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Europeanization: Concept, Theory, and Methods


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Membership of the European Union demands a fundamental reorganization of the way politics is organized in the member states of the EU. Europeanization studies focus on the impact of EU membership on member states. In this chapter we discuss a number of fundamental issues that arise when studying Europeanization. What actually is Europeanization? And what is not? How can we explain why some parts of political life seem more affected by the process of European integration than others? How do we explain variation between member states? These questions are important if we want to understand what Europeanization means with respect to the evolution of national democratic political regimes and their decision-making processes. We provide examples of Europeanization studies and also discuss how to design a good Europeanization study.
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Part I
Europeanization: Concept,
Theory, and Methods
Paolo R. Graziano and Maarten P. Vink
Introduction: The Europeanization
Turn in EU Studies: Beyond Grand
Theory 32
Defi ning Europeanization:
Conceptual Debates 37
Bottom-up vs. Top-down 37
Conceptual Boundaries:
What is not Europeanization?
Explaining Europeanization:
Theoretical Debates 38
New institutionalism 38
Goodness of Fit 40
Mediating Factors 41
Worlds of Compliance 41
Analysing Europeanization:
Empirical Examples 42
Polity 42
Policy Domains 45
Research Design 45
Conclusion: Future Challenges
in Analysing Europeanization 48
Membership of the European Union demands a fundamental reorganization of the way
politics is organized in the member states of the EU. Europeanization studies focus on
the impact of EU membership on member states. In this chapter we discuss a number
of fundamental issues that arise when studying Europeanization. What actually is
Europeanization? And what is not? How can we explain why some parts of political life
seem more affected by the process of European integration than others? How do we
explain variation between member states? These questions are important if we want to
understand what Europeanization means with respect to the evolution of national dem-
ocratic political regimes and their decision-making processes. We provide examples of
Europeanization studies and also discuss how to design a good Europeanization study.
Paolo R. Graziano and Maarten P. Vink
Introduction: The Europeanization Turn in EU
Studies: Beyond Grand Theory
Since the late fifties, European studies became increasingly relevant first in interna-
tional relations and then in comparative politics (Risse-Kappen, 1996). The main
theoretical focus for almost forty years regarded the formation of the new European
polity. On the one hand, the ‘neofunctionalist’ reading of Europe, provided initially
by Haas (1958), focused on the societal driving forces of European political integra-
tion. Haas defined political integration as a ‘process whereby political actors in sev-
eral distinct national settings are persuaded to shift their loyalties, expectations, and
political activities toward a new centre, whose institutions possess or demand juris-
diction over the pre-existing national states’ (Haas 1958: 16). In the original analysis
provided by Haas, European integration was fuelled by the ‘loyalty shift’ expressed
by non-state elites—such as the new ‘regional’ bureaucracy and interest associations
formed at the level of the ‘new’ region—who considered a new (European) suprana-
tional setting to be in line with their predefined social and economic preferences.
The key motors of European integration, in this view, were non-state actors seeking
a new centre which could be beneficial to their selected interests. In the words of a
‘proud’ neofunctionalist:
regional integration is an intrinsically sporadic and conflictual process, but one in
which, under conditions of democracy and pluralistic representation, national govern-
ments will find themselves increasingly entangled in regional pressures and end up
resolving their conflicts by conceding a wider scope and devolving more authority to
the regional organizations they have created.
(Schmitter 2004: 47)
Put differently, in the neofunctionalist reading, European integration follows an ‘ex-
pansive logic of sector integration’ in the form of inevitable ‘spillovers’ from one
economic sector to the other (functional spillover) which eventually also leads to
(European) political integration (political spillover).
On the other hand, the ‘intergovernmentalists’—such as Stanley Hoffmann (1966,
1982)—or the ‘liberal’ pioneers of intergovernmentalism (Moravcsik 1993, 1998)
challenged both the empirical and theoretical strengths of neofunctionalism since,
as for the former, it increasingly appeared that neofunctionalism ‘mispredicted both
the trajectory and the process of EC evolution’ (Moravcsik 1993: 476) and, as for the
latter, neofunctionalism ‘lacked a theoretical core clearly enough specified to pro-
vide a sound basis for precise empirical testing and improvement’ (Moravcsik 1993:
476). In fact, the main claim of intergovernmentalists was that after years of Euro-
pean integration still the state was ‘alive and kicking’ and capable of shaping further
the process of supranational integration. As Hoffmann notes in his 1982 contribu-
tion: ‘the most striking reality is not the frequent and well-noted impotence of the
so-called sovereign state. It is its survival’ (Hoffmann, 1982, 21).
Europeanization 33
And, according to the intergovernmentalist reading of the process of regional in-
tegration, the main motors of European integration traditionally were not non-state
actors but rather national governments.
The best way of analyzing the EEC is not in the traditional terms of integration theory,
which assumes that the members are engaged in the formation of a new, suprana-
tional political entity superseding the old nations . . . and that there is a zero-sum game
between the nation-states on the one hand, the EEC on the other. . . . It is to look at the
EEC as an international regime’.
(Hoffmann 1982: 33)
Therefore, intergovernmentalism focuses on the enduring presence of ‘rational’ gov-
ernments which domestically form their preferences and subsequently negotiate at
the regional (i.e. European) level.
We will not dwell here on a discussion of the two main contrasting theoretical un-
derstandings of European integration, but we argue that it is relevant to better under-
stand the ‘Europeanization turn’ in EU studies in connection with the loss of
attractiveness of other approaches which have been mainstream for decades. In fact,
until the end of the nineties—with few exceptions (Bulmer 1983; Ladrech 1994)—the
main focus of European studies scholars was the description and explanation of the
European integration process whereas very limited space was left for a systematic anal-
ysis of the ongoing relationship between regional and domestic political regimes. And
this is where Europeanization comes in as a new phase in European integration studies
or a ‘third step’ in a European-based regional integration theory (Caporaso 2007).
Europeanization research builds on the above mentioned classic integration per-
spectives. First, with respect to neofunctionalism and its more recent variants—
supranational governance (Sandholtz and Stone Sweet 1998) and multilevel
governance (Hooghe and Marks 2001; Piattoni 2009)—the Europeanization litera-
ture is inspired by the notion of ‘uploading’ domestic societal preferences at the EU
level. Second, with respect to the intergovernmentalist approach, Europeanization is
inspired by the focus on the domestic state-related sources of European decision
making and their consequences on the nature of EU institutions and policies.
Nevertheless, the Europeanization approach goes clearly beyond this European
centred orientation of ‘classic’ integration theories by focusing primarily on a differ-
ent target: the domestic level. To be sure, since the mid-nineties the domestic ‘shift’
was inbuilt in the administrative oriented analysis of domestic patterns of adaptation
to EU membership (Rometsch and Wessels 1996; Meny, Muller, and Quermonne
1996; Hanf and Soetendorp 1998; Börzel 1999; Kassim et al. 2000; Héritier et al.
2001; Zeff and Pirro 2001). This reorientation was clearly connected to the expan-
sion of EU powers which followed the adoption (and ratification) of the Maastricht
Treaty which reinvigorated the EU political arena as a provider of new political op-
portunities for both domestic governments and societal actors involved in national
decision making. The above mentioned contributions, together with the first, more
explicit, Europeanization studies (Olsen 1996; Harmsen 1999), are characterized by
Paolo R. Graziano and Maarten P. Vink
a clear change of focus since they are primarily centred on domestic administrative
adaptation, although others have considered also the changes in the ‘organizational
logic of national politics and policy-making’ induced by EU membership (Ladrech
1994) or, more broadly, changes that occurred within ‘national political systems’
connected to European integration (Goetz and Hix 2000).
In the early stages of the development of Europeanization research, the main ana-
lytical core of the studies was the domestic implementation of EU policies, which
also shared several substantive—but not methodological—features with the ‘EU di-
rective transposition’ research agenda (Boerzel 2001; Mastenbroek 2003; Kaeding
2006). The implementation studies originated from the idea that European inte-
gration remains an incomplete political project as long as European rules are not
implemented according to their intentions (Sverdrup 2007). In fact, the first main
empirical focus of Europeanization research was in the most developed European
policy domains such as environmental policy (Knill 1998), transport policy (Héri-
tier et al. 2001), and cohesion policy (Conzelmann 1998; Benz and Eberlein 1999).
Among the ‘classic’ European policies, only agricultural policy has been relatively
absent from early Europeanization research, arguably because it is probably the pol-
icy domain par excellence that has been virtually completely ‘European’ on account
of the integrated character of the Common Agricultural Policy. Yet, as Roederer-
Rynning (2007) demonstrates, even in the field of agricultural policy the domestic
impact of European policies—for example with regard to state-farmer relations—is
far from self-evident. In the early 2000s also, other policy domains where the in-
volvement of the EU was of lesser importance were investigated, such as social pol-
icy (Graziano 2003), refugee policy (Lavenex 2001), or even citizenship policy
(Checkel 2001; Vink 2001). These studies contain mainly qualitative case studies or
focused policy-based comparisons of a limited number of countries, whereas an-
other set of contributions were more country-based analysis which went beyond a
mere sectoral analysis (Falkner 2001; Grabbe 2001).
Furthermore, Europeanization research has also provided more focused ‘Euro-
pean’ analytical lenses for the study of domestic politics and policy making. Both
political scientists and political sociologists have increasingly realized that the EU,
as an advanced instance of regional integration, has become a significant part of na-
tional politics. Especially with regard to policy making, it is currently very rare to
find domestic policies which are not somehow connected to European ones. With-
out considering the European sources of domestic policies, today any domestic-
centred policy analysis would neglect important international constraints and
opportunities for political actors. This observation holds true beyond policy analysis
and applies to changing domestic opportunity structures and political environments
more generally. First, the study of the domestic executives could not be carried out
without a clear understanding of how the governments developed and coordinated
domestic preferences in EU negotiations and increasingly tried to oversee domestic
implementation of EU policies (Zeff and Pirro 2001). Second, other aspects of na-
tional politics have also been increasingly investigated adopting—more or less
Europeanization 35
explicitly—Europeanization analytical lenses: domestic parliaments (Holzhacker
2002), political parties (Ladrech 2002), party systems (Mair 2000), interest groups
(Grote and Lang 2003), and local governments (Pasquier 2005).
When we consider the development of the Europeanization literature, a peak of
important publications emerges at the end of the 1990s and in the early 2000s (see
Box 2.1; see also Featherstone for a bibliometric analysis of the period 1981–2001,
Featherstone 2003: 5). Why did the Europeanization turn in European integration
studies emerge during the second half of the nineties? Mainly on account of two
BOX 2.1 Europeanization: twelve key publications
Ladrech 1994, Europeanization of Domestic Politics and Institutions
Path-breaking study that focuses on the case of France
Bulmer and Burch 1998, Organising for Europe
Study of the Europeanization of British central government
Börzel 1999, Towards Convergence in Europe?
Study of the EU and regional government in Germany and Spain
Knill and Lehmkuhl 1999, How Europe Matters
Study of three different mechanisms of Europeanization
Haverland 2000, National Adaptation to European Integration
Study that points at the importance of institutional veto points
Radaelli 2000, Whither Europeanization
Seminal paper on the concept of Europeanization
Goetz and Hix 2000, Europeanised Politics?
Edited volume with important studies by scholars of comparative politics
Green Cowles et al. 2001, Transforming Europe
Edited volume which advocated a ‘three-step’ approach to Europeanization
Olsen 2002, The Many Faces of Europeanization
Study of the different ways in which Europeanization can be conceived
Schmidt 2006, Democracy in Europe
Study about the impact of European integration on national democracies
Graziano and Vink 2007, Europeanization
Edited volume (25 chapters) on the state-of-the-art in Europeanization research
Ladrech 2010, Europeanization and National Politics
First single-authored textbook on Europeanization, with a strong comparative politics
See References at the end of this chapter for full references.
Paolo R. Graziano and Maarten P. Vink
fundamental reasons: the first is endogenous to EU studies, and the second is ex-
ogenous. The first motivation is connected to the loss of analytical appeal of the
almost four decades-long debate between ‘neofunctionalists’ and ‘intergovernmen-
talists’ and the need to move onto a new stage in EU studies. As the authors of the
path-breaking contribution on Europeanization (Transforming Europe: Europeani-
zation and Domestic Change) point out in the introduction to their book, it was the
result of a ‘joint research project [that wanted to] examine the “next phase” of Eu-
ropean integration studies: the impact of the European Union on the members
states’ (Green Cowles et al. 2001: ix). Put differently, by the end of the nineties it
clearly emerged—at least to some inspired scholars—that European integration
studies needed to enter into a new phase which would focus on different topics
with respect to the more consolidated European integration literature. The some-
what sterile contraposition between the two leading interpretations of the EU
needed to be overcome by shifting the analytical focus. The second reason is con-
nected to the emerging relevance of EU policies and institutions after the ratifica-
tion of the Maastricht Treaty. As in the case of national parliaments, during the
second half of the nineties the political actors were discovering the new domestic
obligations connected to the expansion of EU powers and therefore needed to
adapt to a new multilevel political game. Also, domestic political actors had in-
creasingly to cope with the consolidation of, or new competencies emerging in,
numerous policy fields such as social policy (Graziano 2003), immigration policy
(Vink 2001), or foreign policy (Tonra 2001). To be sure, the importance of Euro-
pean integration for domestic affairs has been a long-lasting phenomenon, since
domestic courts have applied and interpreted European law, for over thirty years
(Stone Sweet 2004) and more recently rulings have had an increasing impact also
on poorly regulated EU policies (for example, social policy; see Ferrera 2005). The
judicial construction of Europe may be well acknowledged now, but until very re-
cent times empirical evidence has been lacking of how national judges have made
(and are still making) use of EU law both in ‘old’ EU countries and ‘new’ ones
(Nyikos 2007; Piana 2009).
In sum, Europeanization as a research agenda has managed to end the exhausted
debate between (neo)intergovernmentalists and neofunctionalists by widening the
research spectrum to previously under-researched topics such as the impact of EU
institutions and policies on domestic political systems. Of course, although highly
fashionable, this new research agenda has been striving to gain a well reputed scien-
tific standing since, over the years, some scholars started to question its analytical
validity or, more precisely, its theoretical value (Olsen 2002: 27) or innovativeness
(Radaelli 2004). As we shall see in the next sections (and also in other chapters of
this volume, namely Chapters 1 and 15), the Europeanization research agenda has
primarily reframed old questions regarding the mechanisms of European integration
and focused on the emerging relevance of the EU for national political systems.
But, before we take stock of the promises and pitfalls of Europeanization research,
let us turn to the main conceptual and theoretical issues which have been raised by
Europeanization 37
Defining Europeanization: Conceptual Debates
The seminal contribution by Radaelli (2000) started a long-lasting debate on the ‘na-
ture of the beast’ which, in this case, is not the European political organization as in
Puchala’s analysis (1972) but the analytical devices used in order to study the EU.
From this standpoint, we are still in the middle of the ‘ontological’ phase in Europe-
anization studies since we can still find many different definitions in the literature.
But before the definitional debate fully developed (late nineties) in the European in-
tegration literature there were some attempts to define the notion of Europeanization.
The first acknowledged definition of Europeanization is the one provided by Ladrech
in his 1994 contribution where Europeanization is defined as an ‘incremental process
re-orienting 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’ (Ladrech 1994: 69). By ‘organizational logic’ the author refers to the
‘adaptive processes of organizations to a changed or changing environment’ (Ladrech
1994: 71). A few years later, when the Europeanization literature was just about to
take off, in the first systematic and comparative attempt to look at Europeanization
processes the definition of Europeanization became ‘the emergence and development
at the European level of distinct structures of governance, that is, of political, legal,
and social institutions associated with political problem solving that formalize inter-
actions among the actors, and of policy networks specializing in the creation of au-
thoritative European rules’ (Risse et al. 2001: 3). In 2003—in the final version of
Radaelli’s above mentioned contribution—Europeanization was defined as a set of,
processes of (a) construction (b) diffusion and (c) institutionalization of formal and in-
formal rules, procedures, policy paradigms, styles, “ways of doing things” and shared
beliefs and norms which are first defined and consolidated in the making of EU deci-
sions and then incorporated in the logic of domestic discourse, identities, political
structures and public policies.
(Radaelli 2003: 30)
Finally, in a ‘state of the art’ contribution, Vink and Graziano provided a broad defi-
nition of Europeanization as a process of ‘domestic adaptation to European regional
integration’ (Vink and Graziano 2007: 7).
Bottom-up vs. Top-down
The first definition captures the most innovative feature of Europeanization: the
domestic ‘adaptive processes’ connected to the ‘changed or changing [European]
environment’. In his study on France, Ladrech (1994) focuses on politics and insti-
tutions in a broad sense and carries out an empirical investigation of how the French
institutional setting has been affected by the increasing role of EU institutions. Nev-
ertheless, the definition seems to be particularly useful for institutional analysis
Paolo R. Graziano and Maarten P. Vink
rather than decision-making studies because of its privileged focus on the notion of
‘organizational logic’ rather than, more broadly, behaviour of political actors. The
second definition (by Risse et al. 2001) is strikingly similar to the (European) politi-
cal integration definition provided by Haas which is focused on the ‘loyalty shift’ to
the European level. But, as noticed by Radaelli (2000), we should not confuse Euro-
peanization with European integration since there would, in fact, be no need to in-
vent new concepts with old meanings. To be sure, the various contributions which
are inspired by the above mentioned definition treat Europeanization in ‘top-down’
fashion rather than in the advocated ‘bottom-up’ one, generating some conceptual
confusion notwithstanding the overall empirical richness of the study. The last two
definitions try to combine both set of processes (bottom-up and top-down) in order
to provide a more detailed (albeit complex) characterization of Europeanization. In
this respect, Radaelli’s definition is quite explicit since it embodies both the con-
struction and diffusion of a set of EU-related phenomena. In the Vink-Graziano defi-
nition, the notion of ‘domestic adaptation’ draws heavily on the ‘adaptive processes’
researched by Ladrech. As stated in the discussion of the concept, ‘in order to study
Europeanization we need to start at the domestic level, analyze how policies or insti-
tutions [or other political phenomena] are formed at the EU level, and subsequently
determine the effects of political challenges and pressures exerted by the diffusion of
European integration at the domestic level’ (Vink and Graziano 2007: 7–8).
Conceptual Boundaries: What is not Europeanization?
To avoid the danger of conceptual stretching, as Radaelli (2003) rightly notes, we
need to specify not only what Europeanization is, but also what it is not. Europeani-
zation should not be confused with convergence, neither with harmonization, nor
with political integration. This can be clarified as follows. Convergence can be a con-
sequence of European integration, but it must not be used synonymously with Eu-
ropeanization because there is a difference between a process and its consequences
(Radaelli 2003: 33). There may have been convergence in monetary policies towards
monetarist policy and away from Keynesianism in the member states that joined
European Monetary Union (EMU) (Sbragia 2001). Yet, European regimes may be
converging, as in the case of citizenship policies, however, not as a result of initia-
tives emanating from Brussels, but as a response to domestic considerations (Free-
man and Ögelman 1998). Harmonization of national policies is often seen as an
important goal of European integration, but empirical research suggests that Euro-
peanization is often manifest in a ’differential’ impact of European requirements on
domestic policies (Héritier et al. 2001). European directives aimed at harmonization
in, for example, gender equality policy, in effect often leave much room for contin-
ued national diversity (Caporaso and Jupille 2001). Understanding, finally, why
countries pool and delegate sovereignty (Milward 1994; Moravcsik 1998) is not
equal to understanding the specific dynamics, or even the unexpected consequences,
this process of political integration brings about at the domestic level.
Europeanization 39
In recent years, Europeanization research has moved beyond these conceptual
debates to a phase where ‘[m]ost scholars de facto favour a definition of Europeaniza-
tion either as the domestic impact of the EU, and/or the domestic impact on the EU’
(Flockhart 2010: 790). This does not mean that there is a universally shared accept-
ance of such definitions, but clearly much of the empirical work that has been car-
ried out over the past years departs from an understanding of Europeanization as a
process of both construction and diffusion of discourses, political strategies, institu-
tions, and public policies. Moving beyond these conceptual discussions has also al-
lowed the research agenda of Europeanization to move to a phase where there is
more explicit attention for methodological concerns. These concerns related in par-
ticular to the question of causality: how can we show that European integration
actually causes domestic changes? Haverland (2005) has been investigating the
methodological problems connected causality in Europeanization research, and,
more recently, Exadaktylos and Radaelli have taken stock of its (limited) research
design capacities (Exadaktylos and Radaelli 2009). To a certain extent, at least with
respect to the conceptual dimension, Europeanization has come of age.
Explaining Europeanization: Theoretical Debates
Europeanization may represent a new step in European integration theory (see also
Caporaso 2007). Surprisingly, however, more conventional studies of European in-
tegration and Europeanization studies have not often been clearly linked. And this
relates not only to Europeanization scholars, but also to those of European integra-
tion. It is, for example, remarkable that a recent article devoted to the development
of a ‘postfunctionalist theory of European integration’ does not even mention Euro-
peanization as a theoretical advancement in European integration research (Hooghe
and Marks 2009).
New institutionalism
Although, theoretically, there may a striking continuity in European integration-
Europeanization studies, many authors seem not to address the issue and consider
Europeanization as a mere phenomenon which needs to be (domestically) ex-
plained. In fact, as Bulmer (2007) argues, Europeanization as such is not a theory
but rather a phenomenon that needs to be explained.
The theoretical added value of Europeanization lies primarily in the need to gen-
eralize on the mechanisms through which European political discourses, strategies,
institutions and policies have affected domestic political systems, i.e. have led to
political change. In this respect, Europeanization scholars have looked much into a
‘new institutionalist’ perspective (Goetz and Hix 2000). More specifically, it is well
known that institutional approaches put at the centre of their object of enquiry the
Paolo R. Graziano and Maarten P. Vink
role of institutions in decision-making processes and, more generally, in the func-
tioning of political systems; and institutions are classically understood as formal
rules, standard operating procedures, and governmental structures. From this stand-
point, Europeanization studies have mobilized all strands of the ‘new institutionalist
approaches’—historical, rational choice, and sociological (Hall and Taylor 1996).
Historical institutionalist analysis in Europeanization research has been at the heart
of several studies (Bulmer and Burch 1998; Bulmer 2009), in line with the other
historical institutionalist studies beyond Europeanization (Hall and Taylor 1996:
938). The main focus of this strand of research was—and still is—the analysis of the
sequences of domestic adaptations in connection to the evolution of European po-
litical discourses, strategies, institutions, and policies. Domestic political change—
limited or greater—is explained in connection to concepts derived from historical
institutionalism such as ‘path dependency’, ‘increasing returns’, ‘positive feedbacks’.
The rational choice orientation, strongly connected with more traditional studies of
European integration (Moravcsik 1993, 1998), emphasizes the increasing political
opportunities provided by European integration. Several studies have shown the
strategic organizational adaptation displayed by interest groups which, since the
early nineties, have tried to profit from the new multilevel European power structure
(for further details, see Saurugger in this volume). Political change occurs primarily
when domestic political actors ‘rationally’ use European resources in order to sup-
port predefined preferences. Finally, sociological institutionalism has been particu-
larly used in connection to the analysis of ‘cognitive’ Europeanization, i.e. changes
occurred in the mental frameworks of domestic political actors. The construction
and diffusion of EU ideas, and the socialization provided by EU institutions and
policies, have constituted a motor of change in their own right. Political change may
be less visible than in the other cases, but several authors have argued—especially in
those fields where the competences of the EU remain limited—that this form of Eu-
ropeanization may be as powerful as more conventional forms of Europeanization in
more ‘classic’ institutional and policy domains of the EU (Checkel 2001).
Goodness of Fit
If we turn to the theoretical relevance of Europeanization, however, what can be said
after over a decade of empirical research? Europeanization has by no means obtained
a strong theoretical status until now probably because it is more concerned with
domestic political change rather than EU political development. Therefore, Europeani-
zation has been used as an analytical approach to understand domestic changes,
being more relevant for country specialists and comparative politics scholars. In
fact, from this standpoint, some theoretical elements can be found in the Europeani-
zation literature, which regard specifically the mechanisms of domestic political
change. Probably the most interesting (and well investigated) theoretical contribu-
tions of the Europeanization literature regard, on the one hand, the ‘goodness of fit’
and, on the other, the ‘mediating factors’ concepts (Risse et al. 2001). The goodness
Europeanization 41
of fit hypothesis sets a clear link between the development of EU ‘institutional set-
tings, rules and practices’ and the possible ‘adaptational pressure’ exerted on the
domestic levels when the domestic ‘institutional settings, rules and practices’ differ.
More specifically, ‘the degree of adaptational pressure generated by Europeanization
depends on the “fit” or “misfit” between European institutions and the domestic
structures. The lower the compatibility (fit) between European institutions, on the
one hand, and national institutions on the other, the higher the adaptational pres-
sures’ (Risse et al. 2001: 7). We will thus expect domestic change, especially in those
cases where the ‘misfit’ is high and therefore the adaptational pressures are strong.
Mediating Factors
Even relevant adaptational pressures, though, do not trigger domestic change auto-
matically. Risse, Cowles, and Caporaso continue in their theoretical analysis and
suggest that, ‘in cases of high adaptational pressures, the presence or absence of me-
diating factors is crucial for the degree to which domestic change adjusting to Euro-
peanization should be expected’ (Risse et al. 2001: 9). They then continue by
identifying five mediating factors (three ‘structural’ and two related to ‘agency’):
multiple veto points; mediating formal institutions; political and organizational cul-
tures; differential empowerment of actors; and learning.
If we try to place these analytical tool—which can easily generate specific
hypotheses—in a broader theoretical framework, we can read Europeanization as a
possible theory of multilevel institutional change (in Europe) rather than a political
(i.e. European) integration theory. In fact, the above mentioned analytical framework
may ‘travel’ beyond Europe if we consider the European Union as a species of a
broader genus which is regional integration. Certainly, the EU as a regional institu-
tion has very specific features, such as a high degree of supranational authority,
which cannot easily be found in other parts of the world. Yet, if we consider that
adaptational pressures may differ significantly as a function of the institutionaliza-
tion of a supranational entity, we could successfully study Europeanization as a vari-
ant of a broader, extra-EU trend of regionalization and apply similar analytical tools
for the study of other supranational political organizations, albeit less developed
than the European one. The prerequisite for a well equipped research strategy is to
mobilize competitive, sometimes counterfactual, explanations of possible change
(see Haverland 2007). Although not always easy to do, this exercise may strengthen
the empirical findings of any research devoted to the analysis of Europeanization (or
regionalization more in general) and its effects.
Worlds of Compliance
Building on these previous approaches, Falkner et al. (2005) and Falkner et al.
(2007) argue that existing theories to explain domestic compliance have weak ex-
planatory power and are, at best, only ‘sometimes-true theories’. Instead, a more
Paolo R. Graziano and Maarten P. Vink
context-sensitive approach is needed which explains why different compliance
mechanisms matter in different contexts. In particular, they argue that countries
cluster into different ‘worlds of compliance’: the world of law observance, the world
of domestic politics, and the world of transposition neglect.
In the world of law observance, abiding by EU rules is usually the dominant goal in
both the administrative and the political systems. The same is only true for the admin-
istrative system when it comes to the world of domestic politics. There, the process
can easily be blocked or diverted during the phase of political contestation. In the
world of transposition neglect, by contrast, not even the administration acts in a dutiful
way when it comes to the implementation of EU Directives. Therefore, the political
process is typically not even started when it should be
(Falkner et al. 2007: 407)
In a more recent study, Falkner and Treib (2008) compare the new EU member states
with the fifteen ‘old’ member states that they investigated earlier and ask whether these
countries constitute a fourth world of compliance. The expectation, after all, could be
that the new member states might behave according to their own specific logic, such
as significantly decreasing their compliance efforts after accession in order to take
‘revenge’ for the strong pressure of conditionality. They investigate four case studies
Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia—and conclude that all four new
member states appear to fall within their original third group, the ‘world of dead let-
ters’. See Box 2.2 for a discussion of the debate around the worlds of compliance.
Analysing Europeanization: Empirical Examples
In this section, we provide research examples covering both older and newer EU
countries, as well as non-EU countries (through the European Economic Area and
European Neighbourhood Policy), and focus specifically on Europeanization and
public opinion and parties, political institutions and governance, and public policy.
We also discuss methodological issues such as operationalization, the use of coun-
terfactuals, and different qualitative, quantitative, and mixed approaches.
If we focus on the main polity dimensions (governments, parliaments, bureaucra-
cies, political parties, interest groups, social movements, courts), we can under-
stand more easily how relevant Europeanization studies have been with respect to
the understanding of institutional change. Although the variance in research de-
sign makes general remarks on the empirical findings not an easy task, it is possible
to identify some basic trends which have been detected by the available literature.
Europeanization 43
With regard to organization of government, two main aspects have been investi-
gated: centre–periphery relations and the structure of the executives. The analysis
of centre–periphery relations has primarily shown that ‘the EU is not causing any
convergence between the member states [since t]he impact of the EU is strongly
BOX 2.2 The ‘worlds of compliance’ debate
Gerda Falkner, an Austrian political scientist, certainly struck a chord when she and her
collaborators presented a typology of different clusters of countries in the book Comply-
ing with Europe: EU Harmonisation and Soft Law in the Member States, published in
2005. This book is based on a large-scale qualitative project on the transposition, enforce-
ment, and application of six EU labour law directives in fifteen member states. Although
both the comparative scope and the fact that ‘compliance’ was not restricted to just
transposition, as is the case with many Europeanization studies, highlighted the ambition
of the project, and the ‘worlds of compliance’ argument stood out as the most remarka-
ble part of the study.
The ‘worlds of compliance’ argument was clearly a provocative one and led to consid-
erable debate in the literature. On the one hand, it probably relates closely to intuitions
that scholars might have about the extent to which non-compliance is a cultural phenom-
enon. Even common-sense observers would not expect compliance processes to be
similar between, for example, countries from Catholic Southern Europe and those from
Protestant Nordic Europe. Yet, although Falkner et al. are careful to avoid reifying these
existing cultural stereotypes, their argument that countries with a ‘culture of good com-
pliance’ comply better comes dangerously close to a tautology.
Toshkov (2007) aims to break down exactly this problematic notion of ‘culture of
compliance’ into measurable components such as attitudes towards law-abidingness
and rule-following, and trust in EU institutions. He finds no direct relation with the three
types of worlds. He also finds that the three groups of countries differ only marginally
in terms of transposition delay, and concludes that additional work has to be done in
order to specify the causal mechanism distinguishing between the types. Thomson
(2009) uses the original dataset from Falkner et al. (2005) and shows that, contrary to
what Falkner et al. argue, the misfit hypothesis in fact does hold across the different
worlds of compliance: ‘medium and high levels of misfit are associated with a signifi-
cantly lower risk of transposition at any given time point’ (2009: 14). He concludes that
the typology of three worlds of compliance does not appear to help better explain vari-
ation in compliance.
Gerda Falkner, Oliver Treib, Miriam Hartlapp, and Simone Leiber (2005) Complying with
Europe. EU Minimum Harmonisation and Soft Law in the Member States. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Dimiter Toshkov (2007) ‘In search of the worlds of compliance: Culture and transposition
performance in the European Union’, Journal of European Public Policy, 14/6: 933–54.
See also brief reply by Falkner et al. in same issue (14/6: 954–8).
Robert Thomson (2009) ‘Same effects in different worlds: The transposition of EU direc-
tives.’ Journal of European Public Policy 16/1: 1–18.
Paolo R. Graziano and Maarten P. Vink
mediated by pre-existing domestic power balances’ (Bursens 2007: 119) which
mostly means that strong—and not largely funded by EU policies—regions have
been empowered by the EU. Furthermore, a recent special issue of Regional & Fed-
eral Studies has also addressed the ways through which Europeanization opens up
new ‘spaces for politics’ and it also provides new political opportunities for non-in-
stitutional actors (such as social partners and NGOs) to perform institutional and
policy functions at the regional level (Carter and Pasquier 2010). The changing
structures of domestic governments have also been an object of empirical enquiry
over the past years. Again, despite the common development of new governmental
offices specialized in EU matters, research has provided unchallenged evidence of
institutional variance rather than institutional convergence towards a EU-driven
model. Another key research focus regarded the coordination modes in the various
domestic government structures. For example, Kassim identifies two key dimen-
sions of variance in national coordination systems, namely coordination ambition and
coordination centralization. Putting the two dimensions on a grid produces four basic
coordination types: comprehensive centralizers, comprehensive decentralized, se-
lective centralizers, and selective decentralized (Kassim 2003: 92).
Also, political parties have been affected by Europeanization. Mair (2007) has
extensively discussed the mechanisms of penetration and institutionalization through
which Europeanization has exercised a direct or indirect impact on party politics
and party systems. More specifically, Mair (2007: 157) suggests that the Europeani-
zation literature on party politics has identified four possible (and empirically de-
tected) outcomes of Europeanization: the emergence of new anti-European parties,
or anti-European sentiments within existing political parties (such as in the case of
the Italian Lega Nord, Albertazzi and McDonnell 2005); the creation and consolida-
tion of pan-European party coalitions (Külahci 2010); the hollowing out of national
party competition, constraints on domestic decision making, and devaluation of
national electoral competition such as in the case of central and eastern countries
who accessed the EU in early two-thousands (Grabbe 2001); and the emergence of
alternative and non-partisan channels of representation, as in the analysis provided
by Beyers and Kerremans (2004).
The Europeanization of interest groups and social movements has also been an
increasingly researched topic in the literature. Although the general balance is
clearly in favour of interest groups rather than of social movements, there are some
noteworthy exceptions. In the analysis coordinated by Imig and Tarrow (2001),
Europeanization—somewhat in disguise since it focused on the European dimen-
sion of social movements’ activities—was already at the centre of their research
agenda. The findings show that social movements have not been particularly af-
fected by Europeanization with respect to their mobilization capacity, although they
have clearly contributed to building a European public sphere space (della Porta and
Caiani 2009). Interest groups were at the heart of the neofunctionalist account of
European integration, and also the Europeanization literature has been focusing on
the topic: recently two special issues were devoted to the European dimension of
Europeanization 45
interest group representation (Coen 2007; Beyers et al. 2008). The main findings
(also discussed in Eising 2007) demonstrate that Europeanization has strongly af-
fected interest groups by promoting new ‘political opportunities structures’ both at
the EU and at the national level. Recent research has further qualified the previous
research: in the words of Beyers and Kerremans, ‘although the EU creates many new
opportunities for domestic groups to adapt, Europeanization is not a natural or im-
mediate response’ (2007: 477). What becomes particularly relevant in explaining
EU-induced interest groups’ empowerment is the degree of dependency on govern-
mental or EU resources: the more dependent an interest group is on domestic re-
sources, the less ‘Europeanized’ it will be (Beyers and Kerremans 2007).
Europeanization has also affected the judiciary’s powers at the domestic level. As
with the other polity dimensions, the courts’ adaptation to European law has been a
differentiated one. Some courts have easily incorporated the supremacy of European
law (such as in the case of the Netherlands) whereas others ‘have yet to bow their
heads to the complete superiority of EC law’ (Nyikos 2007: 185). But why has such a
differential adaptation process occurred? In principle, all the courts could have bene-
fitted from the reference to European law since it may provide further opportunities
for judicial empowerment. Empirical research, though, has shown that, in several
cases, domestic courts refer to European law and to the ECJ rulings primarily for or-
ganizational reasons since ‘outsourcing is desirable when actors within an organiza-
tion face problems that only appear infrequently and thus from which it makes no
sense that someone within the organization develops the knowledge necessary to con-
front them’ (Ramos 2002: 11). Furthermore, on account of the domestic variance in
legal traditions, in several cases domestic courts had to cope with growing inconsisten-
cies between European and national law and therefore a growing set of disputes arose
with reference to the compatibility of the two law sources—European and domestic.
These inconsistencies have led to greater domestic courts’ reference to European
law—thus increasing EU-induced changes in the functioning of domestic courts.
Finally, important research connecting Europeanization and enlargement has
been carried out by several scholars (see Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier 2005;
Sedelmeier 2006) who have pointed out that the influence of EU candidate countries
in the context of eastern enlargement was greater than on member states, and was
conducive to some convergence—although the adaptation to the EU was differenti-
ated since diversity still persists ’both between eastern and western Europe and
within the new member states’ (Sedelmeier 2006: 14).
Policy Domains
The political dimension which has been empirically investigated the most is the
domain of public policy (see also Bulmer and Radaelli in this volume). Following the
increasing competences of European institutions, numerous domestic policies have
been reshaped by the growing EU multilevel political system. Initially, mainly Euro-
pean ‘market-making’ policies (i.e. policies aimed at the development of a European
Paolo R. Graziano and Maarten P. Vink
single market) were concerned. Since the late eighties, virtually all domestic policy
areas have been affected by Europeanization. Clearly, the most developed EU policy
domains were also the policies which offered the most relevant opportunities and
constraints to domestic policy settings: agriculture, cohesion, economic, and envi-
ronmental national policies became increasingly linked to the evolution of EU deci-
sion making (Roederer-Rynning 2007; Börzel 2007; Bache 2007; Dyson 2007). Also,
in the case of public policy, domestic pressures gave birth to differential adaptation
processes at the domestic level. Furthermore, the policy domain has proven to be
probably the best case to test the ‘goodness of fit’ hypothesis. More specifically, much
empirical research grounded in the new institutionalist process tracing approach,
has pointed out that a) the more binding the EU policies are (i.e. supported by ‘hard
law’ such as regulations and directives), the more probable it is—in cases of ‘policy
misfit’—for domestic policies to be subject to strong adaptational pressures; b) the
more ‘mediating factors’ (i.e. domestic actors such as governments, political parties,
interest groups, and the like) support EU policies, the more intense and rapid the
policy change will be. In fact, empirical findings in various policy areas have pro-
vided support for these overall hypotheses. More recently, policies regulated by ‘soft
law’ (such as recommendations and communications) have also been scrutinized,
such as social policy (Falkner 2007), and the results—although not unilateral—
have been consistent overall with the ‘goodness of fit hypothesis’ (Thomson 2009;
Graziano et al. 2011). Also, other policies, which still lie at the heart of national
sovereignty, have been affected somewhat by the ‘Open Method of Coordination’
(explicitly or implicitly) which has been increasingly used in fiscal and foreign pol-
icy domains (Hallerberg et al. 2009; Wong 2007).
Research design
If we look at the existing literature on Europeanization, what is striking is the lim-
ited use of coherent research designs (Exadaktylos and Radaelli 2009). One key
problem of much of the Europeanization literature is what can be called an over-
determination of the European factor when explaining domestic change. In other
words: Europeanization researches focus too much on the importance of ‘Europe’
when explaining domestic change. Especially when looking at policy changes at the
national level, we should carefully try to distinguish Europeanization from, for in-
stance, developments which are embedded rather in a wider globalization process
(Graziano 2003). At the same time, plausible alternative explanations for domestic
change may not only be derived by looking beyond European pressures, but also by
taking into account endogenous processes within national political systems. A
change of government, to use a simple example, could well be a better explanation
for, say, a restriction of immigration policy than a still vague notion of ‘fortress
Europe’ (Vink 2005).
What matters for domestic actors and institutions is how the delegation to the
European level affects policy outcomes in the domestic arena. Put another way, who
Europeanization 47
are the winners and losers from the EU? At face value, such an approach would
imply that we need to look at domestic policy A, domestic institution B, or domestic
actor C, and analyse change in terms of policy substance, institutional set-up, or
political behaviour between the time before (t0) and after (t1) a specific European
dimension is introduced in a given policy area or a new European agency or coordi-
nation mechanism is created. In this way one can, as it were, analyse Europeaniza-
tion by observing the ‘net change’ at the domestic level between t0 and t1.
In reality, things are, of course, not so simplistic as increasingly intertwined politi-
cal systems make it difficult to detect what causes what (Mair 2007). Yet, if one thing
becomes clear quickly it is that, even in this simplistic modelling, there is nothing
inherently ‘top-down’ about Europeanization research (see Figure 2.1). On the con-
trary, to assess the ‘net result’ of European regional integration without making that
European factor ‘a cause in search of an effect’ (Goetz and Hix 2000), domestic
change can only be accounted for by starting from a—hypothesized—domestic situ-
ation ex ante (the t0 situation). This means that in order to study Europeanization we
need to start at the domestic level, analyse how policies or institutions are formed at
the EU level, and subsequently determine the effects of political challenges and pres-
sures exerted by the diffusion of European integration at the domestic level (see
Börzel 2002: 193). Such a ‘bottom-up-down’ research design is probably the only
guarantee, if any, for a due consideration of the European factor as one of several
alternative explanations. In addition, as also visualized in Figure 2.1, Europeaniza-
tion needs to be understood not only as ‘vertical’ processes (bottom-up versus top-
down) but also as a ‘horizontal’ process. Such horizontal Europeanization results
from the fact that, in an integrated Europe, actors—civil servants, lobbyists, entre-
preneurs etc.—increasingly have cross-border contacts and exchange information
and expertise. In such a conception, Europeanization is not about a Brussels-
induced ‘top-down’ domestic adaptation, but rather about change induced by policy
learning and diffusion.
FIGURE 2.1 Europeanization: more than a two-way process
Country B Country CCountry A
European Regional Institutions
Rules, norms,
Paolo R. Graziano and Maarten P. Vink
Conclusion: Future Challenges in Analysing
Europeanization, despite its enduring ‘pitfalls’ (Lehmkuhl 2007), not only has come of
age but has also allowed European studies to better understand the politics of European
integration. By focusing on both the EU construction and domestic diffusion processes,
Europeanization has provided new analytical and empirical pathways to unveil the
dynamics of the EU multilevel political system. The current ‘post-ontological’ phase in
Europeanization studies may not have to focus on defining what Europeanization is (or
is not) but still needs to become more sophisticated with respect to research design and
research methods, as briefly discussed in the previous section. Cautiously designed and
comparative research efforts may allow Europeanization to move from the realm of
‘fashion’, and consolidate itself as a useful analytical tool which could ‘travel’ also be-
yond Europe by focusing on broader research questions such as institutional change,
policy change, (supranational) political development, and regionalization.
Currently, the most problematic, yet promising, challenge is twofold. First, to take
seriously the ‘uploading’ and ‘downloading’ dimensions of Europeanization. This im-
plies that the research focus cannot be confined to the analysis of the impact of the
EU—as in the first stages on Europeanization research, despite the bottom-up
definitions—but needs to develop greater links between the two (equally important)
sides of the Europeanization coin. Second, more sophisticated hypotheses linking these
two aspects need to be formulated. For example, what are the relationships between
preference formation and negotiation capacity at the EU level, on the one hand, and the
mechanisms of ‘downloading on the other? Put differently, sound hypotheses are
needed linking actors’ and institutionsbehaviour in both phases of Europeanization. By
enriching the research hypotheses, and going beyond the now well established ‘good-
ness of fit’ one (which is primarily focused on the ‘downloading’ phase), Europeaniza-
tion research may mature even more and become even more promising with respect to
the understanding of European integration dynamics and consequences, and—beyond
the EU—shed new light on the growing regional integration research agenda.
Further reading
Classic papers on the concept of Europeanization are by Radaelli (2000) and Olsen
(2002). For original theoretical arguments, see work by Knill and Lehmkuhl (1999) and
Green Cowles, Caporaso, and Risse (2001). For an overview of theoretical
discussions, see Bulmer (2007). Haverland (2005) is a good starting point for a
reflection on the key methodological issue of ‘causality’. Graziano and Vink (2007)
provide an overview of the core research questions and key findings in Europeanization
Europeanization 4949
research. Chapters by Radaelli and Pasquier, and Bulmer and Haverland in that volume
are particularly useful overviews of conceptual, theoretical, and methodological
discussions. See also Box 2.1 with twelve key ‘Europeanization’ publications.
Web Links
The most relevant website for issues relating to Europeanization is offered by the web
portal that brings together various online papers on EU studies, (
erpa/). Several of the published chapters and articles on Europeanization were first
available at this site, notably as European Integration online Papers (EIoP). This is a
working paper series that has now been officially recognized as a peer-reviewed
academic journal and is included in the authoritative Social Science Citation Index.
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5050 Paolo R. Graziano and Maarten P. Vink
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... In the more promising accounts, a broad consensus can be detected in the literature. One of the main innovative aspects of theorising on Europeanisation concerns the 'fit/misfit' hypothesis (for a survey, see Graziano & Vink, 2012). This hypothesis implies that there may be a differentiated 'adaptational pressure' towards national (and regional) policies in cases where the policy differences among the different policy models (or structures) are at their peak (Börzel & Risse, 2003;Graziano, 2011). ...
... More in general, following Graziano and Vink (2012) and Moumotzis and Zartaloudis (2016), we adopted an innovative approach with respect to the original literature on Europeanisation (such as Risse, Green, Cawles, & Caporaso, 2001) in order to unveil Europeanisation mechanisms by looking at the Youth Guarantee measure, a measure that is rather novel and has not yet attracted sufficient scholarly attention in connection with Europeanisation. More specifically, from a methodological standpoint, we used the notion of 'policy structure' in order to consider the various dimensions that build a public policy (Graziano, 2011). ...
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In 2013, the European Council approved the Youth Guarantee (YG) to counteract youth unemployment. Because of its specific features, the YG is useful for understanding whether the EU has triggered policy change in national youth unemployment policies. Contrary to most of the literature on similar topics, we focused in this study on the effect of this specific European measure rather than on broader EU strategies or policies. The study contributes to the literature by qualifying the degree of fit/misfit and suggesting a counterfactual analysis, using the case of France. We first situate the article within the broader Europeanisation debate and present our research design. The second section introduces the policy structure of the YG and investigates youth unemployment policy in France, prior to and after the European initiative. The third section discusses whether the French youth unemployment policy would have been developed in the same way without the YG. A final section concludes.
... Early theorization on Europeanisation was key to understanding the making of EU foreign policy. The concept was initially characterized as comprising two vertical dimensions: 'downloading', which makes reference to a process whereby a member state adapts the national foreign policy to the EU's foreign policy objectives and/or its institutional framework, and 'uploading', through which member states project their national preferences at the EU level (see, e.g., Graziano & Vink, 2013;Tonra, 2015;Wong, 2011). However, the concept of Europeanisation has been used in rather ideological terms in the literature, which critics hold usually favoured a positive vision of EU foreign policy in line with Ian Manner's 'Normative Power Europe' (see, e.g., Barbé & Johansson-Nogués, 2008;Cebeci, 2019;Del Sarto, 2016;Pace, 2009). ...
... Europeanisation as cross-loading is the result of informal cross-border contacts between states (Major, 2005). This induces change by policy learning and diffusion within the EU but independently from EU formal channels (Graziano & Vink, 2013). Far from denying the existence of the vertical dimensions, crossloading adds another layer of complexity to the Europeanisation framework by capturing how, in the making of their domestic foreign policies, member states have other member states as a reference, and not only Brusselsbased institutions (Ibid.). ...
Populist parties in government, such as Lega and Fidesz, have a declared interest in European Union (EU) foreign policy in the Southern Neighbourhood. Their main focus is on migration control, border management and security issues for these countries. It is thus relevant to investigate to what extent populism is shaping the development of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) as it evolves from a normative-based policy towards a much more ‘interest-based’ policy. This article will examine the implications of Italian and Hungarian populist pressure on the ENP in third country contexts, using Tunisia and Egypt as in-depth case studies. The article also aims to contribute conceptually to current debates on the de-Europeanisation -or not- of EU foreign policy. The two cases illustrate how, under the influence of member states with populist radical right parties (PRRPs) in government, informal and illiberal Europeanisation is not a contradiction in terms but a real possibility.
... Thus, we will attempt to explore it from a theoretical point of view, addressing as well the role of conditionality, to properly understand the impact the EU has had on Poland, and vice versa. The literature on the matter is relatively recent, starting from the late nineties, whereas the previous debate tended to focus on the reasons behind the political integration between different sovereign countries (Graziano & Vink, 2013). It is interesting to note Europeanisation has differently been addressed as a cause (explanatory variable) and/or as a consequence (variable explained by other factors) in a cause-effect relationship (Grunhut, 2017). ...
... Thus, we will attempt to explore it from a theoretical point of view, addressing as well the role of conditionality, to properly understand the impact the EU has had on Poland, and vice versa. The literature on the matter is relatively recent, starting from the late nineties, whereas the previous debate tended to focus on the reasons behind the political integration between different sovereign countries (Graziano & Vink, 2013). It is interesting to note Europeanisation has differently been addressed as a cause (explanatory variable) and/or as a consequence (variable explained by other factors) in a cause-effect relationship (Grunhut, 2017). ...
... In the light of this functionalist method, especially after the 1990s, Europeanization 1 emerged as a popular concept providing a solution to the problem of how a solidarity based supranational European Union could be formed (Graziano and Vink, 2012). Particularly, many scholars argued that the Europeanization of the member states is a fact in the integration process (Bache and Jordan, 2006a, b;Börzel and Risse, 2000;Dover, 2007;Grabbe, 2006;Grigoriadis, 2009;Ladrech, 1994;Lippert et al., 2001;Mitchell, 2012). ...
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The World War II (WWII) as a great shock significantly weakened the European nation-state paradigm and gave the European elites a chance to achieve a ‘paradigm shift’ from ‘the nation-state paradigm’ to a ‘federalist paradigm’. However, the nation-state’s strong institutionalization did not allow a paradigm shift and the WWII actually created a ‘paradigm duplication’ in the European integration process. In this two-layered atmosphere, ‘democracy’ was conceptualized under the influence of ‘federalist intellectual paradigm’ but its implementation had to be achieved in the nation-state paradigm. Therefore, this anomaly has played a significant role in the recent stalemate the European integration process has faced. For example, the literature clearly shows the relationship between the sensitivity of European nations towards their national sovereignty and the rise of Euroscepticism in the European integration process. Moreover, the institutional and legitimate strength of the nation-state gives the nation-state paradigm a gravitational power, which gradually weakens the feasibility of the ideas originating from the federalist paradigm. As a result, this article argues that a more symbiotic institutionalization of democracy and sovereignty is necessary to make the European integration more attractive again.
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The European Parliament (EP) – today one of the most powerful actors at EU level – was intended to be a mere consultative assembly at the founding of the European Communities. This article studies the beginnings of the EP's parliamentarization, from its establishment in 1952 to its first direct elections in 1979. The article uses the concept of Europeanization to analyse what ideational, normative and rationalist factors induced MEPs – delegates from the member states' national parliaments at the time – to invest considerable time and effort into an institution that promised no significant political impact, career improvement, or acknowledgement by voters. In so doing, the article demonstrates that despite the fact that careers were made at the national level, MEPs swiftly began to behave as Euro‐parliamentarians rather than national delegates. Inside the EP, MEPs were therefore both themselves Europeanized and pushed for the Europeanization of the EP more generally.
Ireland has remained broadly immune to pressure for convergence resulting from EU membership in the fields of climate and environmental policy. Neither the Global Financial Crisis nor the impending ecological crisis has significantly impacted its status as a ‘laggard’ country when it comes to implementation of EU legislation and policies in the field of climate change and environment. The reasons suggested for this are similar to those in other EU states where European environmental law has been inadequately implemented: lack of institutional capacity on accession, mismatch between national and supranational regulatory structures, significant veto players, and rapid economic growth. In the field of climate policy, Ireland repeatedly tops lists for worst performance among EU member states, though there has been some success in the field of renewable energy. While Brexit represents a new crisis for both Ireland and the EU, and the UKs departure may well have implications for EU climate policy, we argue that it is unlikely to impact on the approach taken in Ireland. The few recent positive developments in the field of climate policy appear to be driven by increased domestic concerns about the impact of climate change, as opposed to the impact of EU membership.
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This conclusion ties together the various contributions to the Special Issue from the perspective of the introductory framework. Based on this framework, the conclusion shows that: (i) domestic mediating factors are responsible for nuanced state rescaling outcomes in small unitary states, (ii) the EU has led to decentralization and recentralization in both phases of the EU decision-making process and (iii) the level of authority is the best predictor of SNAs’ empowerment, although this is intertwined with secondary mediating domestic factors. This concluding article sheds new light on the hybrid nature of the European polity and demonstrates that states remain the most important pieces of the European ‘puzzle’. The Special Issue arrives at two conclusions: first, we are witnessing a ‘transformation of the state’ rather than its demise, and second, the notion of a ‘Europe of the Regions’ in small unitary states is nothing more than a ‘damp squib’.
The article analyses European impacts on the formation of subnational governance in Estonia and the role of domestic mediating variables in institutionalizing those impacts. We analyse different types of Europeanization at different periods: during post-communist transition, EU accession, and after EU accession, focusing in that period on the implementation of European Union Structural Fund (SF) programmes. Because of the short historical experience of democratic governance in Estonia, horizontal fragmentation of local authorities and weak policy input channels of local interests to central institutions, the pillarized administrative hierarchy and deconcentrated agencies started to prevail over subnational governance. This structural pattern ensured a perfect top-down implementation of EU policies by central government agencies and achievement of EU SF programme’s operational outputs. But it constrained the mobilization of subnational elites, their active involvement in multilevel governance arrangements and development of policy ownership of EU policy implementation at the local level.
Some years ago, Simon Hix and Klaus Goetz (2001, 15) observed that ‘Europeanisation has all the hallmarks of an emergent field of inquiry’. The field has now come of age. It is now time to take stock of what has been done so far.1
Within the varied literature that has addressed the relationship between European integration, on the one hand, and the character and development of parties and party systems, on the other, three related concerns have been prominent. In the first place, and often reflecting the earliest tradition of research in this area, scholars have sought to trace the origins and development of transnational — and specifically trans-European — party federations, seeing in these nascent organizations the potential for the emergence of genuine political parties at the European level. The pioneering work in this regard was carried out by Pridham (1975) and Pridham and Pridham (1981) in the period surrounding the introduction of direct elections to the European Parliament, and was subsequently further developed by scholars such as Bardi (e.g., 1994) and Hix (e.g., 1995). Second, reflecting a more recent phase of research, scholars have been concerned to analyze the shape and dynamic of the parties and the party systems as they function within the European Parliament. This remains a key and quite dominant strand of contemporary research, with the focus being constantly expanded and reconstituted on the basis of new data derived from roll-call analysis, patterns of alignment, and the shifting memberships of federations and parliamentary fractions. The literature here is also enormous, with pioneering work being carried out by Bardi (1989) and Attinà (1990), and with the more sophisticated recent work being well represented in the collection of papers edited by Marks and Steenbergen (2004).
The concept of “Europeanization” is of very recent vintage in the study of the domestic impact of European regional integration, in particular the impact of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), on national foreign policies. Other concepts that have been applied to the study of national foreign policies within the context of Europe — such as “Brusselsization” and “Europeification” (Allen 1998; Mueller-Brandeck-Bocquet 2002; Andersen and Eliasen 1995) describe and study the top-down impact of the EU/CFSP as a strictly Pillar II (i.e. intergovernmental) phenomenon in national foreign policy making. They focus on CFSP decisions as compromises between national foreign policies of member states rather than binding decisions from a supranational authority. They are less concerned with the interactive, bottom-up phenomenon of national inputs in CFSP; and the informal socialization of norms — both core research questions in foreign policy Europeanization.
The rise of the concept of Europeanization, and subsequent attempts to launch a research program with this concept at its center, raises a number of important questions. The most important question addressed in this chapter has to do with the origins of this concept. Why do we need it? To what particular developments does the concept respond? The answer advanced is that Europeanization emerged and developed as a result of changes internal to the theory of integration itself — that is, the idea of Europeanization is endogenous to the evolution of integration theory. A second question has to do with the logical status of Europeanization theory. What claims does it make? How are we to understand the basic model of Europeanization? A third question has to do with the challenges posed by Europeanization research. In the remainder of this chapter I attempt to show how Europeanization is a logical outgrowth of the evolution of integration theory (the central claim), that is, how the seeds of this idea were planted inside integration theory itself. In demonstrating this endogenous ideational change, it is necessary to provide a schematic outline of one Europeanization model to show the “state of the art” regarding our knowledge of Europeanization. Finally, I address some of the key problems of Europeanization research.
In 1986, the EU received the power to legislate on the environment. But even before this time, it had already developed a rather comprehensive body of environmental legislation driven by the demand for both market-making and market-correcting policies. While the evolution and the making and implementation of EU environmental policies are well researched, we know much less about their impact on the institutions, policies and political processes of the member states. The literature provides a number of theoretically well-informed comparative case studies that clearly demonstrate the differential impact of Europe in the field of environmental policy. But there is still no big picture. Since EU environmental policy resembles a regulatory patchwork rather than a coherent framework, we should not necessarily expect to find a general convergence across the member states. Nevertheless, we might see a diffusion of certain instruments and problem-solving approaches that emerge from the “uploading” of national policies to the EU level and the “downloading” of EU policies at the national level. Moreover, to what extent have EU environmental policies impacted administrative structures and regulatory styles of the member states? Has Europeanization led to a centralization of environmental policy making in the member states? Have EU environmental policies empowered societal interests in pushing for progressive environmental regulation?
This chapter analyzes the Europeanization of interest organizations and social movements. Emphasis will be placed on the strategies these collective actors have adopted to represent their interests in the European Union (EU), on their influence in EU policy making, and on the EU effects on domestic interest intermediation. Even though organized interests have been steady companions of European integration, the bulk of attention has always been devoted to EU-level interest groups and interest intermediation (see Greenwood 2003a). Singling out the EU’s impact on domestic interests has only recently began to receive attention so that the analysis of this topic is characterized by notable research gaps and important areas of controversy and ambiguity.