Administrative legitimacy and the democratic deficit of the European Union

Zuzana Murdoch (University of Agder), Sara Connolly (University of East Anglia) & Hussein Kassim (University of East Anglia)

In the debate revolving around the EU’s democratic deficit, much has been said about the EU’s electoral accountability, yet we know far less about its administrative legitimacy. The army of civil servants in Brussels may hail from all corners of the EU, but does the diversity of the EU’s administrative workforce provide their home communities with a voice in EU matters? In their article “Administrative legitimacy and the democratic deficit of the European Union” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Zuzana Murdoch, Sara Connolly and Hussein Kassim tap into this gap in our knowledge of the EU’s input legitimacy. Drawing on surveys among EU civil servants and Eurobarometer data, Zuzana, Sara and Hussein analyse whether the policy preferences of administrative staff in EU institutions reflect the preferences of their member states’ populations. Their results suggest that administrative staff in EU institutions in fact represent their constituencies better than their national colleagues in their country of origin. Challenging commonly held notions that the European Commission is aloof and isolated from public opinion, the article also has implications for our understanding of representative bureaucracy, suggesting “that it is not sufficient for a public bureaucracy to look like the wider community, but that within its workforce there must be staff members who think like them.”

Liberalizing markets, liberalizing welfare

Hanan Haber (London School of Economics, Photo credit LSE Department of Government)

The EU’s ventures into social policy-making have been few and far between, as member states remain reluctant to cede their competencies on taxation, spending and social insurance to the supranational level. Nonetheless, albeit a lack of capacity for social policy-making, positive integration via supranational social regulation can still have a crucial impact on welfare state regimes across the EU. In his article “Liberalizing markets, liberalizing welfare? Economic reform and social regulation in the EU’s electricity regime” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Hanan Haber analyses how and why social provisions were added to the EU’s electricity sector reform, highlighting their impact on national welfare states. Hanan’s research shows that the EU’s response to consumer dissatisfaction amid power blackouts and rising prices emphasised the protection of vulnerable consumers and the concept of energy poverty, which reflected regulations common in the liberal welfare regime of the United Kingdom. By adopting supranational social regulations concerned with an issue by and large exclusive to liberal welfare states, the EU introduced liberal welfare problems and solutions to other types of welfare regimes, effectively “promoting a liberal model of welfare through social regulation, pushing member states towards this type of welfare.”

A new research agenda for EU migration policies and politics

Saskia Bonjour (University of Amsterdam), Ariadna Ripoll Servent (Photo credit ©BAGSS | Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences, University of Bamberg) & Eiko Thielemann (London School of Economics)

Amid the communitarization of migration policy, the driving forces shaping EU migration governance have been the subject of a vivid scholarly debate. If anything, the fallout from the EU’s migration crisis is likely to fan the latter’s flames. Zooming in on the actors and mechanisms behind migration policy change in the EU, Saskia Bonjour, Ariadna Ripoll Servent and Eiko Thielemann identify three areas that deserve the attention of future research. In their article “Beyond venue shopping and liberal constraint: a new research agenda for EU migration policies and politics” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Saskia, Ariadna and Eiko call on future research to open up the black box of preference formation in member states and EU institutions, to analyse when, how and why we observe variation in actors’ influence in migration policy-making processes, and to embrace greater transparency in conceptualizing and measuring the extent and the content of policy change. They argue that scholars’ focus on these three axes may allow the community “to engage in a more productive debate and collectively work toward gaining greater insights into the multiple puzzles of EU migration governance.”

JEPP@25 – Our Best-Of Collection

Throughout 2018, we ask JEPP authors and members from JEPP’s editorial board to share with us their stories as to how the research published in JEPP over the past 25 years influenced their own thinking and research about Europe, the EU, and public policy. This is what they are saying.

Sara Hobolt, London School of Economics, United Kingdom

Mair, Peter, and Jacques Thomassen. Political representation and government in the European Union. Journal of European Public Policy 17(1), 2010, pp. 20-35.

Sara Hobolt (London School of Economics)

“Mair and Thomassen’s 2010 article presents an insightful and refreshingly provocative assessment of representation in the European Union.  Going against the grain of much EU scholarship, Mair and Thomassen on the one hand warn against the move towards parliamentary government at the EU level. On the other hand, they argue that despite the deficiencies of European Parliament elections, representation at the European level works better than often assumed because national parties effectively represent their constituents’ interests in the EU. This article thus provides two important lessons to those of us studying democracy in the EU: first, the importance of examining the interconnected pathways of representation at both the national and the EU-level and secondly, the vital role of political parties in shaping and re-shaping European democracy.”

Christoph Knill, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany

Scharpf, Fritz W. Introduction: the problem-solving capacity of multi-level governance. Journal of European Public Policy 4(4), 1997, pp. 520-538.

Christoph Knill (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich)

“Looking back at 25 years of JEPP, there are definitely many articles and special issues that have been highly inspiring and relevant for my work. Yet, probably the most influential pieces date back to my early postdoc years, because they have been particularly formative for my own analytical thinking. In this regard, the special issue on “the problem-solving capacity of multilevel governance” edited by Fitz W. Scharpf in 1997 (JEPP vol. 4, no. 4) certainly played an outstanding role. The collection of pieces contained highly inspiring papers, grounded in neo-institutional and game-theoretical analyses of dynamics and patterns of EU policy-making that in many ways still constitutes the today’s benchmark for research in these areas.”

Frank Schimmelfennig, Swiss Institute of Technology/ETH, Switzerland

Grabbe, Heather. How does Europeanization affect CEE governance? Conditionality, diffusion, and diversity. Journal of European Public Policy 8(6), 2001, pp. 1013-1031.

Frank Schimmelfennig (Swiss Institute of Technology/ETH)

“Papers on Europeanization account for a large part of what JEPP has published over the past 25 years. Heather Grabbe’s paper on how Europeanization affects governments and governance in Central and Eastern Europe was one of the first studies to apply this perspective to EU enlargement and the candidate countries – and to point out the important role of conditionality in this process. Heather’s paper was also influential in distinguishing various mechanisms of Europeanization and their interaction with domestic and international processes of change and influence in the region. From a present-day perspective, it is worth rereading the article’s conclusions on the “executive bias” of Europeanization in the region: “the EU’s efforts to promote democratic development are at odds with the incentives created by the accession process, where the EU gives priority to efficiency over legitimacy” (p. 1029).”

Frank Baumgartner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States

Frank Baumgartner (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

“I keep a running bibliography of articles and books I use in my work; the current version runs about 230 pages. In that list, I count 38 articles published in JEPP. Discounting those that I have published myself (often with different collaborators), those published in a special issue I co-edited from September 2006 (issue 13, number 7), as well as 15 additional articles published by my collaborators from the Comparative Agendas Project (e.g., works by authors including Breunig, Princen, Soroka, Walgrave, Green-Pedersen, Bevan, John, and others), this leaves another 15 JEPP pieces. As an empiricist, I have to say then that these are the JEPP pieces that have affected my thinking; they are the ones I cite and use in my own work. The interesting element about JEPP and me is that the influence starts with Volume 1, Issue 1, where Guy Peter’s “Agenda‐setting in the European Community” (1993) has place of honor, the first substantive article in the first issue of the journal. This was quickly followed by Dudley and Richardson’s 1996 “Why Does Policy Change over Time?”; Coen’s 1997 “The Evolution of the Large Firm as a Political Actor in the European Union”; Mazey’s 1998 “The European Union and Women’s Rights”; and so on. My list includes articles on such a broad range of substantive issues that I feel that I have learned considerably about what the EU and its member governments actually do (one the reasons I enjoy studying public policy); institutions of EU governance; venue-shopping; framing; multiple-streams applications, not to mention lobbying and policy process issues more generally. Of course I cannot even say how many of these articles I have reviewed for the journal, or ones not published from which I have also learned so much. I attach below the articles drawn from my bibliography, excluding those in which I participated. My involvement with JEPP has been from the beginning, and I’m sure I have learned more than I have contributed. Thanks to the many authors for teaching me so much.”

A Baumgartner JEPP bibliography:

Articles by scholars unconnected to me by co-authorship.

  1. Peters, B. Guy. Agenda‐setting in the European Community. Journal of European Public Policy 1(1), 1993, pp. 9–26.
  2. Dudley, Geoffrey, and Jeremy Richardson. Why Does Policy Change over Time? Adversarial Policy Communities, Alternative Policy Arenas, and British Trunk Roads Policy 1945–95. Journal of European Public Policy 3(1), 1996, pp. 63–83.
  3. Coen, David. The Evolution of the Large Firm as a Political Actor in the European Union. Journal of European Public Policy 4(1), 1997, pp. 91–108.
  4. Mazey, Sonia. The European Union and Women’s Rights: From the Europeanization of National Agendas to the Nationalization of a European Agenda? Journal of European Public Policy 5(1), 1998, pp. 131–152.
  5. Pijnenburg, Bert. EU Lobbying by ad hoc Coalitions: an Exploratory Case Study. Journal of European Public Policy. 5(2), 1998, pp. 303–321.
  6. Meijerink, Sander. Understanding policy stability and change. The interplay of advocacy coalitions and epistemic communities, windows of opportunity, and Dutch coastal flooding policy 1945–2003. Journal of European Public Policy 12(6), 2005, pp. 1060–1077.
  7. Pralle, Sarah B. Timing and sequence in agenda-setting and policy change: a comparative study of lawn care pesticide politics in Canada and the US. Journal of European Public Policy 13(7), pp. 987–1005.
  8. Daviter, Falk. Policy Framing in the European Union. Journal of European Public Policy. 14(4), 2007, pp. 654–66.
  9. Zahariadis, Nikolaos. Ambiguity and choice in European public policy. Journal of European Public Policy 15(4), 2008, pp. 514–530.
  10. Boin, Arjen, Paul t’Hart, and Allan McConnell. Crisis exploitation: Political and policy impacts of framing contests. Journal of European Public Policy 16(1), 2009, pp. 81–106.
  11. Ackrill, Robert, and Adrian Kay. Multiple streams in EU policymaking: The case of the 2005 sugar reform. Journal of European Public Policy 18(1), 2011, pp. 72–89.
  12. Bach, Ian. Measuring quality of life for public policy: an idea whose time has come? Agenda-setting dynamics in the European Union. Journal of European Public Policy 20(1), 2013, pp. 21–38.
  13. Ackrill, Robert, Adrian Kay, and Nikolaos Zahariadis. Ambiguity, multiple streams, and EU policy Journal of European Public Policy 20(6), 2013, pp. 871–887.
  14. Duer, Andreas, and Gemma Mateo. Public Opinion and Interest Group Influence: How Citizen Groups Derailed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Journal of European Public Policy 21(8), 2014, pp. 1199–1217.
  15. Beyers, Jan, Tom Donas, and Bert Faussen. No Place Like Home? Explaining Venue Selection of Regional Offices in Brussels. Journal of European Public Policy 22(5), 2015, pp. 589–608.

By my students or collaborators from the agendas project:

  1. Timmermans, Arco, and Peter Scholten. The political flow of wisdom: Science institutions as policy venues in the Netherlands. Journal of European Public Policy 13(7), 2006, pp. 1104–1118.
  2. Princen, Sebastiaan, and Mark Rhinard. Crashing and Creeping: Agenda-setting Dynamics in the European Union. Journal of European Public Policy 13(7), 2006, pp. 1119–1132.
  3. Breunig, Christian. The more things change, the more things stay the same: A comparative analysis of budget punctuations. Journal of European Public Policy 13(7), 2006, pp. 1069–1085.
  4. Walgrave, Stefaan, Frédéric Varone, and Patrick Dumont. Policy With or Without Parties? A Comparative Analysis of Policy Priorities and Policy Change in Belgium (1991–2000). Journal of European Public Policy 13(7), 2006, pp. 1021–38.
  5. John, Peter. Explaining policy change: the impact of the media, public opinion and political violence on urban budgets in England. Journal of European Public Policy 13(7), 2006, pp. 1053–1068.
  6. John, Peter. The policy agendas project: a review. Journal of European Public Policy 13(7), 2006, pp. 975–986.
  7. Penner, Erin, Kelly Blidook, and Stuart N. Soroka. Legislative priorities and public opinion: representation of partisan agendas in the Canadian House of Commons. Journal of European Public Policy 13(7), 2006, pp. 1006–1020.
  8. Green-Pedersen, Christoffer, and John Wilkerson. How agenda-setting attributes shape politics: Basic dilemmas, problem attention and health politics developments in Denmark and the US. Journal of European Public Policy 13(7), 2006, pp. 1039–1052.
  9. Princen, Sebastiaan. Agenda-setting in the European Union: A Theoretical Exploration and Agenda for Research. Journal of European Public Policy 14(1), 2007, pp. 21–38.
  10. Mahoney, Christine. Networking versus Allying: The Decision of Interest Groups to Join Coalitions in the US and the EU. Journal of European Public Policy, 14(3), 2007, pp. 366–383.
  11. Walgrave, Stefaan, and Rens Vliegenthart. Why are policy agendas punctuated? Friction and cascading in parliament and mass media in Belgium. Journal of European Public Policy 17(8), 2010, pp. 1147–1170.
  12. John, Peter, Shaun Bevan and Will Jennings. The Policy-Opinion Link and Institutional Change: the Policy Agenda of the United Kingdom and Scottish Parliaments, 1977–2008. Journal of European Public Policy 18(7), 2011, pp. 1052–1068.
  13. Princen, Sebastiaan. Agenda-setting Strategies in EU Policy Processes. Journal of European Public Policy 18(7), 2011, pp. 927–943.
  14. Princen, Sebastiaan. Punctuated equilibrium theory and the European Union. Journal of European Public Policy 20(6), 2013, pp. 854–870.
  15. Citi, Manuele. EU budgetary dynamics: incremental or punctuated equilibrium? Journal of European Public Policy 20(8), 2013, pp. 1157–1173.

Season’s greetings from the JEPP team

Dear friends of JEPP:

2017 was another eventful year for JEPP. We reached new heights, since you decided to feed us with close to 400 submissions, which kept us busy 24-7 (thanks to the time difference between Munich and Christchurch, we are open to business all day). We also received a record number of submissions for our latest special issue call (20!). While we are grateful for having the luxury to pick from such a large number of proposals, it’s not at all fun for us as editors having to turn down so many good proposals. Our biggest wish for 2018 is that you continue to send us your work: original papers, proposals for special issues, research agenda pieces and debate sections. As always, we are committed to processing your work swiftly, professionally, and fairly. And once it is published, we do our best to make sure your work is widely publicized. Looking ahead, 2018 marks JEPP’s 25th anniversary. Maybe Jeremy will share a short story or two on what his expectations were back at the time. Plus, we also promise some interesting features throughout the year, celebrating some of the best contributions to JEPP throughout the past two and a half decades. So, all you need to do is to stay tuned: follow us on Twitter (@jepp_journal), read and subscribe to our newsletter.

Seasons’ greetings and all good wishes,

Your JEPP team

PS: Over the holidays, the JEPP team takes a little break. Here is what we are up to.

Jeremy: As usual I will be spending Christmas at our holiday house in Akaroa, with Sonia, Tessa, Molly, and our 14-year old dog Harvey. He doesn’t swim but likes to paddle and, like a small child, never wants to stop. Thus, when it is time to come home he digs both paws in the sand and we have to drag him up the beach, all four legs at 45 degrees! The attempt at paddle boarding last Christmas (my idea of a family treat!) was a total disaster as I fell off three times and had to be towed back to the beach, to the great amusement of our neighbours. I think Harvey has the right policy towards water sports but I am determined to take the Kayaks out in the bay. So, if this proves to be as bad a mistake as last year, you will all know where the JEPP co-editor met his end! As you can see from the photo of Akaroa, it is as good a place as any to meet one’s end! For our summer holiday in late January, we all head to Golden Bay for another holiday on the beach. Thus, we have adapted to the Kiwi lifestyle.

Berthold opts for the same procedure as every year and spends the holiday season in Florida with Jessica and his in-laws. He will, first things first, visit his favourite singing Christmas tree in Palm Beach, before immersing himself in the eccentricity of Floridian life (which involves surviving road-trips on the I-95, yoga on the beach, avoiding the area around Mar-a-Lago, and being ripped off in a bar in Miami Beach). Before too long, he will miss his home (and gingery cat) in the country-side in upper Bavaria.

Michael is looking forward to many interesting debate and research agenda proposals in 2018 in order to stay up to date about cutting edge research. Apart from research, he has his own new “agenda”: Kolja, 3 months. This year’s Christmas readings will include “Gulliver’s Travels” and “Baby Massage for Dummies”…



As usual, Philipp will escape London’s hustle and bustle and swap meat pies and stale ale with Mum’s Christmas cookies and Glühwein. There will be lots of time over the holidays to reflect on a great year, and most memorably yet another trip across the globe to visit the rainforests in Brunei.

From acceptance to publication

Every once in a while JEPP’s editorial team asks our colleagues, who are involved in the journal’s production process, to give our readers a glimpse behind the scenes. This time around, Thandi Meets, JEPP’s Production Editor, provides you with some insights into her work and the steps a manuscript takes from acceptance to publication in the journal.

Thandi Meets (Production Editor)

By Thandi Meets

I’m the Production Editor working on JEPP.

Basically this means that while an article is in our hands and is being processed for publication, I am the main contact for authors and the editors to ask any questions, clarify anything that is unclear or fix something that has gone wrong.

Articles normally follow the process below:

Receipt of files
We receive your manuscript and source files from the journal’s editorial office.

Your manuscript is edited for journal style, consistency and grammatical errors. The copyeditor will list any questions at this stage for the author to resolve while you review your proofs.

Your copyedited paper is sent to the typesetters to be encoded as an XML file which will generate the online html version and the pdf version (for the printed version) of your article. The content is composed into properly formatted pages, and any figures are converted for print and online reproduction. Metadata is added to the online file to make your article more visible to search engines and to give the correct information to indexing services.

The proofs of your paper are sent to you by email alert (and also to the editors).

Your corrections will be collated and checked and your article will be published.

It will be published online ahead of being allocated to a print issue. You will receive an automated email alert once your article is online.

In a nutshell, that’s what I do – making sure articles go through the process in a timely fashion and making the process as easy and problem-free as possible.

Cleavage theory meets Europe’s crises: Lipset, Rokkan, and the transnational cleavage

Liesbet Hooghe (University of North Carolina) & Gary Marks (University of North Carolina)

The euro crisis and an unprecedented influx of asylum seekers and migrants highlight a shift in the dimensionality of political conflict across EU member states. While the recent crises have not manifested themselves in dramatic programmatic adaptations of extant parties, we can witness a rise and strengthening of new parties, especially on the far-right end of the political spectrum. In their article “Cleavage theory meets Europe’s crises: Lipset, Rokkan, and the transnational cleavage” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks argue that recent European crises can be conceived of as critical junctures, revealing pressures that have built over the past two decades. As traditional cleavages along class, territory and religion gradually forfeit their shaping power on political conflict, Liesbet and Gary identify a new, transnational cleavage, “which has as its core a political reaction against European integration and immigration.” Their analysis shows that as extant parties appear to labour in vein to come to terms with a new social division, change in national political party systems “has come not because mainstream parties have shifted in response to voter preferences, but because voters have turned to parties with distinctive profiles on the new cleavage.”

How the euro crisis bolstered beliefs in democratic principles

Hanspeter Kriesi (European University Institute)

As unemployment soared in the wake of the euro crisis, some observers feared that the economic hardship experienced across many societies and dissatisfaction with their governments’ responses to the crisis may prove too much for the resilience of some European democracies. Would the effects of the euro crisis undermine Europeans’ confidence in the principles of democracy? Would it pave the way for a resurgence of authoritarian-styled politics, particularly in places where the crisis hit hardest? In his article “The implications of the euro crisis for democracy” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Hanspeter Kriesi draws on data from the sixth round of the European Social Survey and takes stock of Europeans’ evaluations of democracy. Hanspeter’s analysis uncovers that in the aftermath of the crisis dissatisfaction with both domestic and European politics escalated in Southern Europe, whereas Northern Europeans remained relatively content with their national politics. Somewhat counterintuitively, we should not expect those losing confidence in their governments’ capacity to effectively deal with the crisis to show democracy the cold shoulder. In fact, Hanspeter’s analysis suggests that dissatisfaction with governments’ performance strengthened citizens’ belief in democratic principles. Instead of undermining European democracies, “[b]y creating ‘critical citizens’, the economic crisis contributes to the strengthening of democratic principles.”

From the euro to the Schengen crises: European integration theories, politicization, and identity politics

Tanja A. Börzel (Freie Universität Berlin) & Thomas Risse (Freie Universität Berlin) Photo by Jan Pauls (2012)

Recent years have been marked by anything but smooth sailing for the EU and its member states, with the fallout from the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the union yet to fully emerge and credible challenges arising from the euro and Schengen crises that have rocked the foundations of European integration. With regard to the latter two, the products of these crises could not be any more different, as the euro crises has ushered in new supranational institutions and strengthened existing ones, whereas the Schengen crisis laid bare the EU and member states’ inaptitude to update – or at the very minimum save – their common migration and asylum policies. In their article “From the euro to the Schengen crises: European integration theories, politicization, and identity politics” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Tanja A. Börzel and Thomas Risse unpick this puzzle and demonstrate that existing theories of European integration can only partially explain variation in European responses to these crises. Contending that debates surrounding the two crises have been framed in fundamentally different terms, solidarity within the European community in the context of the euro crisis contrasted by an ‘Us against them’ notion on migration and asylum policies, Tanja and Thomas also zero in on the role of politicization. Here, they highlight the importance of the crises’ sequence, with efforts to depoliticize the euro crisis coming back to haunt the EU when dealing with an unprecedented influx of migrants and refugees, suggesting that “[d]epoliticization through supranational delegation has ultimately led to more, not less politicization”.

Varieties of capitalism in light of the euro crisis

Peter A. Hall (Harvard University)

Fiscal austerity and structural reform in response to the euro crisis hit Southern European societies hard, while dwindling confidence in the euro had strained economic activity throughout the eurozone for years. With several European economies still grappling with the euro crisis’s effects and yet to fully recover from 2009’s shock, it is a crucial task for scholarship to take stock of the lessons learned from the crisis and to initiate debate on the way forward. In his article “Varieties of capitalism in light of the euro crisis” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Peter A. Hall discusses how the literature on varieties of capitalism contributed to the understanding of the euro crisis, and in turn how the crisis itself has advanced our understanding of varieties of capitalism, including the literature’s limits. Peter argues that attempts to make sense of the euro crisis have led to efforts to complement the varieties of capitalism literature’s emphasis on the supply side of the economy with growth models focusing on the demand side. While such efforts have contributed to our understanding of the root causes of the crisis and help explain variation in responses to it, he warns that our vision on how to secure growth in Southern Europe remains clouded. With EU officials seeking ways to reinvigorate growth across Southern member states, Peter highlights that pursuing a single set of best practices seems ill-advised, as Europe’s history teaches that “there is more than one route to economic prosperity, and finding a successful national path requires adapting social and economic policies to the institutional conditions specific to each type of political economy”.