N° 49 2015/3 – Varia
This article deals with the institutionalisation of a service in charge of evaluation within an organisation (DG DEV of the European Commission) which had for a long time been opposed to the very idea of efficiency. It analyses the political and organisational stakes behind this service and its practices. Our hypothesis is that, due to strong resistance on the part of officials in DG DEVCO and EU delegations, these practices are akin to a ritual of conformity to the norms of efficiency which have become dominant on the agenda of donors.
Henri Boullier and Brice Laurent – Regulatory precaution: A European mode of governing technical objects
This paper focuses on the European REACH regulation on chemicals. We analyze the operations crafting regulatory categories that define technical objects and organize the distribution of powers between public and private, national and European actors. This article suggests that the concept of “regulatory precaution” helps characterize a European mode of governing chemicals. The examples of the registration of nanomaterials and that of the autorisation of phtalates highlight the choice made by the European Commission in favour of a “case by case approach” that ends up multiplying regulatory categories, while postponing the introduction of legal constraints. These initiatives are not consensual: member states and the European Parliament produce more rigid regulatory categories, and thereby suggest an alternative mode of governing chemicals. Thus, regulatory precaution offers a lens through which one can identify the constitutional effects of the regulatory categories for European technical objects.
Sarah Russeil and Aisling Healy – Choosing Urban Expertise for a Europe of Cities: The Eurocities Network and its Experts
Since the end of the 1980s, the European network of cities called Eurocities draws on a range of expertise in order to stand out as an interlocutor on urban issues in the eyes of European institutions and to take part in defining and implementing European public policies dedicated to cities. The initial construction of the network’s expertise was mainly done by academic experts. But once the network established regular relations with European institutions (the European Commission and then Parliament), these academic experts made way for experts coming from the cities’ staff and personnel. Analysing the urban expertise used and produced by this network enables us to demonstrate that it progressively met the expectations of European institutions. It also underlines some of the ways in which local actors (elected or appointed by cities and their local authorities) may make use of European institutions. Thanks to the expertise it produces and/or uses, this network is therefore a tool of empowerment, albeit one that is difficult to control, for those cities that wish to avoid the state-level of decision making by directly going to the European level.
The Lisbon Treaty introduced the Early Warning Mechanism into the EU decision-making process, under which National Parliaments monitor the subsidiarity compliance of EU legislative proposals. Whilst it is argued that in doing so they meet a collective action problem, National Parliaments have triggered the mechanism twice so far (COM/2012/0130/‘Monti II’ and COM/2013/0534/‘EPPO’). This paper analyzes how Parliaments managed to overcome the identified problem in these cases. It is demonstrated that they used to this end effective leadership and communication in the sense of inter-parliamentary cooperation.
The analysis of the three labour code reforms implemented in Portugal during the last decade (in 2003, 2009 and 2012) calls for an evaluation of the pressures exerted by the European Commission to increase labour market and work organization flexibility. Comparing the decision-making processes and political debates which arose for each of the three reforms sheds light on the multifaceted influence of the European Commission, i.e ., on the institutional context in which decisions are made (polity), on the configuration of political actors (politics), and on the content of domestic policy measures (policies). This article analyses the two-level games played by Portuguese political actors and the role of European integration in the politicization of employment policy reforms.
Andrew Anzur Clement – Sergio Fabbrini, Which European Union? Europe after the Euro Crisis