should be considered as diffusion rather than transfer.


Bernd Weber – Convergence at the Borderline. EU External Energy Governance towards the Neighbouring Gas Suppliers Azerbaijan and Algeria

The export of EU norms to regulate gas markets and transnational infrastructure has become the leitmotif of EU external energy policy in the neighbourhood. This article compares two least likely cases of EU external energy governance in this regard. It accounts for a varying degree of convergence with EU norms as the result of an unstable, open, and conflictual process. The analytical framework broadens the scope of existing studies by factoring in geopolitical and market-based constraints and influences, which often outweigh EU coercion. It is argued that EU external energy governance is more effective, if it is “decentred”.


Critical Readings


Réjane Sénac – Sophie Jacquot, L’égalité au nom du marché ? Émergence et démantèlement de la politique européenne d’égalité entre les hommes et les femmes 

Francisco Roa Bastos – Julie Bailleux, Penser l’Europe par le droit. L’invention du droit communautaire en France

Elsa Massoc – Bernard Jullien and Andy Smith, The EU’s Government of Industries. Markets, Institutions and Politics

To what extent is the business of industries governed at the European scale? Why is the European scale of government “incomplete across industries and across policy areas? What consequences does this have on the European political economy? These are the three ambitious questions that the collective work edited by Bernard Jullien and Andy Smith seeks to answer. To do so, the book traces the evolution