Europe and Europeanisation Alistair Cole
What is Europeanisation? • The success of the concept of Europeanisation in recent years is due to the realization that EU policy has become domestic policy, with 80 per cent of all policy sectors influenced in one way or another by the Union. • Such processes might better be described as ‘EUisation’, insofar as they refer to the impact of the institutions, actors and policies of the European Union on its member states. • But most scholars prefer to reason in terms of Europeanisation and to avoid the unattractive phraseology of the alternative term.
Definitions 1 • Ladrech (1994, p. 70), namely: ‘Europeanization is an incremental process reorienting the direction and shape of politics to the degree that EC political and economic dynamics become part of the organizational logic of national politics and policy-making’. • Elsewhere, I have identified four main uses of Europeanisation: as an independent variable driving policy and institutional change, as a form of emulative policy transfer, as a smokescreen for domestic reform and as an imaginary constraint (Cole and Drake, 2000, Cole, 2001b). • Europeanisation can also signify the uploading of state preferences or prevailing intellectual frames to the EU level, itself a measure of the competition between national models in the hybrid quasi-polity that the European Union has become.
Europeanisation as an ‘independent variable’ • Europeanisation acts as an independent variable, when it can be demonstrated that the European Union has produced policy change: industrial policy, public services, environmental policy, or health and safety. • The regulatory policy style of the European Union can either conflict with or comfort the policy norms prevalent in member-states. In the case of France, the role of individual commissioners as policy entrepreneurs, such as Leon Brittan, Karel van Miert or Mario Monti in the sphere of competition policy, has highlighted the tension between EU regulatory norms and national political traditions. • In the British tradition, competition policy is an example of best practice, of preventing state interventionism and ensuring a level playing field between firms and countries. In the French tradition, competition policy has triumphed at the expense of industrial policy, • This strong use of Europeanisation is the one that causes the most difficulty... as it conflicts with national traditions, by definition variable.
Europeanisation as lesson-drawing and best practice • Soft Europeanisation refers to the process whereby member-states are influenced by strong national models within their midst. • The case is demonstrated clearly in the monetary sphere, with the German model of monetary policy management acting as a benchmark for others. • Best practice and a desire to imitate the most successful can produce a type of institutional isomorphism (Radaelli, 1997, 2004). Insofar as this involves importing models from a non-native political culture, this can also be considered as a form of Europeanisation. • Europeanisation is actively promoted by the EU Commission, as well as by member-states anxious to retain ownership of more integrated processes. • Thus: the Open method of Coordination is all about benchmarks in employment policy and the Lisbon agenda. Thus, the Bologna process of HE reform was initiated by member-states, not the Commission, and goes well beyond the actual EU. But it is a form of Europeanisation.
Europeanisation as ideational change • In a more ideational sense, the European perspective has affected cognitive assumptions about national and European models. • In all countries, public policy has become less self-sufficient, far more embedded in interdependent structures, and national elites have had to engage in policy learning and to experiment with new discursive forms. • Role of trans-national elites in banking and finance especially. Role of epistemic communties, think tanks, benchmarking…
Europeanisation as a smokescreen • Europeanisation has also been used as a smokescreen for domestic political strategies • The European ‘constraint’ has been evoked to make it easier to implement difficult domestic reforms. Administrative modernizers in France, Italy and elsewhere used Europe as a powerful domestic political resource for driving through change (Lequesne, 1993, 1996, Radaelli, 1997). • Conforming with the Maastricht convergence critieria provided an opportunity to cut public expenditure and raise taxes; the Italian case was exemplary in this respect. Overdue reforms could be laid at the door of the European Union. • But since the early 2000s, also, the EU has been routinely blamed for national economic ills – to the extent that the key supranational institutions of the Union have had to fight hard for their legitimacy.
Anti-Europeanisation and euroscepticism • There is also a much more constructed, ‘bottom up, version of Europeanization and of euro-scepticism, its mirror image. • How do people come to define and use Europe in their domestic arenas – whether positively or negatively – to justify and advance particular positions? This offers an actor-centred and not just an institution-focused approach. • Rozenberg’s four euro-scepticisms.
Europeanisation as adaptation • Adaptation/adjustment of preferences to the perceived requirements of integration is the strongest form of Europeanisation. There has been a proliferation of work looking at the domestic effects of European integration on political (typically executive) structures and on public policies.
Inertia and rejection • Inertia signifies the absence of any causal relationship between European-level and domestic change (Börzel, 2002). Policy change, or changing relations between the state and non-state actors, for example, might have nothing to do with EU level processes. • Rejection is much stronger. Social movement and party actors use an anti-EU discourse to shape their own strategies, while policy-makers resist unwelcome developments in European integration by all available means at their disposal.
A word of caution • There is common agreement that European integration has called into question many features associated with traditional models of European politics and policies (Bulmer, 2005, Featherstone and Radaelli, 2004, Cole and Drake, 2000, Ladrech 1994).# • It is difficult, however, to disentangle the impact of European integration from other causes of policy change, such as economic globalisation, changing policy fashions and endogenous political reforms. As much as a concept, Europeanisation is a discourse that can be used and abused. • What is the unit of analysis? Is it a country? There are always coalitions, cleavages, partisan and issue-based rivalries • The effects of Europeanisation are contingent on underlying events and closely related to the history of the European Union itself. The role of the EU in the mid-1980s, e.g., before the implementation of the SEA, was vastly different from that in the mid-2000s. The number of countries has doubled across the period.
Europe and some national traditions • Some traditions have always been difficult to reconcile with the European ideal: • Britain as the awkward partner is a case in point. • Others - such as the Federal Republic of Germany – for long appeared tailor-made to accompany the acceleration of European unity. Europe was Germany writ large: monetary policy was to be based on the German model; extending EU competencies was intellectually easy to conceive, because the EU seemed just to be another level in the federal system. • But, even in countries such as Germany, the European construction is not static! The development of EI has been, to some measure, contested by German länder, who complain of losing functions to the German Federal government and to the EU.
France • The domestic goodness of fit can vary considerably. In the case of France, the Europe of the Six was much easier to control than the Europe of the 25. • Europeanisation is also closely related to leadership, to perceptions of the role a specific country has within the Union. In the traditional French model, .e.g., Europeanisation was greatly valued, as the EU was a means for disseminating French influence across and beyond Europe. • But as the EU has enlarged, and as the policy direction it has taken has shifted, Europeanisation is less likely to be framed in such positive terms. • Though this is especially pertinent in the case of France, other nation traditions can have equally complex relationship with the theme of EU and Europeansiation:
Italy and Spain • Italy: instinctively pro-European and a founder member. But the Euro is causing serious adjustment problems. Italy can no longer use the tool of currency devaluation to ease pressure in its economy. The Euro seriously contested by parts of the Italian political class • Spain: instinctively pro-European.. great beneficiary of structural funds from late 1980s onwards. EU as a safeguard for Spanish democracy. Massive Yes vote for the constitution in 2005 (72%). But also demonstrated itself to be a powerful defenders of its own national interest in the debates over the Convention and fiercely resist any weakening of its QMV.
Ireland and the Netherlands • Ireland: another country whose renaissance has been linked to EU largesse. Spectacular economic growth – one of the powerhouses of the euro-zone. Positive image of Europe inculcated by objective one monies. Yet, even in Ireland, the Nice Treaty was, at first, rejected by popular referendum. • Netherlands: another key pro-European country, where the Monnet model of elite-driven integration was supposed to have large tacit support. But the spectacular rejection of the Constitution in June 2005 demonstrated the weakening popular legitimacy and the ability of Europeanisation to shift from being part of the national project to a perceived external and unwelcome force.
New CEE states • Poland: one of the key eurosceptical countries in the CEE. Europeanisation experienced as an assault on the key Catholic, clerical traditions: the entry of the Extreme Right (Sambroona) into the previous government a sign of the malaise of the Polish experience. The anti-EU discourse of the twins.. Now given way to a new wave of pro-European enthusiasm. But is this skin deep? • Slovenia/Lithuania… Bulgarian/Romania…
Europeanisation as the imperfect art of uploading French preferences • The European level has been valued as a site for the export of French ideas, policies and personnel. • France has been at least as successful in uploading its preferences (and personnel) to the EU level as any other member-state. • The basic architecture of the European bureaucracy (based around directions généralesand competitive examinations) is drawn from the experience of the French civil service. • Core common policies, such as CAP, were designed with the satisfaction of French domestic interests in mind. • Through the logic of the acquis communautaire, the forces of path dependency within the EU are strong (Pierson, 1996). These forces have been consistent with the pursuit of French national interests. • French leaders have been influential in steering key institutional reforms, such as the creation of the European Council in 1974, the draft Constitutional Treaty in 2004/simplified treaty 2007; and in launching major policy developments, such as the Single European Act, Economic and Monetary Union and the Common Foreign and Security Policy.
Unsuccessful uploading • Attempts to upload French models not always successful • The Jospin left-wing government of 1997-2002 repeatedly insisted upon the need to develop and defend the European social model, but failed to upload constraining targets and penalties (Cole, JCMS, 2001) • Sarkozy, like other French leaders previously, has made little headway in terms of the ECB and Economic Government • Selck and Kaeding (French Politics, 2004) calculate that France is less successful than the UK, Germany or even Italy in transforming its original policy preferences into EU legislative acts.
Adapting and Adjusting to Europe Adapting to the requirements of European integration is the strongest form of Europeanisation. The line of causality is clear. Domestic institutions and actors adapt their internal functioning to the logic of European integration. Adjusting to Europe implies a rather less clear-cut causal dynamic whereby the requirements of European integration are accommodated within existing institutions.
Strategic Adaptation • The Council of State long resisted the doctrine of the primacy of EU law, affirmed by the European Court of Justice as early as 1964. It finally admitted the principle of EU legal primacy in its Nicolo ruling of 1989. • Transforming constraint into opportunity, the Council of State subsequently acted as a political entrepreneur, seizing the window of opportunity provoked by legal uncertainty and the legitimacy vested by the European treaties to redefine its role within the French polity. • As the highest body of administrative law in the land, the Council of State has insisted upon its role as the guardian of the EU treaties and their implementation in France • Europeanisation strengthens legal actors over political ones. • Administrative tribunals have insisted on the legality of EU directives even when they have not been transposed into domestic law by the French government • Some examples where the ECJ has been asked to arbitrate have been genetically modified foods (1998), the remuneration of banking depositions (2002) and over working time (2003).
Reluctant Adjustment;The core executive and EU policy-making • European has created serious challenges of coordination and cultural adaptation for the French administration and core executive • In comparative terms, French decision-making on European issues is in theory a model of tight coordination and core executive control. European policy is officially managed by the General Secretariat for European Affairs (SGAE), an inter-ministerial mission formally attached to the Prime Minister’s office • Officials in the SGAE consider the French model to be the best in Europe. The SGAE not only coordinates French positions before and during EU negotiations, but arbitrates between rival ministerial claims and attempts to police the implementation of decisions taken. • Officials contrasted the French model favorably with that of Germany in particular, where multi-level institutional inputs and a lack of chancellor coordination were deemed to produce sub-optimal outcomes. • But in its 2007 report, the Council of State recommended the creation of a strategic European cell in the Elysée, argued for a stronger presidential political steering of European issues and implied shortcomings with existing arrangements.
Adjusting (with difficulty) to Europe: the French civil service machine • There is underlying unease across the French governmental machine about the role of EU actors usurping traditional prerogatives. • There remains a weak EU culture within French ministries. Central divisions within individual ministries are imbued with the culture of the decree and are reluctant to engage in impact assessment exercises. • As directives are highly technical, delays are commonplace. In terms of directives, the numbers have been increasing, from 70 in 1995 to 130 in 2003 and 111 in 2004. Ministries complain that they lack the expertise to transpose EU directives into national law. • In a string of reports, the European Commission has criticized France for its poor record in transcribing directives • France has regularly been found guilty by the ECJ, most recently (at the time of writing in December 2006) in relation to its failure to implement correctly the 2001 directive on genetically modified foods.
Inertia and institutions: the case of the French parliament • The existence of a democratic deficit is an established feature amongst scholars of the EU system of governance. In the case of the French Fifth Republic, the democratic deficit forms part of the 1958 constitution itself, which removes large areas of public policy from parliamentary scrutiny. • But European integration has not really empowered the French parliament. The National Assembly still only gives its opinion and has no binding authority. The French executive has used the ‘urgency’ procedure measures to push through EU legislation by decree. EU directives have been regrouped into packages and presented to parliament for block approval • The weakness of the French parliament owes little to the European Union.
Inertia and the causality of policy change • In the Europeanisation literature, inertia signals the absence of clear causal relationships between the policy change and European integration. • The case of economic and monetary union demonstrates the limits of Europeanisation analysis. EMU is the Europeanised policy domain par excellence. But, as I have argued elsewhere, EMU was only possible because the fundamental economic policy paths in France, Germany and elsewhere had narrowed long before the moves to monetary union. • Monetary Union crowned a process of EC economic convergence that was already well engaged. From the 1970s onwards, German norms in economic management were exported across Europe.
Resistance: public services, state aids, industrial policy • In the case of France the toughest challenges have been in those areas where the French model has been the most distinctive, in public services and industrial policy notably. • In the mainstream French tradition, in contrast, competition policy is criticized as a practice inspired by US anti-trust policies, designed primarily to safeguard the interests of non-European (American and Japanese) trans-national corporations. • competition policy threatened cherished French beliefs about the role of public service and economic policy and forced French governments to abandon key elements of their post-war political and economic model.
Service public • Traditional French conceptions of public service were based on the delivery of essential services by public sector monopolies (gas, electricity, rail, postal and telecommunication services, air transport), which benefited from protection against domestic or foreign competition, and which were recognized with a public service mission in French administrative law • The liberal frame of opening up monopolies was prevalent within the Commission Favoured measures included privatisation, the strict regulation of state subsidies, the opening up of specific industrial sectors to competition and the creation of independent competition agencies.
The 2005 referendum on the draft Constitutional Treaty • The rejection of the constitutional treaty in the May 2005 referendum sent shockwaves around Europe. There was a No vote of 54.7 per cent (45.3 per cent for the Yes) on a high turnout (69.4 per cent). • The No vote progressed by almost 5.72 per cent of electors by comparison to 1992 (Hainsworth, 2006). It recruited a majority of electors in all social classes except the liberal professions. • The mainstays of the No camp in the two referendums were the left of the left and the right of the right, with the No in 1992 and 2005 supported by the vast bulk of electors identifying with the FN, the PCF and the far-left (Perrineau, 2005: 239). • This traditional alliance represented three-quarters of the No vote in 2005. They were joined by a small majority of PS voters, signifying a major shift since 1992, with 56 per cent of declared PS electors voting No in 2005, against only 22 per cent thirteen years earlier.
Popular fears • the referendum campaign revealed deep seated popular fears about the direction of European integration. The campaign abounded with uncertainties about the new Europe. • The proposed Bolkestein services directive mobilized trade unions and anti-globalisation groups such as ATTAC in fierce opposition to the treaty. • The centre of gravity of the French debate revolved around a binary opposition between ‘social’ Europe, presented as consistent with national traditions, and an alien liberal Europe. • But Eurobarometer puts the French in the EU average.
Conclusion • These empirical cases demonstrate examples of uploading, adaptation, inertia and resistance to change. • Europeanisation needs to bear in mind these fine distinctions and not overplay or stretch the concept too much