West European Politics

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Print ISSN: 0140-2382
The Dutch practice of negotiated wage restraint and welfare state reform is often held up as a model for effective labour market adjustment. This article examines the distribution of adjustment costs under the Dutch model to determine whether it is stable in the long run ‐ both directly and by analogy with the situation in Belgium. The conclusion is that while the Dutch have succeeded in effecting a remarkable adjustment in the distribution of value‐added, the costs of this adjustment have been skewed against increasingly large sections of society. Should these groups outside the distributional coalition find representation at the national level, the Dutch model for negotiated wage restraint and welfare state reform is likely to revert to political alternation and tit‐for‐tat economic competition.
Most of the newer models of European Union (EU) politics and European integration downplay the role of national governments or at least see their influence as waning. This article takes issue with this thesis. It analyses the conflicts that took place over the creation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the early 1960s and over the reform of the CAP and the GATT Uruguay Round in the early 1990s. It presents an essentially intergovernmentalist explanation of these conflicts, arguing that their outcomes were determined by the stances taken by the French and German governments: if they supported a given project, it was approved; if they opposed it, it failed; if and as long as they were divided, the decision‐making process was deadlocked. On the one hand, it would be hazardous to generalise these findings to other EU issues and policy areas. On the other, the practice (and the impact) of Franco‐German bilateralism is far from being confined solely to ‘history‐making’ EU decisions. More research is warranted on this hitherto largely‐neglected level of EU politics.
Employing cluster analysis, this article reconsiders a concept formulated by Francis G. Castles that stresses the existence of four families of nations, which markedly differ in respect of public policy-making. For two policy fields - social and economic policy - the hypothesised families of nations can be shown to exist, and they are quite robust and stable over time. Cluster analysis also reveals different paths towards modernity. On the one hand, there are more state-oriented versus more market-oriented models of public policy-making; on the other, there is a cleavage in public policy-making between rich countries located at the centre and somewhat poorer countries located at the periphery.
Successive French governments have sought to redesign health policy subsystems as the priorities of government have moved from expanding access to health care to imposing cost containment and increasing efficiency in the delivery of health services. This essay investigates how far we are able to identify a distinctly French pattern of policy change as characterised in the concept of a policy style. Recognising the cognitive and normative dimensions of public policies, it argues that policy styles should embody a prevailing policy frame or policy discourse. However, it concludes that there is no specifically 'French' pattern of policy change and that there is, as such, no 'French' policy style. Policy making in France is little different from policy making in other West European states. It is erratic, driven by the 'demands' of politicians, and proceeds more by trial-and-error than any rational response. The French state is neither 'strong' nor 'weak', but 'disoriented' with, as this essay argues, the different values and objectives imported into the management of health policy networks by successive sets of ministers and senior state officials driving the process of policy change.
An analysis of post-graduate medical training is utilized to explore political relationships between physician organizations, government bureaucrats and the medical professoriate in Scandinavia and West Germany. The 'enchambered' German medical profession differs from its Scandinavian counterparts largely in the number and political influence of private specialists, who have been politically dominant within the compulsory German organizations. Whereas the Scandinavian medical organizations have, under varying degrees of duress, yielded the authority for specialist accreditation to state-appointed committees, the German chambers have been able to maintain control of this process. Some leaders have also cooperated with medical faculties to thwart attempts by general practitioners to establish zones of GP influence in the medical schools. However, in the context of a worsening medical market in the 1980s, their ability to mediate intra-professional conflicts between GPs and specialists, and between junior and senior doctors, may decrease, and their retention of greater self-governing powers in comparison with Scandinavia, may prove a mixed blessing.
We argue in this article that Europe has in fact had a kind of executive order for centuries but that we only now see that the contours of this order are qualitatively different from the intergovernmental order inherited from the past. We ascribe this phenomenon in particular to the consolidation of the European Commission as a new and distinctive executive centre at the European level. It seems as if this institutional innovation triggers significant centrifugal forces within national governments due to the Commission’s strategy of establishing direct partnerships with semi-independent national agencies that might be crucial for the implementation as well as the formulation of EU policies. The new order does not seem to replace former orders; instead it tends to be layered around already existing orders so that the result is an increasingly compound and accumulated executive order. Such an order raises sensitive questions about which actors should be held to account: holding governments to account may no longer be enough and may need to be complemented with mechanisms and forums that focus both on the accountability of supranational executive bodies as well as national agencies with dual loyalties. This article has later been published in West European Politics Volume 31, Issue 4 July 2008 , pages 639 - 661
The study of cleavages focuses primarily on constraints imposed by socio-demographic factors. While scholars have not ignored the agency of political elites, such scholarship remains fragmented among sub-fields and lacks a coherent conceptual framework. This article explores both temporal stability and positional alignments linking vote choice with socio-demographic characteristics, values and group identity to distinguish among particular kinds of structural constraints. On the basis of those distinctions, it identifies various methods by which elites reshape structures, and it links those to a broader framework that allows more comprehensive research connecting political agents and structural constraints in the electoral realm.
The universe of political representation of French firms  
Electoral participation of entrepreneurs (%)  
Since its reform in 1998, the national association of French employers and industry, MEDEF, appears to be an example of strong interest organisation. Unlike trade unions, the peak business organisation has been stable and unified, especially in terms of membership density. Through a study of the collective action of businesses in France, this article sheds doubt on such an impression and argues that the national business association has been put severely under stress in recent years. Like all encompassing associations, MEDEF comprises a great variety of interests and constantly has to manage its internal heterogeneity. An analysis of the historical and institutional context of its recent reform demonstrates that MEDEF's forceful media campaign should not be understood as a display of actual strength and coherence; rather it is the last resort of collective action that the association can claim legitimately as its responsibility.
This paper presents the results of new survey research that assesses the routes and activities used by UK business associations in gathering and exchanging information with European institutions. All major UK business associations are covered, ranging from trade and professional associations to associations of the self-employed and federations. A representative sampling framework allows general conclusions for the whole association sector to be drawn. The chief findings are that there are multiple routes for European activities employed by most associations. The most important route for all categories (except federations) is the national route, using meetings with UK ministers, officials or agencies as an attempt to get them to influence the EU. The second most important route is through European associations (which is the chief route for federations), which are also seen as the most open to influence. A "Brussels Strategy" of direct lobbying, or a Brussels office, is the third most important route. It is the main route for 16% of respondents, which is surprising given its cost but demonstrates the increasingly important light in which the European Institutions are seen. The use by associations of individual member companies to lobby for them is also surprisingly high (for 10% it is the main route). Association size, resources and sectoral circumstances are shown to be important influences on an association's European strategy.
Against the backdrop of decades of public sector reforms in Europe, this essay aims to make sense of the processes through which institutions, democratic government included, achieve and lose autonomy or primacy and why it is difficult to find a state of equilibrium between democratic government and institutional autonomy. The analytical value of ‘autonomy’ as detachment-from-politics and the apolitical dynamics of change assumed by NPM reformers are challenged. In contrast, the interplay between democratic government and institutional autonomy is interpreted as an artifact of partly de-coupled inter-institutional processes involving struggle for power and status among interdependent and co-evolving institutions that are carriers of competing yet legitimate values, interests and behavioral logics. The problem of finding a stable equilibrium between democratic government, autonomous agencies and non-majoritarian institutions, is illustrated by the cases of public administration and the public university. This article has later been published in West European Politics Vol.32, No.3, pp.439-465
The Treaty of Lisbon introduces an early warning mechanism (EWM) which empowers national parliaments to intervene collectively at the EU-level; they may now raise objections to – and even help to block – EU legislative proposals. The EWM represents a new model of parliamentary involvement in international relations: national parliaments now constitute a virtual third chamber for the EU. Though they do not meet together in the same physical space, national parliaments collectively form a body that can, at least to some degree, perform three key parliamentary functions – representation, legislation, and deliberation. First, the EWM provides a new channel of representation linking the citizen with the EU. Second, it gives national parliaments power – more than is commonly supposed – to influence the EU’s legislative process. Third, it creates a new forum for debating the merits of proposed EU legislation, which will increase the salience of national parliaments’ concerns, particularly with respect to subsidiarity.
Committees linking national administrations and the EU level play a crucial role at all stages of the EU policy process. The literature tends to portray this group system as a coherent mass, characterised by expert-oriented ‘deliberative supranationalism’, a term developed through studies of comitology (implementation) committees. This article builds on survey data on 218 national officials in 14 Member States who have attended EU committee meetings. We show that these groups do indeed exhibit important common features. Firstly, expert knowledge rather than country size plays a pivotal role in the decision making process. Secondly, across types of committee, participants evoke multiple allegiances and identities. Although loyalty to various national institutions is most frequently expressed, a considerable proportion also has a sense of belonging to the committees as such. However, we also demonstrate that there is significant variation among types of committee. Council and comitology groups both display behavioural patterns that are strongly intergovernmental in character, while Commission committees seem more multi-faceted in this respect. Although our primary aim here is to give a unique empirical account, our main observations are interpreted from an institutional and organisational perspective.
The paper starts by discussing what I think most students of government hold to be the most characteristic features of development over the last couple of decades; namely ‘agencification’ and fragmentation of national governments. Interestingly, when dealing with the problems such a development might cause for democratic control and agency accountability, one only tends to look at the relationships between agencies and various national stakeholders, in particular ministerial departments. Has a ‘methodological nationalism’ hindered us from seeing the emerging executive centre at the level above, i.e. the European Commission, and the re-coupling of nationally decoupled agencies into a multilevel Union administration? I try to show how the development of the EU, due to its peculiar institutional architecture, takes quite another direction than the intergovernmental cooperation that we have learnt to know so far and thus comes to challenge governments in an unprecedented way. As regards the latter I draw on several case studies in order to illuminate how national agencies in a sense become parts of two administrations; a national as well as a Union administration. Lastly, I will deal with motors of change; the various attempts at explaining what I in this paper have seen as major changes over the last couple of decades, before I arrive at the conclusion.
The paper decomposes GDP both in terms of level per capita and growth rate, so as to identify the sources of income differences and of economic growth for all EU27 member states. This accounting approach has multiple advantages, although a number of substantial caveats should be borne in mind when interpreting the results. In particular, the detailed accounting approach helps distinguish exogenous from policy-influenced growth drivers. The combination of lower per-hour productivity and lower labour utilisation is the cause of relatively low per capita GDP in euro area and EU15 countries, while weak productivity remains the main concern in the new member states. GDP growth rate has been broken down into 12 items, including an indicator of labour quality, based upon the composition of employment by educational attainment.
In a referendum held on Sunday, 14 September 2003, the Swedish electorate rejected membership of the third stage of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). After a campaign characterised as heated by Swedish standards, and the murder of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, the referendum delivered a clear 'No' majority. In this article, it is argued that while the 2003 EMU referendum may not have compromised the use of referendums as an occasional complement to representative democracy, it did indicate a substantial gap between citizens and the political elite.
This study tests the proposition that patterns of church-state relations have an impact on public policy outputs by examining family policy and abortion regimes in Britain, France, and Germany. Between them, these three large countries exemplify the three main types of church-state relations, as identified in conventional accounts. The study concludes that the different patterns of church-state relations thus identified provide only a limited match with policy outputs while other, more developed typologies improve the match, particularly when other cultural and political variables are factored in. The dynamics of influence are found to differ as between contexts where churches operate as public institutions (as in Britain and Germany) and where (as in the French case) they operate as interest groups.
Does the EU governance of the Central and Eastern European candidate states unleash a process of Europeanisation? It is argued here that the current enlargement has generated its own mode of governance, characterised by asymmetry and conditionality. Enlargement governance has recently focused on developing administrative capacity or 'institution-building', defined as the creation of institutions necessary for the adoption and implementation of the acquis communautaire. This article examines horizontal administrative reform and attempts to define the conditions determining the success or failure of the EU's efforts in institution-building. The absence of common EU rules and norms, and the variation of domestic preferences about administrative reform, lead to varying degrees of success in administrative institution-building.
This article focuses on intellectual capabilities as a means of promoting and influencing policy change through producing more efficient discourses. This approach is applied to the study of political strategies developed by the European Commission in order to promote its reformist views of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Two distinct periods are taken into consideration: the 1992 CAP reform, in relation with the GATT Uruguay Round (1986-94); and the 2003 Mid-Term Review and its links with the WTO Doha round. The paper analyses the learning processes that took place between these two periods in the European Commission. It finds that the Commission's political strategies and discourses have considerably improved thanks to better intellectual resources, economic analysis and forward-looking capabilities. This explains a more active and efficient political entrepreneurship behaviour by this action in the agricultural policy field during the recent period, at both international and European levels.
The 1997 Amsterdam Treaty contained new provisions to combat discrimination, including on grounds of race, ethnicity and national origin (Article 13). Subsequently, two Directives were adopted in June 2000, a 'Race Directive' and a Directive combating all forms of discrimination in employment. Before Amsterdam, policies directed at ethnic minorities were a national or local prerogative, with the exception of Commission funding of sub-national units promoting the integration of migrants. This policy domain is, therefore, a privileged one to observe the dynamics behind the Europeanisation of policy-making and the cross-pollination of ideas across borders. The article asks under what conditions a particular 'frame' or 'discourse' becomes dominant and what factors can account for the success of a particular policy paradigm at EU level.
Preferences of the veto players on the transposition of the animal trade directive: preventing the spread of contagious animal diseases
This article analyses how the policies specified in EU directives are transposed by EU member states. In contrast to existing transposition studies it develops a policy-specific approach to explain how directives are transposed by national actors. In this approach the outcome of transposition depends on the institutional arena in which decision-making takes place and the interests of the domestic actors involved. These institutional arenas can vary from parliament to national ministries and agencies. Domestic actors are taken as policy-specific veto players. Their preferences may lead to two different responses to the requirements of a directive. First, they can transpose a directive literally, keeping deviations to a minimum. Second, domestic actors can adopt a non-literal interpretation of the directive, leading to more substantial deviations within the boundaries allowed by the European Commission. These responses are illustrated by two cases of transposition of EU directives, the tobacco products directive and the animal trade directive. The case analysis shows that the policy-specific approach proposed in this article helps in understanding transposition. It clarifies how the ambitions formulated in Brussels are transformed by national administrations into policies.
What is the role of discourse in trade policy-making in the European Union? How do the actors involved in trade policy-making create consensus for change? The participation of a large number of actors with divergent preferences and objectives in trade policy-making makes it a complex object of study. The article analyses how the EU played a leading role in launching the 'Development Round' at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001. It studies the use of a development rhetoric by Trade Commissioner Lamy, who sought to convince WTO members to launch a new trade round along the lines of the EU7's 'comprehensive' approach to trade liberalisation; and to convince EU member states to accept a more flexible EU negotiating position at the WTO.
Legal interpretation plays a role in interstitial institutional changes because actors may refer to the Court's rulings in order to strengthen their bargaining power, when changing rules or to support their choice of rules. The Court's rulings constitute an interstitial formal change in themselves since these rules may subsequently be incorporated into the Treaty. The constitutional nature of the Court's rulings prevents member states from overruling these formal institutions. In vertical competence disputes, the Court, on the one hand, typically interprets enabling rules in a way that favours the European Union's power and legitimates supranational intervention. Although this undermines member states' position vis-à-vis the Union, they have embraced the Court's interpretation in the European Constitution. On the other hand, member states have been more creative when establishing standard-setting rules such as the principle of subsidiarity. The new principle aims at changing the Court's poor application of this test, but also provides the Court with new tools to assess the exercise of power by the European Union. It does not reduce the ambiguity of rules conferring power. On the contrary, as incomplete contracts, the new institutional framework will be the object of interstitial institutional changes, either formal or informal, and offers fertile ground for vertical disputes to be settled by the Court.
Church-state relations in Italy have concerned the role of the Catholic Church in the failure of successive regimes to consolidate themselves and a triangular relationship involving the Christian Democrat (DC) party between 1943 and 1994. Despite a historic ambivalence about Christian Democracy, the church supported the party not least because of its concern about the challenge of the Communist Party. By the 1970s, the church was engaged in redefining its position vis-à-vis the state, leading to the renegotiation of the 1929 concordat in 1984. The demise of the DC in 1994 finally broke the myth of Catholic political unity.
During the 'third wave' of democratisation, Catholic churches often played a key role in undermining the old authoritarian regimes. In the subsequent process of consolidation, however, these same organisations have often struggled to find a role. This article explores how the Spanish and Polish Catholic churches coped with the political changes following democratisation, focusing in particular on two issues. Firstly, their pursuit of constitutional and legal recognition in the new order and secondly, their interventions in the political arena and the difficulties they faced in lobbying whilst avoiding the charge of seeking privilege.
This article analyses the resurgence of national-level social bargaining in Portugal and Spain. It argues that this development was the result of the reorientation of the strategies of the social actors. In a new economic and political context, marked by a process of institutional learning and the increasing autonomy by unions from political parties, trade unions have supported social bargaining as a defensive strategy to retake the initiative and influence policy outcomes. The incentives leading governments and employers to agree to new social pacts reflect their failure to control wages in a relatively fragmented and decentralised wage setting. Finally, co-operation among the social actors has been helped by the emergence of state institutions for tripartite macroeconomic and social bargaining.
One of the most significant, yet not fully explained, institutional decisions in post-Communist Europe was Poland's adoption of a moderate proportional representation system (PR) for the 1993 general election. This article argues that the new electoral system was not entirely based on any normative notion of democratic governance, and that the adoption did not immediately follow from the assumptions of rational choice theory. The 1993 electoral system was largely attributable to patterns of interaction between political parties that had become known, been practised and accepted since the fall of Communism. In reality, the eventual system was built up incrementally in several stages, but the Polish way of 'muddling through', albeit contentious and protracted, seems to have worked well for the Polish people.
Current research on coalition formation is plagued by two serious problems. First, we cannot predict more than about one-third of the Western European governments, and, second, we do not have a good understanding of the causal mechanisms that explain the effects found in large-n coalition studies. This article illustrates that by combining statistical and case study analyses we can solve these problems. Since statistical analyses are well equipped for measuring and isolating effects, we argue that a coalition study should start with such an analysis. Predictions made in this analysis are then used to select cases. In order to study the mechanisms underlying effects found in large-n coalition studies, we argue for selecting cases that are predicted, and then applying the method of process verification. In order to find new explanatory variables, we argue for selecting cases that are deviant, and then applying the method of process induction. Substantive results of our analysis for coalition theory point to the importance of party strategies based on parties' past experiences, which aim at curtailing present and future costs of competing and governing with other parties.
The post-Cold War world offered a relatively blank sheet of paper on which to write the outlines of a new world order. Research institutes, think-tanks, policy papers and ideas played a vital role in the shift towards new security policy preferences and eventually a new policy paradigm. This article concentrates on Britain, France and (to a lesser extent) Germany. They offer strikingly contrasting pictures of the metamorphosis of an epistemic community, of the seminal role of ideas, and of the functioning of political discourse. It assesses the comparative solidity of the defence consensus in each country by setting it in its cognitive and normative context and compares the working of co-ordinative and communicative discourses as these applied to élites and to electorates. The article explains how the ideational shift towards ESDP worked seamlessly in France, proved manageable in Germany, but remained problematic in the UK.
In the area of constitutional law in Greece, where at least since 1975 there has been a well functioning democracy, the ideal of ‘modernisation' must mean adherence to the substantive principles of legality and the rule of law as political ideals. Even though the Simitis government showed some concern for improvement in these areas, the constitutional amendment of 2001 did not attempt to tackle longstanding problems such as civil service corruption, irregularities in public procurement, the independence of the judiciary and the like. The amendment was motivated, it seems, by a more majoritarian ‘communitarian' legal philosophy seeking to strengthen political majorities.
States treat churches differently even where legal frameworks stipulate neutrality. Next to demographic and historic factors, the differences between the statuses of the churches can best be explained by the dynamics of contemporary politics. The article shows that differences between the Hungarian churches in terms of their level of privilege are related to their interactions with political actors and to their own political actions. Hungarian churches are deeply politicised: they are deeply affected by political conflict and often become players in the political field. Although they are granted privileges by the state in return for the legitimacy they provide, the space for the provision of religious legitimacy is, itself, largely created by the politicians.
Like other advanced societies, Germany has experienced marked developments in its social structures during the last decades. But Germany has also been a rather special case due to historical events and institutional characteristics. This distinctiveness is now being called into question. This study traces the major changes in social structure during the last four decades. In particular, it looks at developments in population, family, education, labour markets, class structures and life-course patterns. The final section addresses the question of how these changes might have affected interest formation, political cleavages and policies.
Relying on data from language use, religion and exposure to popular culture, this contribution evaluates the extent to which there is a cultural divide separating member states of the EU from Eastern European applicant states. To address this issue, the study makes three claims. First, despite the vibrancy of national cultures within Europe, there is an emergent cultural configuration that unites the continent. Second, the applicant states are very much part of this European cultural zone. In fact, with the cultural characteristics of the original six members of the EC held up as the European model, the applicant states are closer on several dimensions than are the later entrants into the EC. Third, there are greater incentives for individuals in the applicant states to co-ordinate culturally with the European configuration than for individuals living in the heart of Europe. The conclusion therefore is that there is no evidence of a cultural divide that would justify holding back membership of Eastern European states into the EU.
This article outlines the effects of direct democracy on the Swiss political system. It deals with referendums initiated by petition 'from below' and with their indirect impact upon politics and policy-making. Political elites sought to craft integrative strategies in order to tame the conflictual potential of these inherently majoritarian mechanisms. We argue that this adaptive behaviour took three forms, the first two aiming to prevent recourse to direct democracy, and the last to steer the processes it engenders widening the executive formula, to encompass all parties likely to make efficient use of the referendum if not co-opted as partners in the governing coalition; anticipating the veto risk by negotiating ex-ante with opponents to policy reforms that were triggered by government and parliament; ex-post negotiation when the use of direct democracy could not be prevented, as in the case of popular initiatives. Finally, the limits of this neo-institutionalist approach will be explored, before concluding with an assessment of the validity of the traditional functions of direct democracy today.
Demonstrating how the political sociology approach to policy instruments generates new insights even in densely studied areas, this article investigates the evolution of policy instruments and the link between policy instruments and policy change in EU environmental policy over the past three decades. Examination of the politics of choice and combination of policy instruments reveals, first, that EU environmental policy is primarily structured by its instruments. Second, the article argues that, contrary to those in the literature who have claimed a pioneering role for the Union in this field, EU environmental policy is populated not by new or innovative policy instruments, but by instruments mainly derived from the member states or other international organisations. Third, it argues that the EU's tendency to import measures from elsewhere explains the apparent contradiction between the EU's policy activism, on the one hand, and the modest domestic impact of EU legislation, on the other.
This article seeks, firstly, to explore the influence of local level institutional and socioeconomic determinants on the Progress Party vote in Norway. Secondly, it examines whether the impact of these factors varies between municipal and parliamentary elections. Comparative subnational analysis of six elections (1995-2005) is conducted, treating 430-435 Norwegian municipalities as the units of analysis. Five variables related to electoral institutions, party competition, electoral behaviour and socioeconomic conditions are set against the Progress Party's vote share in a Tobit regression model. The results show that long-term institutional and party system variables have a permanent impact on the Progress Party's electoral fortunes, whereas the effect of short-term factors related to voting behaviour and socioeconomic conditions varies considerably according to the electoral context and election type. Furthermore, the political opportunity structure seems to be a stronger predictor of the Progress Party vote in the municipal elections than in the national ones.
This article examines gender mainstreaming as a paradigmatic example of the EU's new modes of governance, which have involved a shift away from the classical method of integration (the 'Community Method'). It considers the form and significance of this atypical policy instrument, introduced as a 'new' instrument to revitalise a policy deemed inadequate since the beginning of the 1990s and as an alternative to the regulatory and corrective tools of equal treatment and equal opportunities. It also investigates the ambiguous impact of gender mainstreaming on the evolution of the gender equality policy. The institutionalisation of this soft and flexible instrument has induced profound changes in the content, scope and nature of the EU gender equality policy. From a specific regulatory policy on discrimination against women it has become a softer and more diverse policy ranged against a broader spectrum of discrimination.
The end of the Cold War and the so-called First Republic produced new challenges and opportunities for Italy's foreign and development policies, as well as a new set of domestic factors shaping those policies. Despite various examples of bipartisan consensus, there are fundamental differences in the way the centre-right and centre-left coalitions now pursue foreign policy goals (i.e. neo-Atlanticism and pragmatic bilateralism for the centre-right, neo-Europeanism and effective multilateralism for the centre-left). In addition, the increased fragmentation of the political system and the politicisation of foreign policy have resulted in a number of quarrels within the two coalitions. Finally, the trajectory of Italy's development policy is opposite to that of its foreign policy: rising activism during the Cold War, declining interest since the early 1990s. Italy is one of the largest donors in terms of volume of aid - though only in absolute terms - yet it has faced a bipartisan failure in its relations with the developing world.
In the literature on welfare state retrenchment and in the general emphasis on the resilience of welfare states, the Dutch case appears puzzling by virtue of the fact that significant retrenchments have actually taken place in the Netherlands. The Dutch case appears even more puzzling considering that the arguments in this literature as to the difficulties in welfare state retrenchments apply very well to the Dutch case, whereas the arguments as to why after all welfare state retrenchments are possible do not apply particularly well. This article argues that the explanation for the Dutch puzzle should be found in Dutch politics. Due to the power of the CDA as a pivotal centre party, the PvdA was at an early stage forced to accept welfare state retrenchment. A party consensus thus emerged allowing Dutch governments to define the issue of welfare state retrenchment as a matter of economic necessity.
The importance of electoral change as a factor of party system transformation in post-1992 Italy is evaluated by observing two distinct components of electoral change: changes in electoral behaviour and changes in the electoral law, and their impact in the different arenas (electoral, parliamentary, etc.) in which parties compete as individual independent actors or as components of more or less organic coalitions. The analysis of numerous party system indicators shows that electoral factors are not only responsible for most of the changes which occurred in the party system after the effects of Tangentopoli were exhausted, but also for the creation of a structural divergence between the electoral and the parliamentary party systems.
Defining industrial policies has traditionally been a preserve of EU member states, upon which the Commission has only impacted indirectly, through numerous measures affecting industry, leaving little room for an industrial policy in its own right. However, growing concern about the EU's future position in the international division of labour has led several member states to request from Brussels a more pro-active approach and closer attention to European industrial interests. This paper investigates the recent trend towards 're-inventing' industrial policy in the EU, France and Germany. It examines the model of intergovernmental industrial cooperation established between these two member states, its usefulness and limitations. It argues that, despite recent regression in France towards old-style interventionist policies, and although German governments sometimes favour a protectionist stance, both countries can also generate new, more constructive, euro-compatible intergovernmental initiatives, but that promoting national champions damages the credibility of such initiatives.
The use of the concept 'Europeanisation' has burgeoned, though its link with party adaptation and change is still under-explored. This article concedes the difficulties, outlined recently by Peter Mair and others, of linking Europeanisation and party change. However, it suggests that a more modest but systematic examination of the EU's impact on one party family (European Green parties) reveals both empirical and conceptual insights. Examining the Europeanisation of Green parties across several dimensions (party ideology, institutions and transnational activities) this article argues that Europeanisation has accelerated the mellowing of Green ideology and 'professionalisation' of Green party politics.
Typology of institutions of the European space for implementing regulation 
The article examines European institutions for implementing EU regulation. It assesses their development using seven different models that have been introduced or discussed for organising implementation. It argues that the development of European regulatory space has followed an evolutionary pattern involving gradual reshaping through a series of steps, with previous stages influencing later stages and institutions being built on existing structures. Despite pressures and frequent discussions of comprehensive change, existing organisations have managed to limit and shape reforms. The result has been institutional 'layering' and 'conversion' instead of streamlining, and a gradual strengthening of networks of national independent regulatory agencies. The analysis therefore suggests that evolutionary analysis based on historical institutionalist approaches seems highly appropriate to the EU. Equally, it shows how even if there are strong demand-side pressures for centralisation of regulation, existing institutional arrangements and organisations limit and shape the supply of new institutions, so that debates about radical change coexist with a fragmented, cluttered and complex European regulatory space.
This article examines how, when and why European economic integration affects the domestic politics of institutional reform through an examination of the reform of the telecommunications regulatory regime in Britain, France, Germany and Italy from the 1970s until 2001. European integration can be used domestically to justify and legitimise reforms that had earlier been strongly resisted and to persuade policy-makers and public opinion to accept changes that were driven by other international and national forces for change. 'Discourse' arising from European integration is a key element in institutional change. Thus in France, Germany and Italy liberalisation was presented as 'inevitable' given European integration; EC-'imposed' liberalisation was used to justify privatisation, which policy-makers claimed was necessary for national champions to survive and prosper in the new liberalised European and world market. However, European integration was one of several common international forces for change. The conclusions show the ways in which European regulation redistributes power, aids certain interests, but disadvantages others, and legitimates reforms.
The study of public policy instruments in national settings has contributed significantly to our understanding of policy, political systems, and relations between state and citizen. Its promise for the EU, where instrument-centred research has hitherto been limited in coverage and method, remains by contrast largely unfulfilled. This article discusses the political sociology approach to instruments, developed by Lascoumes and Le Gales as an alternative to the traditional functionalist perspective, and highlights its value in opening new perspectives on EU policy-making and its consequences. It presents an overview of the findings of an original set of case studies, which demonstrate the usefulness of the approach in providing new insights on classic questions of EU decision-making, uncovering hidden dimensions of EU policy development, and revealing the limits of the organisational capacity of the EU as a system, as well as challenging established narratives.
The Federal Assembly, according to the Constitution the supreme political authortiy, is weakened by several structural features of the Swiss political system. The specific coalitional structure that has emerged in the National Council, however, prevents the incongruent composition of its two chambers from paralysing the political process. The position of the Federal Assembly has been reinforced in the more recent past by procedural reforms but there are increasing difficulties in finding pre-parliamentary compromises. Structural reforms to strengthen the position of the Federal Assembly have been in discussion for years, but decisive steps to improve the position are not in sight.
Germany's welfare state has been exposed to severe challenges since the mid-1970s. This article takes stock of the state of German social policy. It sketches the development and patterns of social expenditure since the 1980s and provides an overview of the social policy reforms enacted by the Kohl and Schroder governments. No comprehensive short or medium term recalibration of the German welfare state has taken place that is likely to overcome its structural problems; but the various reforms may, in the long run, bring about a substantial policy shift. In the social policy reforms carried out over the last two decades, there was both retrenchment and expansion. Overall, however, benefit provision has become fully dependent on the state of the budget, rather than being led by demand.
The superiority and precedence of religion as a primordial line of national demarcation deserves a far more central place in theories of nationalism. This is demonstrated by the Greek case, which also illustrates the evolution of the Eastern Orthodox Church over the centuries, from ecumenism to nationalism. Both as a state church and as a national church, the Orthodox Church of Greece has a lot in common with Protestant state churches, and even with Catholicism in some countries. Like Ireland or Israel, however, the Greek case indicates that, as long as a particular religion continues to be identified with an 'endangered' nation, change in the direction of pluralism is even less probable than separation between church and state. Among Christian denominations, what may indeed be specific to Orthodoxy is a traumatic and defensive historical consciousness reaching into a far more distant past, but also fuelled by current insecurity.
Results of the 2003 EU accession referendum in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic's 13-14 June 2003 referendum on accession to the European Union was the seventh of nine held in candidate states due to join the EU on 1 May 2004. Despite the presence of two strong Eurosceptic parties and the perceived Euroscepticism of Czech public opinion, the pro-accession camp scored a convincing victory. This account analyses the historical, political and institutional context of the referendum and the campaign. It concludes that despite high elite contention over the EU and the overwhelming resources advantage of the 'Yes' camp, Czech voters were minimally influenced by the campaign. Rather, they took their cue from longstanding positive linkages of 'Europe' with democracy, market reform and Czech identity.
This study is about party-system change in modern Greece and has two chief aims. First, it seeks to make sense of and explain the evolution of that country's party system from its early post-war years until today. Far from being ‘frozen’, the Greek party system has displayed continuous transformations from a system featuring significant party fragmentation into another characterised by the high concentration of its political forces. Second, the paper proposes a classification of the changes that took place during the development of the Greek party system. This classification will yield three distinct types of party system which developed in consecutive order, namely, a predominant-party system (from 1952 to 1963), a system of polarised pluralism (between 1963 and 1981), and a two-party system (since 1981).
Is the EU party system a reflection of national electorates or a distinct arena based on specific alignments arising from the European integration process? The main indicators used to test for distinctive dimensions in European Parliament elections are indices of electoral volatility comparing national and European elections. Data include national elections over the last 30 years and European elections from 1979 until 2004 for all member states. Evidence shows persistently overlapping electoral behaviour due to the predominance in the two 'orders' of elections of the left-right dimension. The article argues that this similarity reveals a multi-level European party system. In historical comparison, it is shown that, despite different conditions of social and political mobilisation, the left-right alignment plays a similarly important integrating role in the 'Europeanisation' of electorates today as it played in earlier processes of 'nationalisation'.
Top-cited authors
Claudio Maria Radaelli
  • University College London
Simon Hix
  • The London School of Economics and Political Science
Mark Thatcher
  • The London School of Economics and Political Science
Cas Mudde
  • University of Georgia
Hanspeter Kriesi
  • European University Institute