N° 60, 2018/2 – Varia
Vincent Lebrou and Luc Sigalo Santos – How the European Social Fund is impacting local government: Reconfiguration of institutional relationships, redefinition of professional roles
Since the 1990s, the European Social Fund (ESF) has been one of the European Union’s main instruments of intervention in the Member States. Yet, the power issues underlying its local deployment remain poorly understood. Based on the results of their ethnographic surveys of departmental and regional administrations, the authors analyze the way in which these funds are appropriated, far from Brussels, by the agents in charge of their day-to-day management. Deconstructing an enchanted vision of “partnership”, they show that the ESF feeds competitive strategies that help reconfigure local institutional relations. They also show how this process helps to redefine bureaucratic roles, building managerial rigor at the top of the hierarchy of legitimate professional competencies.
Why has the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) proven so dysfunctional when tested? Beyond the circumstantial challenge of high numbers, is there not a deeper issue? In short, what is really the problem: refugees or EU asylum policy? This article sheds light on the inherent contradictions between narratives at play in the CEAS. Two structuring paradigms are identified: control and protection. The tension between them results in polarised representation of refugees based on powerful stereotypes that function as interpretative frames: the abuser and the vulnerable victim. This polarisation bears rich explanatory potential to understand tensions within the policy, with restrictive rules to prevent abuse of the asylum system being mitigated by wide-ranging exceptions introduced to better protect vulnerable persons.
Since the end of the communist era, the face of Eastern European trade unionism has been changing, while preserving some legacies of the previous period. The postcommunist period seems to be over and these unions could dedicate a part of their ressources to their integration into European and international arenas. However, this integration does not depend on their objectives only but also on those of the European and international organisations which they join. Consequently, they have to reconcile these different objectives with their ressources and legacies.
Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski and Roland Benedikter – Europe’s refugee and migrant crisis Political responses to asymmetrical pressures
The refugee and migrant crisis has been both one of the most important and most divisive political issues in recent European history. While often inappropriately identified as a pure refugee crisis, since its start in the aftermath of the Arab Spring in 2011 and in particular since its historically unique intensification in 2015, it is in reality a – much more multifaceted and encompassing – “mixed” refugee-migrant crisis. This article argues that the asymmetrical nature of the crisis paired with the uneven structure of the EU can largely explain how the EU has responded to the crisis. Three main aspects of asymmetry are identified in the refugee crisis. First, it is the asymmetrical character of the crisis itself affecting some EU member states to a much higher degree than others. Second, the uneven nature of the EU with its horizontal differentiation, opting-out clauses and asymmetrical burden sharing produces tends to produce asymmetrical responses by the EU. Third, the position of Germany as the key player in the bloc adds to the uneven nature of the EU and has in fact impacted heavily on how the crisis was handled in 2015-2016. All three asymmetrical features have largely determined why finding a common solution to the refugee crisis in the EU has proven to be difficult.
The increase in economic and trade exchanges between China and Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) goes along with the imposition of Chinese economic and political standards of international trade policy. This observation raises a question about the challenge posed by China’s normative influence to the European Union’s strategy exported to LAC. To answer this question, this paper analyses the normative power of China’s trade policy to LAC, to see if it carries a political and economic regional project comparable to and in competition with the model of governance and regional integration exported by the EU to the Latin American subcontinent.