N° 58, 2017/4 – The transformation of EU law-making process

POEU_058_L204Special Issue : Special Issue : The transformation of EU law-making process. Conflict, consensus and sectoral trends

Edited by Selma Bendjaballah, Stéphanie Novak, Olivier Rozenberg

Selma Bendjaballah, Stéphanie Novak, Olivier Rozenberg – Introduction

Alors que le système politique européen est traditionnellement considéré comme un système consensuel et comparé au modèle consociatif, on pourrait s’attendre à ce que les crises et tensions que l’Union européenne traverse depuis plusieurs années aient mis fin à cette prédominance du consensus au sein des institutions européennes. Si l’on pense à la multiplication des Conseils européens et des conflits…

Renaud Dehousse, Selma Bendjaballah, Geneviève Michaud, Olivier Rozenberg, Florence Deloche-Gaudez, Giuseppe Ciavarini Azzi, Olivier Costa, Romain Lalande – The Observatory of European Institutions. A Dataset On The Decision Making In The European Union (1996-2014)

Since 2005, the Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics (CEE) of Sciences Po has built an innovative project on the European Union (EU) legislative process. The Observatory of European Institutions (OEI) aims at better understanding the evolution of the legislative process in the EU since 1996. The goals of the Observatory are threefold. First, it aims at a better understanding of the political process through an innovative and wide-coverage database. For each adopted legislative act, about 100 variables are collected, each of them providing detail on the decision making in the EU and its Member States. Second, the Observatory values comparative approaches. The dataset allows for an in-depth analysis of each policy sector. All in all, the information in the Observatory opens up a number of new research opportunities such as the impact of new Treaties, institutional reforms or the ongoing economic and political crisis, on each policy sector. The dataset has been built up thanks to a French National Research Agency Funding (Agence nationale de la recherche) (2012-2015, ANR-12-BSH1-0012).

Renaud Dehousse, Stéphanie Novak, Selma Bendjaballah – Consensus under pressure The evolution of conflict in the EU legislative process

The current crisis could lead us to expect an overall increase of conflicts in the EU legislative process and eventually a shift from a consensual system to a majoritarian system. This paper aims to assess the evolution of conflict in the EU legislative process in order to test this expectation. It constitutes a first attempt to deepen our understanding of conflict in the EU legislative process thanks to the database of the Observatory of European Institutions. We first define several intra-institutional and inter-institutional indicators of conflict. Then we assess the evolution of conflict for the period 1996-2014. The data show a limited increase of conflict in the legislative process. However, the legislative actors still comply with the norm of consensus; the EU political system has not shifted from a consensual system to a majoritarian system. In order to explain this trend and apparent lack of change, we suggest several hypotheses: The institutions’ adaptation by stealth ; the inter-institutional drive towards legislative productivity; institutional patriotism.

Christophe Degryse, Philippe Pochet – European social dynamics through a quantitative approach

In this article, Christophe Degryse and Philippe Pochet propose a review of Social Europe based on the analysis of the number of “social” legislative texts adopted by the European institutions. This innovative quantitative approach allows to explore the periods of the most productive political dynamics in terms of social legislation and the evolution of the areas covered over time. This methodology makes it possible to highlight common characteristics with the mainstream analyses of Social Europe but also specificities, the least of which is not that the most important areas in quantitative terms are also those which have been least studied.

Renaud Dehousse – Economic and financial affairs in times of crisis: An unexpected resilience

This paper analyses the evolution of the legislative activity in the field of economic and financial affairs and the impact of the crisis on this sector. Even if the relations between member states are marked by tensions, we do not observe the same tendency at the institutional level: the increased number of legislative acts and their increased length do not correspond to growing conflicts between the institutional actors. Actually, the economic and financial affairs are less marked by conflicts than the other sectors. Moreover, the legislative actors still strive to find intra-institutional and interinstitutional compromises, which shows the resilience of the European institutions in spite of political disagreements among member states. The short-term and structural changes that have affected the EU for a decade have a limited impact on the consensual dynamics that remains a characteristic feature of the EU institutional system.

Matthieu Repplinger – Agriculture: the end of an exceptionalist policy?

The Common agricultural policy has long been based on a normative consensus called “agricultural exceptionalism”: agriculture has been considered as a social and economic activity that should not be treated like any other policy sector. However, agricultural exceptionalism has been put under during the last three decades. The emergence of neoliberalism and new trans-sectoral issues, such as consumers’or environmental protection, have overwhelmed the idea that agriculture should be given a special treatment by public actors. This article aims to enlighten a largely debated question: has a new policy paradigm been built over these new issues? Or have they been resisted by actors and institutions that try to preserve, with fluctuating success, the exceptionalist ideational framework? By using data about the legislative process, we conclude in favor of the second hypothesis. We thus show how the european agricultural policy can be qualified as “post-exceptionnalist”.

Antoine Bailleux – Free movement from a low-angle shot or The good (European) citizen designed by law

This paper sketches out a “collection of portraits” (the Worker, the Consumer, the Deserving, the Offender, the Sedentary and the Profiteer) of European citizenship, ranging from individuals who meet all the conditions in order to fully benefit from their status to citizens who do not derive any right from EU law. It is submitted not only that such a variable-geometry legal regime tells us something about the expectations of its designers toward European citizens, but also – and conversely – that this citizens’ typology sheds a new light on the political orientations underpinning the free movement legal regime.


Emma Bell – Karine Tournier-Sol, Prendre le large : le UKIP et le choix du Brexit, Paris, Vendémiaire, 2017, 151 pages.

Sarah C. Perret – Vers la structuration d’un nouveau champ d’étude sur la coopération européenne en matière de sécurité intérieure ?

Nathalie Berny – Wurzel Rüdiger K. W., Connelly James and Liefferink Duncan, The European Union in International Climate Change Politics. Still Taking a Lead ? Abingdon, Routledge, 2017.