Gaby Umbach, European Multilevel Governance: Rapprochement to the Systemic Background of Europeanisation in:

Gaby Umbach

Intent and Reality of the European Employment Strategy, page 38 - 79

Europeanisation of National Employment Policies and Policy-Making?

1. Edition 2009, ISBN print: 978-3-8329-4128-4, ISBN online: 978-3-8452-1247-0

Series: Studies on the European Union, vol. 1

Bibliographic information
38 2. Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference: The Conceptual Backbone of Analysis 2.1 Europeanisation through the OMC within European Multilevel Governance?: The Supranational ? and A of Domestic Change through European Provisions The following sub-chapter forms the starting point of the study’s analytical journey by affording an insight into circumstances, underlying motives, and relevant incentives for the development of the OMC and the EES. For this purpose, it takes the polity dimension as a starting point (cf. graph 1). It, firstly, focuses on the emergence and development of both the governance and the EMLG concept that provide the ground for the evolution of the OMC and the setting, in which Europeanisation takes place. Secondly, it turns towards the politics dimension to shed light on the emergence and expansion of the OMC. It explains and analyses characteristic features of the OMC, its impact on EMLG and its analytical restrictions as well as benefits. Considerations related to the OMC in this sub-chapter largely focus on OMC in general and analyse it as a NMoG in European socio-economic policy coordination. After this part on the OMC, the sub-chapter turns towards the concept of Europeanisation. Core definitions and problems of conceptual overstretch, central characteristics, aspects of domestic change and potentially intervening factors are analysed. Graph 1: Conceptual Design of the Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference European Multilevel Governance POLITY POLITY POLITICS POLITICS POLICY POLICY European Multilevel Policy Networks Europeanisation Impact on instruments, structures, procedures and policies Open Method of Co-ordination European Employment Strategy Source: Own design. Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 39 2.1.1 European Multilevel Governance: Rapprochement to the Systemic Background of Europeanisation The overall conceptual and systemic background of this study can best be analysed, if existing perceptions of governance are “classified according to whether they emphasise the politics, polity or policy dimension” (Treib/Bähr/Falkner 2005:4). Therefore, the present sub-chapter examines these three dimensions of the European political system. It analyses how the development of each dimension influenced changes in the other two, leading to NMoG in socio-economic policy-making. As a starting point, the emergence of the governance concept in European integration studies is analysed in order to explain the analytical perspective on the development of the polity dimension of EMLG. From this polity dimension certain adaptation pressures have been exerted on the politics dimension of the political system of the EU, impacting on the way policies are ‘made’ within EMLG policy networks. This changing politics dimension leads to the adaptation of an element of EMLG, that is, the “mode of political steering” (ibid.), which, being located in-between the policy and politics dimension of EMLG, underwent major changes within the history of European integration. The Governance Concept: Development and Surplus of an Analytical Approach As a consequence of the growing institutionalisation and complexification of the EC during the 1980s/90s (cf. Stone Sweet/Sandholtz 1998:1), classical integration theories began to lack explanatory and analytical power. Differentiation of approaches became a central feature of the theoretical debate that challenged guiding premises of classical integration theories (cf. Rosamond 2000:151 and 154). A certain ‘fatigue of theoretical reflection’ (cf. Battistelli/Isernia 1993:171) and “collapse of integration theory” (Wallace, W. 1982:57; cf. 2005:491) was to be witnessed. As a consequence, and given that the “[t]heoretical work on European integration is obviously bound up in complex ways with the unfolding story of the EU” (Rosamond 2000:xi), academic approaches increasingly took into account more delicate aspects of European integration. Among them was most prominently the “challenging picture of the dispersal of authority” (ibid.:154) due to the diminution of national sovereignty by the embeddedness of member states into a European system of collective supranational decision-making, leading to a new form of ‘governance’ far beyond the concept of ‘government’ within nation states (cf. Cowles/Curtis 2004:301). So, increasing attention was given to the fact that the “very nature of the European multi-level system–comprising supranational institutions, member states, subnational and private actors–engenders a different kind of governing” (Knodt 2004:703). As a result, academic approaches to analyse the EU became even more sophisticated with a remarkable degree of analytical filigree in order to grasp the ever increasing number Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 40 of special features of the political system of the EC/EU that went hand in hand with the expansion of its tasks and competences. In the context of the impact of European integration on the statehood quality of EU member states (cf. Caporaso 1996; Keohane/Hoffmann 1991; Lepsius 1992; Majone 1998, 1996, 1994; Olsen 1995; Rosenau/Czempiel 1992; Wallace, W. 1996; Zürn 1998), the traditional concept of ‘government’ was perceived as no longer fertile for analysing the ever-changing reality of the political processes at supranational level. It was assessed to narrowly focus on the state as an institution different from market and society, both perceived as separate institutions (cf. Benz 2004a:19). Problem-solving, in this government perspective, was based on authoritative decision-making by the state executive, largely embracing a (re)distributive character, as well as on laws, implemented by state administration and enforced by national courts (cf. ibid.). The newly established close-up look at the political system of the EC/EU, accompanied by a shift “from analysing the process of integration to analysing the European Union as a system of governance” (Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:121), required and brought about an astonishing diversification of analysis opening “a post-ontological stage” (Featherstone 2003:4; cf. Auel 2005:294) of European integration theory. In this context, the division of competences between the EU and its member states as well as characteristic features of interweavement of political interaction between the different levels and actors of the EU (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:22) became central topics of European integration studies and political science analysis. As a consequence, the crisis of classical integration theories opened “a vibrant field that has overcome the impasses of the past” (Diez/Wiener 2004:1) and that inspired a “‘governance turn’ in EU studies” (Rosamond 2000:110) towards the classification of the EU as a “tertium genus” (Battistelli/Isernia 1993:174 and 190) that established a new form of governance system at the crossroads between international organisation and nation state. This academic differentiation marked “a shift from ‘classical integration theory (that asks which forces and actors account for the development of the Euro-polity)’ to a ‘governance approach’, which takes the Europolity for granted (Jachtenfuchs 2001, p. 255)” (Cowles/Curtis 2004:301). The latter perspective pays tribute to the fact that the “EU has, over time, become more eclectic as a polity as its policy competence has expanded, and more ‘polycentric’” (Peterson 2003:18). So, “the changes in the academic discourse have paralleled the transformation of governing in the real world and have attempted to provide some interpretation of those changes” (Peters 2002:3). In a narrow sense, ‘governance’ is used as an antipode to ‘government’ (cf. Benz 2004a:18f.) and to hierarchical steering. It describes non-hierarchical and/or cooperative decision-making and/or negotiation within networks including nongovernmental actors (cf. ibid.:21; Börzel 2005; Burth/Görlitz 2001; Héritier 2002b:3; Knodt 2005; Mayntz 2004a, 2004b, 2003a, 2003b, 1995, 1987; Peters 2002; Rhodes 1997). Based on this main albeit narrow understanding, governance can be defined in two ways. In a process-oriented perspective (cf. Börzel 2005:617ff.) it can be characterised “as the continuous political process of setting Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 41 explicit goals for society and intervening in it in order to achieve these goals” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:99). This view owes much to the understanding of political steering (cf. below; cf. Börzel 2005:617) and comprises hierarchical coordination, non-hierarchical co-ordination between public and private actors, regulated self-steering and societal self-steering (cf. Börzel 2005:622). According to some scholars, the process-oriented governance concept, however, suffers from certain selectivity by disregarding relevant power-sociological aspects of the political process (cf. Mayntz 2004a:74). Contrary to this perception it is, however, argued that “[m]ulti-level governance [should not be] seen as an alternative but rather as a complement to intergovernmental relations defined in a regulatory framework” (Peters/Pierre 2004, quoted as forthcoming in Hooghe/Marks 2003:235). In a second understanding, governance encompasses the structural dimension of policy-making as a (new) ‘form of social order’ (cf. Börzel 2005:617). In this structure-oriented perspective it includes different mechanisms of co-ordination and patterns of interaction of interdependent political and societal actors, institutionalised steering systems, collective action within institutions, strategic coalition-building and the implementation of decisions taken by networks, tripartite negotiation systems, publicprivate partnerships, and/or interest groups (cf. Benz 2004a:25; Börzel 2005:618ff.; Fürst 2004:48). In these two understandings, governance is a common trend of the globalisation of politics and affects the nation state, its regional and local entities (cf. Benz 2004a:21) as well as international and regional political organisation (cf. Rosamond 2000:179). Even though this development is not limited to the EU, the Union is one of the most prominent, if not the only real, example of such changes in relation to the development of supranational governance (cf. Battistelli/Isernia 1993:174; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:101). One of the core theoretical origins of this ‘governance turn’ is to be found in political steering theory (cf. Börzel 2005:617; Burth/Görlitz 2001; Knodt 2005:26f.; Mayntz 1987; Peters 2002:3). This theoretical approach, focusing on the analysis of the growing ineffectiveness and failure of the nation state to solve economic and social problems during the 1960s/70s (cf. Knodt 2005:37; Mayntz 2004:67f.; Peters 2002:4), supported the development of the concept of the ‘co-operative state’. It fostered a turn away from traditional instruments of state intervention towards different forms of political steering and the expansion of the range of (politically and analytically) relevant actors beyond those of the domestic politico-administrative system (cf. Knodt 2005:27; Mayntz 2004b:3). With this turn, societal and nongovernmental actors, whose actions are guided by public interest, became relevant for the analysis of the performance of nation states and, thus, for the analysis of targeted political action by subjects of political steering on objects of steering in existing social (sub)systems (cf. Börzel 2005:617; Kooiman 2002:74; Mayntz 2004b:3; Peters 2002:4). This “important shift in the academic literature is represented by the very use, and now the wide spread use, of the term ‘governance’, rather than terms such as government, the State, or even ruling, to describe how steering is accomplished within society” (Peters 2002:3). Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 42 Apart from routing in the governance turn of political steering theory (Mayntz 2004a:69-71 and 2004b:2), the governance approach shares theoretical assumptions with other branches of political and integration theory (cf. Benz 2004a:27; Messner 2003:292). Among them particularly the approaches of supranationalism (Stone Sweet/Sandholtz 1997; Sandholtz/Stone Sweet 1998 and 1999), owing itself much to the neo-functional school of thought (cf. Nölke 2005:145), and new institutionalism, particularly in its historical and sociological, but also in its rational choice variant (cf. generally Hall/Taylor 1996; March/Olsen 1984, 1989, 1995 and 2005; Peter 1999 and 2000). As “a middle-range theory” (Bulmer 1997:1; March/Olsen 2005:6), new institutionalism is based on the general assumption that ‘institutions do matter’ (cf. Bulmer 1994 and 1997:4; March/Olsen 2005:9; Peters 2000:4). With the EMLG approach, the “application of historical institutionalism [has been expanded] to governance both below and beyond the member state” (Cowles/Curtis 2004:305). So, “‘governance’ is the hallmark of an institutionalist approach dealing with regulatory structures combining public and private, hierarchical and network forms of coordination” (Mayntz 2004b:1). Applied to NMoG, new institutionalism enhances the understanding of adaptation pressure, its mediation through institutions, and its effect on interactions, deliberation and decision-making (cf. ibid.). It links aspects of institution-building related to European integration with processes of Europeanisation (cf. Schäfer 2004:2; cf. chapter 2.1.2). At the same time, especially the historical strand of new institutionalism provides for a broader definition of institutions. In this variant, institutions are perceived not only as formal institutions, organisations, or rules of the political process. Also informal aspects of decision-making and organisations such as orientations, guiding principles, paradigms, norms, beliefs, ideas, values, and routines are taken into account (cf. Hall/Taylor 1996:6; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler- Koch 2004:101; Knodt 2005:18; March/Olsen 2005:4f.; Peters 2000:5; Stone Sweet/Sandholtz 1998:16). Following this “shift away from formal constitutionallegal approaches to government” (Bulmer 1997:4; cf. March/Olsen 2005:6), the institutional structure of a political system is also influenced by informal principles, norms and procedures, which shape actors’ behaviour within governance structures, such as policy networks (cf. Benz 2004a:22; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:15; March/Olsen 2005:11). This broader view on institutions allows incorporating “the role of ‘soft law’ and political declarations as further influences upon policy outcomes” (Bulmer 1997:5), which fruitfully adds to the analysis of the EES’s impact on domestic change. It offers theoretical access to the analysis of the development and impact of NMoG and policy co-ordination through the OMC (cf. Meyer/Linsenmann/Wessels 2007), that differ from classical regulatory approaches and the Community method of European decision-making. At its analytical centre, historical institutionalism especially focuses on four elements: conceptualisation of “the relationship between institutions and individual behaviour”, “asymmetries of power associated with the operation and development of institutions”, “view on institutional development that emphasizes path dependence”, “contribution that other kinds of factors, such as ideas, can make to political Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 43 outcomes” (Hall/Taylor 1996:7). With this focus, its application is analytically rewarding when it comes to the understanding of (EML) governance processes and related policy and institutional change. It pays attention to the time dimension of adaptation processes and “stresses that many of the contemporary implications of these temporal processes are embedded in institutions – whether these be formal rules, policy structures, or social norms” (Pierson 1998:29; cf. March/Olsen 2005:9). In this perception, the underlying ideas embedded in an institution “will have a persistent influence over its behaviour for the remainder of its existence” (March/Olsen 2005:11; Peters 2000:3). The underlying assumption is that “institutions can themselves develop endogenous institutional impetus for policy change that exceeds mere institutional mediation” (Bulmer 1997:5). With this view, also the aspect of power distribution through and by institutions is integrated into the analysis of governance processes, as “historical institutionalists have been especially attentive to the way in which institutions distribute power unevenly across social groups” (Hall/Taylor 1996:9). It assumes that institutions assert different adaptation pressures on actors that means they favour some groups of actors while limiting others (cf. March/Olsen 2005:4). Whether or not this will proof to be the case with the EES builds a focal point of the later empirical analysis. Moreover, the sociological variant of new institutionalism donates an analytical facet that is of special relevance for the empirical analysis of policy co-ordination through OMC and the EES as it offers explanatory elements for policy learning. By focusing on “symbol systems, cognitive scripts, and moral templates that provide the ‘frames of meaning’ guiding human action” (Hall/Taylor 1996:14; cf. Fligstein/Stone Sweet 2002:1211; March/Olsen 2005:19), this strand has an even broader view on institutions than does historical institutionalism. It states that “institutions influence behaviour” (Hall/Taylor 1996:15) for real and potential action. They shape mind sets, identities, vision, preferences, priorities, but also mutual trust by “the highly-interactive and mutually-constitutive character of the relationship between institutions and individual action” (ibid.:15; cf. March/Olsen 2005:9; Möllering 2005:8ff.). Policy-making is, hence, guided by the “logic of appropriateness … driven by rules of appropriate or exemplary behaviour” (March/Olsen 2004:3). With its special focus on the “‘cognitive dimension’ of institutional impact” (Hall/Taylor 1996:15), it links elements of institutions, traditions and culture. Within in the context of this study, these elements constitute essential aspects for explaining the impact of the OMC on employment policy co-ordination through policy learning given that not only national institutional traditions, but also actors’ preferences and political priorities are affected by this new policy instrument. Finally, the rational choice variant of new institutionalism provides for additional insight into the interconnectedness of domestic change and Europeanisation. It highlights the relevance of strategic action within policy-making under a “logic of consequentiality [that] implies to treat possible rules and interpretations as alternatives in a rational choice problem” (March/Olsen 2004:5). Within this perspective, institutions are assessed to be “composed of incentives and/or constraints on behav- Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 44 iour” (Peters 2000:5), opening or restricting new opportunity structures and potentially leading to a redistribution of power within the political process (Börzel/Risse 2003). On this basis, they structure political interaction by affecting the behaviour of strategically motivated political actors, which dispose over “a fixed set of preferences or tastes …, behave entirely instrumentally so as to maximize the attainment of these preferences, and do so in a highly strategic manner that presumes extensive calculation” (Hall/Taylor 1996:12; cf. March/Olsen 2005:5; Peters 2000:3). In line with these rational choice assumptions, institutions (such as the EES) limit potential alternatives and diminish uncertainties within the political process (Hall/Taylor 1996:12). As a consequence, policy and institutional change deriving from Europeanisation processes are not difficult to achieve, given that “all one needs to do is to change the incentive … and behaviour will almost immediately change” (Peters 2000:6). Even though this strand of new institutionalism adds to the understanding of the relation between institutions and human behaviour de-coupled from other intervening variables of political interaction it roots in “a relatively simplistic image of human motivations” (Hall/Taylor 1996:18) based on the rational calculation of interest maximisation. In combining these theoretical perspectives of new institutionalism with the analysis of the Europeanisation impact of the EES on domestic employment policy co-ordination and policies in the UK and Germany, the study follows the theoretical assumptions “that (1) rules, organizational capacity to respond to social exchange, and effective procedures to process disputes, and (2) the behaviour and dispositions of political and economic actors, could evolve symbiotically” (Fligstein/Stone Sweet 2002:1209). The analysis of the Europeanisation impact of the EES, therefore, embraces analytical elements of new institutionalism, These elements especially focus “on how institutions not only provide for an arena for EU politics but also ‘play an important role in shaping the norms, values and conventions shared by actors involved at the EU level’ (Cram et al., p. 16; see also Bulmer, 1994)” (Cowles/Curtis 2004:300; cf. Benz 2004b:126) and, thus, influence policy outcomes, institutional and policy change at national levels (cf. Bulmer 1997:5 and 7; March/Olsen 2005:5). Yet, at the same time, the “causal relations between institutional arrangements and substantive policy is [acknowledged to be] complex” (March/Olsen 2005:9), especially in multilevel institutional arrangements. Like new institutionalism, the governance approach emphasises “that government decision-making is shaped not only by the preferences of domestic societal actors but also by the governments’ historical participation in the EU” (Cowles/Curtis 2004:300). From these long-standing patterns and rules of interaction, pathdependence of institutional change evolves as “it is easier for policy-makers to use, and if necessary to adapt, existing channels than to negotiate to set up new structures” (Wallace, W. 2005:484; cf. Pierson 1998:34; Stone Sweet/Sandholtz 1998:10). Institutional adaptation and change may occur rather in a “simple trial and error process of learning, and incremental change in the system, but the structuring of the system is largely done by adaptation rather than comprehensive strategic planning in the center” (Peters 2002:9). Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 45 Political steering and co-ordination within governance processes is, thus, a result of the interaction of institutional systems and the self-steering of actors involved (cf. Benz 2004a:20). The governance concept, hence, not only comprises the functional dimension of governing, steering, and co-ordination. It also embraces the way of doing so by focusing the process-related, structural, functional, and instrumental aspects of governing, steering, and co-ordination. So, it covers the polity, politics, as well as the policy dimension of the political system (ibid.:15; cf. 19). Multilevel governance processes are, therefore, especially suited to impact on institutional rules and procedures as well as to aim at the adaptation of the institutional context of decision-making and relevant network structures at all levels. European Multilevel Governance: Co-ordination and Steering Processes within a Multilayered Political System “The EU is already the most complex polity ever created by human artifice and it is going to become even more so before it reaches its end-state – whatever that will be” (Schmitter 2004:69). This specific statement points at the singularity of the EU as a unique and complex multilevel political and governance system with distinct features different from the traditional understanding of territorially bound decisionmaking processes of the nation state. Policy-making and decision-taking within the EU differ not only according to the scope of tasks and competences affected or actors involved. They differ also with a view to the procedural and institutional preconditions of collective political decision-making. Taking up these particularities, the most prominent concept of European integration theory in line with the above described ‘governance turn’ is the EMLG approach4. It combines the analysis “of the EU in policy process terms with an acknowledgement of its peculiarities” (Rosamond 2000:110) and lays the analytical focus on “forms, outcomes, problems and development paths of governance of the Euro-polity” (Jachtenfuchs 2001:256). By doing so, it moves the analytical focus away from the mere question of division of competences (cf. Knodt 2005:33). The EMLG approach was initially applied to EU-related policy analysis and policy network studies5 that focused on the examination of EC policy-making processes without trying to explain European integration as a whole (cf. Stone Sweet/Sandholtz 1998:2f.). The approach served as a theoretical rapprochement to 4 Cf. Armstrong/Bulmer 1998; Bulmer 1994; Eising/Kohler-Koch 1999b; Hix 1998; Hooghe/Marks 2001a; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 1996, 1998 and 2004; Kohler-Koch 1996a, 1999 and 2003; Marks/Hooghe/Blank 1996; Sandholtz/Stone Sweet 1999, 1998 and 1997; Wallace, H. 1996b; Wallace, W. 1996. 5 Cf. Börzel 1997; Eising/Kohler-Koch 1999a; Hanf/O’Toole 1992; Héritier 1993a, b and 1995; Kenis/Schneider 1991; Marin/Mayntz 1991a and b; Mayntz 1993; Pappi 1993; Peterson 1995; Peterson/Bomberg 1999; Risse-Kappen 1996; Schumann 1996; van Waarden 1992; Windhoff-Héritier 1987. Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 46 the complexity of political interactions within the multilevel, multilayered and multitiered political system of the EU. Even though, due to changing premises of supranational policy-making in different policy fields (Benz 2004b:143; cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:98; Knodt 2005:33; Mayntz 2004a:71), a generalisation of research results was and still is perceived to be rather difficult, “studies of this type contribute to a better understanding of how the European multi-level system works” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:98), as they seek “to make the linkage between domestic, European and international boundaries more explicit” (Cowles/Curtis 2004:301; cf. Benz 2004a:22, 2004b:126). The EMLG approach can be perceived as a “metaphor used to depict the mature stage of the EU polity [in which a]uthority is dispersed rather than concentrated and political action occurs at and between various levels of governance. The idea also implies that the number of significant actors within the EU polity has multiplied and, therefore, that state-centric conceptions of integration carry only limited explanatory power” (Rosamond 2000:201; cf. Knodt 2005:33). Scientifically, the concept has “become the omnipresent and acceptable label one can stick on the contemporary EU” (Schmitter 2004:49). Nevertheless, it is rather an (heuristic) approach with different nuances (cf. Benz 2004a:27, 2004b:143; Börzel 2005:616 and 622; Knodt 2005:40; Peters 2002:4), than a grand (explanatory) theory of European integration. As such, it is critically assessed to be characterised by a certain “descriptive neutrality and, hence, .. putative compatibility with virtually any of the institutionalist theories and even several of their more extreme predecessors” (Schmitter 2004:49). Focused on the analysis of policy-making processes and interaction within the EU, it does neither aim at explaining the overall systemic development of the EU’s supranational political system, nor does it focus on the explanation of outcomes of European integration. This analytical openness provides for the basis of criticism, which, nevertheless, partially seems to “confuse the multi-level governance approach with a theory which tries to explain European integration” (Knodt 2004:701). The openness of the approach can, hence, also be perceived as an advantage rather than a disadvantage as it integrates a broad variety of explanative elements of European integration theory (cf. Benz 2004a:27). In this more open perception, the EMLG approach is a positivistic tool to explain increasingly complex interactions, structures, and procedures (cf. ibid.) within the political system of the EU. It is based on elements of integration theories, policy analysis and normative theories of political institutions, which it combines in an ‘integrated perspective’ to better understand the specific features of the EU (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:14 and 2004:98ff.). More than classical integration theories, the EMLG approach intensively took up the specific systemic characteristics of the EU (cf. Hooghe/Marks 2003:234). The following features are core elements of the scientific debate at the heart of the analytical interest: • the “system of continuous negotiation among nested governments at several territorial tiers – supranational, national, regional and local” (Marks 1993:392); Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 47 • the expansion of political processes across more than one political level; • the interdependence of political decision-making at different political levels; • the combination of supranational and intergovernmental elements in a system of multilayered policy-making; • the multiplication of access points to the political process; • the involvement of an extended number of relevant state and non-state actors; • intra- and intergovernmental network interrelations and new modes of political interaction, co-ordination and negotiation across different levels (cf. Benz 2004b:126f., 131 and 135; Schmitter 2004:49ff.) Generally, the EMLG concept describes a fundamental change of policy-making accompanied by the broadening and widening of politico-procedural interrelatedness and “functional differentiation” (Knodt 2004:703) across national borders and political levels within the EU, “leading to a functionally (instead of territorially) defined construction of political space and the drawing of new functional boundaries” (ibid.; Benz 2004b:127 and 144; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:78 and 91). The approach takes into account “that the way policy is made changes the institutional framework in a broader sense” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:100). It acknowledges that not only the written treaties, but also informal rules and aspects of institutions and interactions are relevant for the analysis of the EU (ibid.). With this acknowledgement, the “multi-level governance literature seeks to avoid two traps: state-centrism and the treatment of the EU as only operating at the European level in the institutional arena of Brussels and Strasbourg” (Rosamond 2000:110). During the 1990s, this new branch of European integration theory flourished not only in terms of quantity, but also concerning the qualitative innovation of analytical labels for an old phenomenon (cf. Börzel 2005:614; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:99): “Governance without government” (Hix 1998:40; Rosenau/Czempiel 1992), “network governance” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 1996), “multi-perspectival polity” (Ruggie 1993), “multidimensional, quasi federal polity” (Stone Sweet/Sandholtz 1998:1), “complex of policy networks” (ibid.), “polycentric governance, multiperspectival governance, condominio, and fragmentation” (Hooghe/Marks 2003:234), “locus classicus of shared and complex sovereignty” (Peters 2002:9), “post-sovereign system” (Wallace, W. 2005: 483), “partial political system” (ibid.) or “multi-tiered governance … and consortio” (Hooghe/Marks 2001b:3) are only some of the newly invented descriptions for the transformation of government due to the involvement in supranational policy-making. Due to this broad variety of descriptions–none of which being able to demand analytical primacy–the EU has often been labelled as a political system ‘sui generis’ (cf. Börzel 2005:614; Ipsen 1994; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:18; Kohler-Koch 1999:22-23). This particular label tries to grasp the uniqueness of European multilevel governance in contrast to the nation state or international organisations (cf. Beck/Grande 2004; Börzel 2005:614 and 629; Kohler-Koch 2003; Rosamond 2000:110). In this sense, the EMLG approach is scientifically perceived to contribute to “a more comprehensive understanding of the development of the Euro-polity Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 48 as compared to other approaches such as classical integration theory, policy analysis, or the constitutional debate” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:97). It links “policymaking and institution-building …, re-introduces the competition for political power into the analysis … [and] allows for discussion of normative issues of a good political order for the EU without losing contact with empirical research on how political life in the EU actually functions” (ibid.). In line with the design of the overall theoretico-empirical frame of reference of this study, EMLG, as the basis for the emergence of NMoG, is best analysed according to its polity, politics and policy dimension (cf. Treib/Bähr/Falkner 2005:4). The polity dimension refers to its systemic and functional premises. It views “governance as a system of rules that shape the action of social actors” (ibid. 2005:5), while the politics dimension covers the policy-making process with its procedural and structural specifics. Finally, the policy dimension relates to the political steering mode and instruments applied. Systemic Premises: A Political System of Increasing Interweavement European integration is “a distinct west European effort to contain the consequences of globalization” (Wallace, H. 1996b:17) and internationalisation. Through an increase of “international problem solving capacity… [, which] is, maybe, highest within regional institutions, and here particularly the European Union” (Mayntz 2003:8), it substantially reduces functional, structural, and procedural restrictions to the political performance of the nation state (cf. Benz 2004a:17; Jachtenfuchs/ Kohler-Koch 2004b:78; Lepsius 1992:189; Wessels 1992). By doing so, it reacts to the comprehensive demand for co-operation between nation states in Europe by creating and deepening supranational decision-making procedures, structures, and arenas for political interaction. These new procedures, structures, and arenas, by means of supranational authoritative decision-making, live up to the requirements of internationalised political interactions by de-coupling actors from single national political arenas and decision-making structures. Even though the EU is still lacking the two central competences of the nation state, that are the monopoly on the legitimate use of force and the taxation monopoly (cf. Börzel 2005:623; Hooghe/Marks 2001b:2; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:20, 2004b:102), in the course of European integration an increasing number of competences in an ever-broadened scope of policy fields became topic of supranational decision-making (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:79). This “expanded policy scope of the EU has [also] brought it into one of the most sensitive areas of national governance, namely that of economic management” (Ladrech 2004:50; Schäfer 2005:22). Political processes and procedures had to adapt to these new tasks and broadened scope of competences and actors involved. The development of this special system of multilevel decision-making led to changes of policy-making processes and decision-making procedures within the EU and its member states. It also impacted on Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 49 change across different policy fields given that treaty revisions, but also informal rules and routines of political practice influence policy-making and systemic as well as institutional settings (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:100f.). Within the EMLG system, political actors and arenas of all levels involved are functionally, procedurally, and structurally increasingly interlinked. This interweavement leads to the Europeanisation of national policy-making and the development of a distinct political decision-making system at EU level (cf. Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:128; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:23; Knodt 2004:702; cf. chapter 2.1.2). In this system, “political actors consider problem-solving the essence of politics and … the setting of policy-making is defined by the existence of highly organised social sub-systems” (Eising/Kohler-Koch 1999a:5). The systemic characteristics of EMLG are, thus, manifold, and comprise a variety of distinctive features with specific effects on political processes, procedures and on policy content (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:78, 2003:18). They can, in a more general understanding, “be defined as an arrangement for making binding decisions that engages a multiplicity of politically independent but otherwise interdependent actors – private and public – at different levels of territorial aggregation in more-orless continuous negotiation/deliberation/implementation, and that does not assign exclusive policy compétence or assert a stable hierarchy of political authority to any of these levels” (Schmitter 2004:49; cf. Benz 2004a:20; Knodt 2005:30f.; Peters 2002:6 and 15; Peterson 2003:11). In this way, the EU “polity determines politics and policy” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:101) for the EU and member state level, while, vice versa, also ‘policy determines politics’ (cf. Lowi 1972). Thus, within the EMLG system, politics is not only influenced by the characteristics of the EU polity, but also by the specific contents of the policy area under analysis (cf. Knodt 2005:30). These systemic changes influence the allocation of responsibilities and competences across different levels, the transformation of political structures, processes, and statehood itself (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:91, 1996:22). As a consequence, the complexity and dynamics of interlinked and interdependent European problem-solving processes increase (cf. Benz 1992:157) and partly lead to “uncertain agendas, shifting networks and complex coalitions” (Richardson 2000:1021) at EU level. As a result, core systemic elements of EMLG are the dispersion of competences between different political and state levels, the interdependence of public and private actors within the decision-making process, an alternation between supranational (hierarchical) and inter-/transgovernmental (non-hierarchical) modes of steering and the primary use of regulatory policy based on technical regulation (cf. Börzel 2005:615, 623 and 632; Bomberg/Peterson 2000:9; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:80ff.; Pierson 1998:36; Wallace, W. 2005:487). From these systemic premises the main features of the EMLG system derive: Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 50 “ 1 a polycentric system, where various centres of decision-making exist that are formally independent of each other. The hierarchical centre of the system is replaced by functional networks (Kohler-Koch 1999), and 2 split into multiple, overlapping arenas characterized by loose coupling (Benz 2000; Hooghe and Marks 2001[a]). These interlocked arenas include different actors, whose interests diverge. 3 The organizing principle of political relations within the European system is based on consociation, which helps actors to manage heterogeneity within political communities. 4 Consensual policy-making relies heavily on interaction and communication between its entities (Knodt 2000). Thus, accumulation of knowledge, collective learning, and the exchange of ideas and concepts are significant” (Knodt 2004:704; cf. ibid. 2005:18 and 34). Functional Characteristics: Policy-Making under the Conditions of Interdependence The origin of the specific political reality of the EMLG system is to be found in the growing interdependence of political actors, levels, and policy solutions, the globalisation of problem contexts and the expansion of functional and sectoral problem interrelations across national political borders and systemic boundaries (cf. Benz 2004a:14 and 18; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 1996:16). Going hand in hand with this evolution, the growing dis-embedding of politics from national contexts fosters the development of new, no longer territorially bound forms of political power and problem-solving (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:78, 1996:22). These new forms try to counterbalance the asymmetric expansion of functional sub-systems by supranational policy-making within the EU (cf. ibid. 1998:5, 1996:28) and foster the de-nationalisation of policy priorities and problem perceptions (cf. ibid. 1996:21). With these changes, a continuing process of political definition of aims and targets, political steering and binding decision-making has been set up within the EMLG system in order to develop societal conditions (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:15). European multilevel “[g]overnance thus [functionally] involves setting goals and making decisions for an entire collectivity, including individuals or groups who have not explicitly agreed to them. It also involves a rather high level of intervention which may stabilize or alter a given status quo” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:99f.). As a result, political decision-makers have to take into account not only national and European, but also subnational and private interests. This requirement transforms the bi-dimensional ‘two-level game’ (Putnam 1988:433ff.; cf. Knodt 2004:702) of political decision-making into a complex and differentiated three-level game of interwoven supranational policy-making for all levels and actors involved and affected (cf. Staeck 1997:40). With this development, the EU has acquired a Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 51 functional complexity in which supranational, national, and subnational governmental and non-governmental actors and competences are integrated in a highly complex way (cf. Grande 1996b:373). So, within the EMLG system, “territorial and functional differentiation disaggregate effective problem-solving capacity into a collection of sub-systems of actors with specialised tasks and limited competence and resources” (Hanf/O’Toole 1992:166). Thus, the main functional criterion for the supranational problem-solving capacity is the co-ordination of and negotiation between different and diverse interests of all actors at all levels involved (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 1998:23; Kohler-Koch 1996a:373; Scharpf 1992:12; Staeck 1997:38; Wallace, H. 1990:213). Functional advantages of this multilevel governance system are better recognition of preference heterogeneity and the facilitation of policy commitments, innovation, and competition (cf. Hooghe/Marks 2001:4). Structural and Procedural Features: European Multilevel Policy Networks and Policy-Making Based on these functional features, the EMLG is characterised by the following structural and procedural patterns: “ (i) decision-making competencies are shared by actors at different levels (i.e. a ‘dynamic’ dispersion of authority); (ii) actors and arenas are not ordered hierarchically as in traditional intergovernmental relationships (i.e. non-hierarchical institutional design); (iii) consensual or non-majoritarian decision-making among states, which requires a continuous wide-ranging negotiation process (i.e. nonmajoritarian negotiation system)” (Kaiser/Prange 2003:3). With these elements, EMLG causes an undermining of the institutional structure of EU member states (cf. Lepsius 1992:184) and the restriction of European nation states’ sovereign capacity to act in areas, in which competences have been transferred to the EU (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 1998:2; Kohler-Koch 1996a:371 and 361; Staeck 1997:14). In order to solve this fundamental dilemma, the EMLG system bypasses the “classic state-centric, command-and-control, redistributive and ideological processes of ‚government‘ and ‚politics‘” (Hix 1998:39) with its multilevel governance structures. So, a governance system emerged, in which “[v]ertical linkages are the stable relationships, or patterned interactions, between actors organized at the EC level and actors organized at or below the member-state level. Horizontal linkages are the stable relationships, or patterned interaction, between actors organized in one member-state with actors organized in another” (Stone Sweet/Sandholtz 1998:9; cf. Benz 2004a:14 and 18; Scharpf 1992:12; Stone Sweet/Sandholtz 1997:304). Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 52 “The chief benefit of multi-level governance lies in its scale flexibility. Its chief cost lies in the transactions costs of coordinating multiple jurisdictions” (Hooghe/ Marks 2003:239). Further threats to multilevel problem-solving rest in the danger of blocking the decision-making process in negotiation systems that require unanimity, suboptimal compromises due to the search for equilibrium of gains and burdens within package deals, diminution of conflicts and decision-taking at the costs of third parties not directly involved in the negotiations or missing commitment to implement decisions taken under majority voting (cf. Benz 2004b:134; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:95; Mayntz 2004a:73; cf. Scharpf 1985, 1988). Negotiations are characteristic for EMLG interactions to take decisions (cf. Héritier 1995:206; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:92). These negotiations are based on deliberation accompanied by largely consensus-oriented (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler- Koch 2004b:91, 2003:26) and co-operative bargaining within interrelated decisionmaking structures. Based on trust and communication among (equal) actors, these structures support the development of consensual policies (cf. Benz 2004a:20, 2004b:134; Czada 1997:257; Wilkesmann 1995:58). Nevertheless, due to the multitude of actors involved negotiations in policy networks are often influenced by “complicated deals for compensating interests” (Scharpf 1994:222), “package deals offering compensation, framework legislation, phased compliance schedules, ... and twin track policy-making building up support for conflicting interests before legislation” (Héritier 1997:185). They “tend to be time-consuming; the compromises negotiated are often suboptimal; and the threat of vetoes and of a subsequent breakdown of negotiations is ever present” (Grande 1996b:332). The distribution of political power between different levels of authority is a key structural characteristic of EMLG processes. Different political actors and levels dispose over own tasks and competences, which, nevertheless, are neither restricted to one level or clearly delineated, with different political levels being loosely interlinked with each other (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:22, 2004:102 and 103). They are also not separated according to different types of competences (cf. Staeck 1997:35). Moreover, different regional, (sub)national, and European political institutions and levels are interrelated by the distribution of formal competences among them (cf. Kohler-Koch 1996b:197). As a result, the “intellectual challenge of the multi-level governance model” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:103) is not just about the delineation of competences. It is also about the linkage of different strands of political decision-making, with the member states “retaining a very substantial role in decision-making, including the exclusive power to extend or reduce EU policy-making competencies” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:102; cf. Peters 2002:4; Peterson 2003:3; Wallace, W. 2005:493) and “EU-level institutions .. [being] strong in terms of their ability to shape policy outcomes and in terms of the resources at their disposal” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:102). So, central parameter of political decision-making “are becoming more unstructured, so that a variety of influences are brought to bear on policy choices” (Peters 2002:1) at EU level. Due to this transformation of the political process, the “quest for influence in a system with dispersed allocation of governing authority has stimu- Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 53 lated all kinds of actors to go transnational” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:104). National and European “interest groups have adapted to the opportunities of multiple access and now pursue a dual strategy, lobbying both at home and in Brussels” (ibid.). Due to the logic of horizontal interweavement and in spite of the strong position of member states governments and European institutions within the European policy-making process, also non-governmental actors and interest groups are represented at the different political levels, including (sub-)national and European federations (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:88, 2003:25; cf. Börzel 2005:629; Peters 2002:6) as new opportunity structures to influence policy outcomes and new coalitions emerge. They multiply channels of interaction and options for co-operation in the daily political business (cf. Grande 1996b:321; Héritier 1995:205; Kohler-Koch 1996a:360f. and 370ff.; Wallace, W. 2005:484 and 494; Wessels 1997:20). Thus, “private, governmental, transnational and supranational actors deal with each other in highly complex networks of varying density” (Risse-Kappen 1996:62) that transform the structural and procedural logics of governance at EU and at national level (Börzel 2005:625). “Networking is the most characteristic feature of EU governance … and a plethora of committees are nodal points of communication” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:105) for state and non-state actors alike (cf. Benz 2004a:23; Wallace, W. 2005:488). As a consequence, the development of European integration towards a multilevel system of supranational governance and the Europeanisation of both the supranational and the national political systems strongly “favoured the emergence of policy networks as a new form of governance – different from the two convential forms of governance (hierarchy and market) –, which allows governments to mobilise political resources in situations where these resources are widely dispersed between public and private actors” (Börzel 1997:4; cf. Benz 2004a:14; Bomberg/Peterson 2000:24; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:87). In this way, policy networks, as “an ever-present phenomenon” (Radaelli 2003a:29) and alternative to “corporatism, pluralism, and statism” (ibid.), constitute a new type of political structure for co-ordination, interaction and decision-making. Given that supranational policy-making heavily relies on this sort of co-operation between political actors within policy networks (Peterson 2003:10), they are characterised by a combination of elements of both the market (multitude of autonomous actors) and political hierarchy (capacity to follow aims by coordinated action) (cf. Mayntz 1993:44, 2003a:1; Peterson 2003:1 and 3). So, in the course of the development of the EMLG system, the establishment of an ever-increasing number of overlapping and interlinked European multilevel policy networks6, characterised by “consultation and dialogue” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler- Koch 2004a:105; cf. Knodt 2005:34), can be witnessed. They broaden the variety of 6 Cf. Benz 1995; Börzel 2005; Coleman 2001; Eising/Kohler-Koch 1999a; Héritier/Mingers/Knill/Becka 1994; Kohler-Koch 2002; Marin/Mayntz 1991b; Mayntz 1993; Peterson 2001, 2003; Peterson/Bomberg 2000; Rhodes 1997; Wilkesmann 1995; Windhoff- Héritier 1987. Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 54 classical modes of governing (Börzel 2005:624; Peters 2002:10) and are important examples of these new multilevel policy-making arenas. Vertically, European multilevel policy networks stretch across different levels of the politico-administrative system. Horizontally, they combine legislative and administrative state institutions with non-state actors or interest organisations (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 1996:22; Scharpf 1992:12; Stone Sweet/Sandholtz 1997:304; Windhoff-Héritier 1987:45). The latter element is perhaps the more relevant characteristic, given that most European multilevel policy networks “are more horizontal in structure–that is, dominated by actors representing the core EU institutions, representatives of EU member states, and powerful, Brussels-based lobbyists” (Peterson 2003:18), even if they are, nevertheless, “invariably linked to national networks in the same sector” (ibid.:19). They are characterised by a structural change of the relationship between state and society. This change refers to the growing relevance of non-state actors in the policy-making process, functional differentiation and sectoralisation, the broadened need for transnational rule-setting caused by internationalisation and globalisation, decentralisation and parallel fragmentation of the state as well as interdependence of social and political affairs (cf. Kenis/Schneider 1991:34ff.). Adding to these characteristics, European multilevel policy networks vary from policy area to policy area (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:87; Peterson 2003:9) and are strongly influenced by the type of regulatory approach and mode of co-ordination applied. Together with the “extraordinarily complex labyrinth of committees that shape policy options before policies are ‘set’ by overtly political decision-makers such as the college of Commissioners, Council of Ministers, or European Parliament” (Peterson 2003:2) EMLG policy networks are specific structural characteristics of European multilevel decision-making (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:25). They form clusters “of actors, each of which has an interest, or ‘stake’ in a given … policy sector and the capacity to help determine policy success or failure” (Peterson/Bomberg 1999:8). In this way, they represent central junctions and arenas for interactions and exchange of expertise (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:104f.). Consequently, EMLG policy networks mirror the turn away from one central political arena, one central political process, and one hierarchical centre (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:25; Knodt 2005:34; Windhoff-Héritier 1987:43). At the same time, they cover the politics dimension of EMLG (cf. Treib/Bähr/Falkner 2005:5) and reflect the decline in relevance of national political and decision-making processes and procedures (cf. Schubert 1991:36; Peters 2002:4) as well as their substitution by formal and informal interweavement of actors involved in the political process across different political levels (cf. Benz 2004a:23; Börzel 1997:4). They evolve as reaction to the specific deficits of interwoven decision-making structures (cf. Benz 1995:200) and augment the chances of effective problem-solving in interlinked policy-making systems (cf. ibid.:194, 185). Moreover, they work as mechanisms of communication and interaction and form relevant structures for cooperation and co-ordination of public and non-state actors within the framework of Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 55 European multilevel political problem-solving (cf. Peterson 2003:3; Schmidt 1997:574; Schumann 1996:82; Wilkesmann 1995:52). The major aim of co-operation within policy networks is the targeted ‘injection’ of political positions into the supranational policy-making process in order to carry through political interests (cf. Börzel 2005:624). Moreover, co-operation, firstly, aims at the diminution of system-immanent insecurities of interaction by creating trust among political actors and, secondly, at the search for problem-solving opportunities and alternatives through exchange on interests and preferences (cf. Benz 1995:195ff.; Peterson 1995:76, 2003:3). In this perception, the term ‘policy network’ comprises the qualitative dimension of the transformation of the political process (cf. Jansen/Schubert 1995:10), the organisational dimension of a ‘polycentric collective actor’ (Wilkesmann 1995:53), and an analytical concept capable to provide for answers to the structural and procedural interdependences of political actors within interest intermediation processes (cf. Börzel 1997:4; Jansen/Schubert 1995:10; Knodt 2005:30). Thus, they can be perceived as “products of relations involving mutuality and interdependence, as opposed to hierarchy and independence” (Peterson 2003:1; cf. Benz 2004b:126). Policy networks support the development of so-called “epistemic communities” (Haas 1992:3) or “advocacy coalitions” (cf. Sabatier 1993a:121; 1993b:25; 1988). Epistemic communities are formed by networks of “professionals with recognized expertise and competence in a particular domain” (Haas 1992:3), while advocacy coalitions are composed of officials of different political levels and other political actors around common belief systems7 to enforce policy change and to influence the political agenda in a policy field. They unite actors of different organisations that share common normative ideas, co-ordinate their political actions and work together over longer periods (cf. Sabatier 1993a:121.). Between different, relatively stable and sometimes competing or coalition-building epistemic communities and advocacy coalitions of a policy field, so-called policy brokers act as agents (ibid.:129). So, if “EU governance is conceived as occurring within a multi-level system in which policies emerge after a fairly standard sequence of different types of decision, it is plausible to see EU governance at the sub-systemic level … and policy-shaping stage … as largely a competition between epistemic communities and/or advocacy coalitions … to steer or control policy networks, with which their own membership overlap, in specific sectors” (Peterson 2003:5). Generally, policy networks can be differentiated according to the stability of membership (domination of network by actors over time), the network’s narrowness (exclusion of or openness to actors outside the network), and the resource dependence of actors involved (inner-network dependence) (cf. Rhodes 1997; Peterson 7 A belief system of an advocacy coalition is made up of a core of basic, rather persistent and, hence, hardly changeable normative beliefs and attitudes of actors, a policy core with elementary and difficult to change ideas for the formulation of the special policy (strategic choices, instruments) and softer elements such as verdicts on single issues, which are easier to be influenced (cf. Schumann 1996:88f.). Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 56 2003:4). Moreover, besides the sectoral orientation, varying structures of conflict and co-operation can be distinguished (cf. Marin/Mayntz 1991:14; Mayntz 2004a:73; Pappi 1993:91; Windhoff-Héritier 1987:44). They can be more closely defined by the number and kind of actors involved, their functions and structure, the degree of institutionalisation, conventions of interaction, distribution of power and by the actors’ strategies (cf. van Waarden 1992:32). Out of these dimensions, the number and type of actors, the main functions of the network and the internal distribution of power are most relevant, given that they most strongly influence its shape, form, and functioning (cf. ibid.:49f.). Depending on the combination of dimensions, different types of policy networks can be found alongside a dichotomy of a pluralist model or “loosely-affiliated issue networks…, which find it far more difficult to mobilise collectively”8 (Peterson 2003:4) and corporatist or “tightly integrated policy communities…, which are capable of singleminded collective action”9 (ibid.). In general, three main types of policy networks can be identified on the background of the participation of political actors: • governmental policy networks, comprising exclusively public actors of different political levels; • societal policy networks made up of private actors largely representing economic and social interests; • public-private policy networks, in which public and private actors interact at an equal stance (cf. Börzel 2005:617). This pluralist-corporatist categorisation of policy networks, however, pays little attention to the impact of shifts towards policy co-ordination mechanisms in European policy-making (cf. Schubert 1995:231), which is relevant also in the case of the EES. Taking this shift into account, it will be one of the aims of the empirical analysis to find out, whether European (and national) employment policy co-ordination networks can be regarded as an interface between pluralistic interest intermediation and intergovernmental decision-making process (cf. Schubert 1995:231), hence, as a “meso-level concept of interest intermediation” (Börzel 1997:2). 8 Characterised by the dichotomy between state and society, missing leading interest groups, existence of diverging organised interest groups within the society, concurrence for access to the political process and asymmetric relations in view of transfer of information (cf. Schubert 1995:229; Pappi/König 1995:130). 9 With a strong position of main interest groups/central associations, symmetrical relations between politics and interest groups, outstanding role of government/ministries (cf. Jansen/Schubert 1995:18; Pappi/König 1995:129; cf. van Waarden 1992:39-41 and 42ff.). Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 57 Table 1: General Dimensions of EMLG Policy Networks in First Pillar Policies Dimension General Categorisation of Policy Networks Specifics of EMLG Policy Networks Nominal extension • Policy field • Policy field • Possible overlaps with others Actors • Number, type, representational monopolies • Individuals, organisation, institutions • Public, corporate or private • Stability of membership • Varying in “needs and interests…; structures, capacities, resources and performances…; the degree of professionalization” (van Waarden 1992:33) • Dominance of organisational actors (EU institutions, esp. European Commission; interest groups; corporate actors; intergovernmental actors) • But possibly also: territorial or functional coalitions, national/European federations, European coalitions, national local entities or professional lobbyist Functions • Channelling access, consultation, negotiation, co-ordination, cooperation in policy formation, cooperation in policy implementation and delegation of public authority, broadness of policy issues • Engagement of actors in collective action • Access to decision-making • Political influence/Communication • Exchange/spreading of information • Decision-making • Gathering expertise • To a lesser degree: implementation of EU policies in member states Structure • Boundaries, type of membership, ordered relations?, intensity, multiplexity, symmetry, subclustering?, linking pattern, centrality, stability, nature of relations • Diverse membership • Lack of clear hierarchy • Openness • Tendency to be discrete, distinct and unconnected, even in neighbouring policy areas • Density and reciprocity of relations • Exclusiveness and seclusion • Intensity/duration of interactions • Stability • Less stable with a higher fluctuation of actor than in national policy networks • Dynamic actors’ constellations • More open, with an intensive flow of information than in national policy networks • Strong sectoralisation, fragmentation, and segmentation • Existence of ‘multiple access points’ • High number of committees Degree of institutionalisation • Formal character, stability (high, medium, low) “closed networks, with compulsory membership, ordered linkages, high intensity, multiplexity and symmetry of relationships” (van Waarden 1992:35) vs. open networks, unordered relations (cf. van Waarden: 1992:35). • Lower degree of institutionalisation than national policy networks Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 58 Dimension General Categorisation of Policy Networks Specifics of EMLG Policy Networks Rules of procedures • Adversarialism/consensus search, idea of serving public interest?, formal or informal contacts, secrecy?, attempts at depoliticisation?, ideological disputes? • Oriented on common interests/welfare vs. particular/individual interests • Politicised vs. de-politicised • Rational pragmatism vs. ideological differences • negotiation vs. consultation • Interactions co-ordinated by institutional and informal contacts within negotiations • Horizontal relationships based on negotiations • Deliberation as key characteristic • Primarily consensual decisionmaking modes, including package deals • Influenced by national perceptions of a multitude of private/public actors Distribution of power • Autonomy of state re society, state dominant, societal actors dominant (capture), balance, symbiosis • Dependent on resources, performance, consultation or denial options (Schubert 1995:233) • “capture or colonization of state agencies by business ...; • autonomy of the state/public administration vis-à-vis organized interests; • instrumentalization or capture of private interests by the state; • symbiosis, or a relative power balance between both parties within a rather intensive relationship” (van Waarden 1992:36) • Strong position of European Commission as policy broker • Missing diffuse support for European measures and proposals due to missing common perception of problems • Asymmetries of power constellations, flow of information, access and skills Actors’ strategies • Being accessible, recognition of interest groups, active support of interest associations, creation/changing interest associations, delegation of state authority, attempts at destroying interest associations • Consensus-oriented, conflicting, competitive, co-operative, compromise-seeking, authoritative • Dominant: consensus-oriented, compromise-seeking, co-operative bargaining • But possibly also: conflicting interests leading to package deals • Direct representation in EU institutions • Formal or informal channels of contact • Set up of advocacy coalitions with similar sectoral and policy interests • Broad opportunities for coalition building Source: Column ‘General Categorisation’: adapted and amended version of van Waarden 1992: Table IA, p. 39-41 (italics), including Peterson 2003, Rhodes 1997; Schubert 1995 and Windhoff- Héritier 1987; column ‘Specifics of EMLG Policy Networks’: own compilation based on van Waarden 1992: Table IA, p. 39-41 and analysis of relevant scientific literature, cf. below. Among the key features of European policy networks are their focus on special policy fields and the dominance of institutional/organisational actors within horizontal relationships based on negotiations (cf. Héritier 1995:207). The predominant aim is decision-making, integrating independent, but interdependent political actors in Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 59 primarily consensual decision-making modes (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:20; cf. Knodt 2005:32 and 37). These specific interdependences of European decision-making, moreover, include the consideration of national circumstances and ex ante consultations of negotiation partners, which are able to block decisions because of diverging priorities and package deals (cf. Staeck 1997:41). Typical are also notable changes of proposals over the policy cycle and the emergence of “Policy-without-Law” (Schumann 1996:183, 176), that is, framework decision, which have to be further specified later on (cf. Héritier 1997:185). The dimensions of European policy networks vary according to their different legal and institutional preconditions within policy fields. Additionally, they are influenced by national problem perceptions of a multitude of private and public actors, which creates a rivalry of problem awareness and problem-solving approaches (cf. Héritier 1993b:438). This rivalry leads to missing common problem perceptions, missing diffuse support for European measures and proposals, They support the outstanding position of one supranational political actor (cf. Bulmer 1997:7), the European Commission, as ‘policy broker’ (Héritier 1993b:437; cf. Knodt 2005:34) or ‘process manager’ (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:89; Pierson 1998:36). Nevertheless, epistemic communities and/or advocacy coalitions between so-called ‘policy advocates’ (Héritier 1993b:440) with similar interests can emerge and lead towards “networks being ‘captured’ and transferred into insular policy communities, dominated by vested interests and lacking transparency” (Peterson 2003:18). Actors within European policy networks are mainly of bureaucratic, corporative or interest group nature. In contrast to national policy networks, also intergovernmental actors appear (Héritier 1993b:436). Yet, although European multilevel network governance “is assumed to be (and .. designed to be) open, inclusive, and indeterminate [, it] may be more determined by power than are more structured systems” (Peters 2002:14). From the variety of actors involved derives a “high volume of relatively unstructured interaction between the private sector and the organs of the Community” (Peters 1994:17), which offers broad opportunities for coalitionbuilding (cf. Héritier 1995:217) and dynamics in actors’ constellations (Peterson 1995:78). These processes are especially important in the context of the comitology system (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:100 und 90; cf. Börzel 2005:633; Bulmer 1997:3; Knodt 2005:35), as the European Commission is eager to integrate interest groups and national experts at a very early stage of the policy formulation process (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:104; Majone 1998:2). Additionally, European multilevel policy-making “favours the emergence of transnational expert groups. Though part of a national ministry, they control access to the international arena and share exclusive knowledge and contacts. They become socialized into an international club and gain autonomy from any kind of national control – be it by parliament or by their own ministry” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:111, cf. ibid. 2004b:89 and 90; cf. Bulmer 1997:3; Knodt 2005:34 and 37). European policy networks are also characterised by a strong sectoralisation, fragmentation, and segmentation (cf. Albert 1997:94). Due to the existence of Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 60 “multiple access points” (Wallace/Young 1997:244; cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:25; Knodt 2005:35), they are less stable and more open compared to national policy networks. With their higher fluctuation of actors’ participation, lesser degree of institutionalisation (cf. Héritier 1995:207; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:89) and more intensive flow of information (cf. Wallace/Young 1997:249) they tend to represent “loosely-integrated and fluid issue networks [rather] … than stable policy communities” (Peterson 2003:13). “None the less there are asymmetries of information, of access, and of skills” (Wallace/Young 1997:244) which might produce overlaps and redundancies within the political process. This holds especially true for regional actors within the EMLG that have to co-ordinate their actions not only with EU institutions, but also with national ones (cf. Knodt 2005:35). Hence, resources are distributed unevenly between the different state and non-state actors at the different political levels. So, centrifugal tendencies debilitate national horizontal relations and enhance the need for co-ordination also at national level (cf. Mayntz 2004a:73). Interactions are channelled via institutionalised and informal contacts within negotiations. Deliberation is a key characteristic of these negotiations (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:26), but as “soon as negotiations turn into a discussion of what might be a fitting and appropriate solution, scientific deliberation become deficient. The mode of communication shifts from arguing to bargaining, and government representatives take the lead because they, and not the Commission, are considered to be in a better position to make judgement on questions of social and political compatibility” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:105; cf. Knodt 2005:37). The functions of EMLG policy networks are largely focused on “gathering expertise and argument[s]” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:105), decision-making and to a lesser degree on the implementation of policies within the EU member states, which sometimes results in an incongruence of the two areas of formulation and implementation of policies within the EU. The actors’ strategies target at their direct representation in institutions and/or formal or informal channels of contact (cf. Staeck 1997:48). Affected by the interweavement of the political levels, actors within EMLG structures are subject to an enormous adaptation pressure, which often restrict, but sometimes enlarge their room for manoeuvre, given that European provisions might–in a rational choice perspective–also serve to justify controversial policy initiatives at the national level (cf. Grande 1996a:375ff.). Due to the multitude of decision-making bodies and points of access, actors have to make use of these “multiple channels of contact” (Kohler-Koch 1996a:368) in a “complicated multi-level strategy” (ibid.) in order to be represented and integrated into the political process at all levels (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 1996a:25; Kohler-Koch 1996b:199; Wallace/Young 1997:244). As a result, different national organisations and unions have created European federations, which “emphasize collective needs rather than national differences” (Lindberg 1963:101). Due to the internal heterogeneity of European level interest organisation, the creation of common positions at European level requires huge efforts. Yet, alternatively, actors can also appear as single actors such as corpora- Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 61 tions, as territorial or functional coalitions, European coalitions, national local entities, or professional lobbyist (cf. Bulmer 1997: 3; Pfeifer 1995:64f.); membership in these groups can of course overlap. Due to its monopoly to make proposals and given that the “Commission even has a legal duty to take ‘…account… of any new development based on scientific facts (EC Treaty, Art. 95,3) which is widely read as an obligation to consult scientific experts” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:105; cf. ibid.:106, 2004b:89; Knodt 2005:34), a major institutional target for influencing European multilevel policymaking is the European Commission. Commission officials are contacted by political actors and interest organisations already during a very early stage of the policy development (Mazey/Richardson 1993:10). Yet, not only interest groups benefit from this procedure. Also the Commission takes advantage of the economic and technical expertise provided (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:105, 2004b:88f.; Kohler-Koch 1996b:202; Wallace, W. 2005:488). Especially the dense system of “ostensibly apolitical committees of officials, experts and stakeholders” (Peterson 2003:2) of the Commission, and partly the working group system of the Council, pays tribute to this form of integration of expert knowledge and stakeholder interests in order to reach agreement and advance the policy agenda (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler- Koch 2004b:90; Knodt 2005:35; Pierson 1998:36). Owing to closed negotiations in the Council and its working groups, interest organisations and federations mainly lobby this institution via their national channels (cf. Andersen/Eliassen 1991:180, Gardner 1991:79). Council working groups provide for a forum of closed policy formulation, monitoring and implementation control for national and EU officials (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004b:89f.). “In any event, it is clear that EU policies are significantly shaped and closely scrutinised by different kinds of officials and experts in the EU’s committee system, both before and after ultimate policy decisions are taken by overtly ‘political’ actors” (Peterson 2003:2). Strengthening the authority and policy expertise of national officials within their respective national policy arenas, expertise “can become an exclusionary device, a device that is more effective at the supranational level because representative institutions like parliaments, that can play a surveillance role by holding experts accountable, are weak” (Coleman 2001:97). Depending on the respective decisionmaking procedure, the European Parliament (EP) forms a point of access to those interest groups that try to reach a broader public in order to exert influence (cf. Eising/Kohler-Koch 1994:187). Due to their mere consultative character, the Economic and Social Committee as well as the Committee of the Regions are to a lesser degree target of lobbying activities (cf. Andersen/Eliassen 1993:28). Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 62 New Modes of Governance: Multilevel Policy Co-ordination through the Open Method of Co-ordination If this study’s empirical focus is laid on domestic adaptation instigated by the EES, it is rather a natural political science ‘reflex’ to turn the attention from the polity and politics dimension of the EU to the transformative dynamics of EMLG on policy instruments, that is, the policy dimension (cf. graph 1). So, as the systemic, functional, procedural, and structural peculiarities of the former lay the ground for the emergence of the latter, it is only a small step from the analysis of EMLG to the examination of NMoG. Changes in the EMLG system’s polity and politics dimension influence the emergence and growing relevance of new policy instruments. The development of these new policy instruments is caused by the strengthening of European multilevel policy networks and by related “changes in governing [that] have tended to entail movements away from authority based instruments and to involve governments working through less intrusive means” (Peters 2002:2; cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:100; Mayntz 2003a:3). With this development, new policy instruments and modes of governance emerged. They route in special co-operation patterns between public and private actors in negotiation systems or informal networks that are different from hierarchical political steering or regulatory policy approaches and that ensure “that private actors have a sense of ‘ownership’ of EU policies” (Peterson 2003:10). Given that NMoG are not characterised by hierarchical political steering and policy-making, but by so-called ‘soft’ modes of steering and policy co-ordination through incentives, persuasion or believes, they are also labelled as ‘soft’ modes of governance. The most prominent example of these soft modes of governance is policy co-ordination through the OMC, which builds the focus of the following subchapters. Emergence and Expansion: A New Policy Instrument Rooting in National Reluctance to Transfer Sovereignty “As governing ideas change, so new ways of formulating policy open up” (Wallace, W. 2005:490). Consequently, the emergence of European policy co-ordination through the OMC can be understood as a sophisticated “response to the need for a more flexible, experimental, multi-level governance system for social policy in Europe” (Trubek 2002:2). Thus, reciprocally, EMLG can be regarded as the conditio sine qua non for this new policy instrument. Hence, as the ‘A’ of national polity, politics and policy change through Europeanisation (cf. chapter 2.1.2). The development of this new policy instrument is characterised by a shift from central and hierarchical making of policies to soft and open policy co-ordination processes. It underlines the impact of changes in EMLG on the evolution of new Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 63 policy instruments (cf. Eberlein/Kerwer 2002 and 2004; Héritier 2002a; Kohler- Koch 1999; Wallace, H. 1996a, 2000b). With this shift, hierarchical steering through binding rules became complemented by policy co-ordination, offering “the most fundamental departure from the hierarchy model” (Knill/Lenschow 2003:4) at supranational level. Although precursors of this new policy instrument belonged to the European socio-economic policy armoury already since the 1960s, they were of minor relevance for supranational policy-making. More recently and especially promoted by the European Commission’s 1993 White Books on Governance and on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment10, they have been refocused and are increasingly applied as an alternative to hierarchical modes of governance. As outlined above, most of the EU’s policy-making practice was characterised by the dichotomy of supranational policy-making and inter-/trans-governmental (Wallace 2000a:33 and 2002:265) co-operation, each applying instruments closely linked to the respective mode of governance. The former applies what is generally known as the supranational ‘Community method’ (cf. Wallace, H. 2000a:28f.) or regulatory policy-making (cf. Majone 1994:7-101; Majone 1996:263-277; Caporaso 1996:29- 52). The latter is predominantly characterised by intergovernmental negotiations between member states’ governments in the Council and the European Council (cf. Bomberg/Peterson 2000:8; Héritier 2005b:5f.; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:18; Schäfer 2004:3; Wallace, H. 2000a:28f; Wessels/Linsenmann 2002:55). With the development of the European polity towards a complex supranational system of multilevel governance, this dichotomy brought about “large differences in terms of political conflicts, policy outcomes, and problem-solving capacity” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:101; cf. Bomberg/Peterson 2000:2 and 9). Due to the rising incapacity to deliver proper outcomes, “a growing reluctance to grant regulatory powers to the EU” (Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:122) and, hence, an unwillingness to transfer further decision-making competences to the supranational level could be witnessed. In parallel, however, the demand for European problem-solving and decision-making increased due to phenomena such as the globalisation of problem contexts. As a result, supranational problem-solving capacities decreased and systemic steering incapacities as well as “legislative deadlocks” (Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:125) increased. So, owing to the dynamics of European integration in the socio-economic area and to a continuous expansion of competences even beyond areas originally laid down in the treaties (cf. Stone Sweet/Sandholtz 1998:17), old modes of governance–in a “long European process of trial-and-error, seeking to define an appropriate method for reinforcing the social dimension of Europe” (de la Porte/Pochet 2002a:12f.)–were amended by new, national sovereignty-preserving 10 Cf. European Commission 1993; Héritier 2005a:3; Hodson/Maher 2001:720; Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:286f.; Radaelli 2003b:17; Wallace, H. 2000a:33; Wessels 2003c:9 and 16. Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 64 ones, such as policy co-ordination (Scharpf 2000; Wallace, H. 2000a:32) in its ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ form11. This development was reinforced by a growing socio-economic interdependence of EU member states (cf. Héritier 2002c:185), that–linked to the economic malperformance of a large number of member states during the 1990ies–forced the economic and “social policy dimension of Europe ..[to] undergo[..] crucial structural changes, both in content and in method” (de la Porte/Pochet 2002a:11). Thus, in socio-economic policies „increasing levels of cross-border transactions and communications by societal actors .. increase[d] the perceived need for European-level rules, co-ordination, and regulation. In fact, the absence of European rules … [was] seen as an obstacle to the generation of wealth and the achievement of other collective gains” (Stone Sweet/Sandholtz 1998:19; cf. Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:185; Fligstein/Stone Sweet 2002:1208). The interrelatedness of problems and problem perception, therefore, enhanced the pressure to co-operate (Héritier 2002c:185). Member states decided to deal with socio-economic problems at European level, turning the supranational attention to policy co-ordination in areas such as macro-economic and fiscal policies, employment and social inclusion or pension (cf. Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:187 and 203; de la Porte/Pochet 2002a:11ff.; Héritier 2005a:4; Wessels 2003c:4; Wessels/Linsenmann 2002:56f.). All these areas constituted policy fields in which “previous attempts to develop stronger forms of co-ordination failed … owing to strong national political sensitivities [, given that] … transfer of competences from the national to the EU level was not viable and a strong form of co-operation … was too problematic [, as these areas]… represent the core of the welfare state” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:191; cf. Héritier 2002c:186; Schäfer 2005:27; Zandstra 2004:9). However, member states’ governments seemed well aware of the need for ‘supra’-national engagement, although “considering the national embeddeness of such policy areas and the diversity of welfare arrangements” (de la Porte/Pochet 2002a:11), they were extremely hesitant to entirely transfer national competences to the EU level. Anxiety for “maximizing their autonomy and control over resources” (Stone Sweet/Sandholtz 1998:12) fuelled the resistance to transfer competences, that resulted in the application of policy co-ordination through the OMC at supranational level to safeguard national prosperity and economic growth (cf. ibid.) and in order to “facilitate further Europeanization outside existing institutional forms” (Hodson/Maher 2001:722). As a consequence, the amendment of supranational policy instruments and steering modes took its starting point in the European socio-economic policy realm in order to strengthen national economies by jointly dealing with sensitive domestic economic areas of the member states (cf. Hodson/Maher 2001:721f.; Radaelli 2003b:7; Wessels/Linsenmann 2002:54) and with problems of competitiveness (Radaelli 2003b:7). In the light of national reservations to transfer sovereignty, these 11 For a categorisation of the socio-economic OMCs alongside this dichotomy cf. Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:289; Wessels/Linsemann 2002. For other modes of governance, e.g. voluntary accords, procedural norms or voluntary codes of conduct, cf. Héritier 2002c. Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 65 new policy instruments were foreseen to enhance participation patterns, strengthen deliberation among political actors, co-ordinate different government levels, permit decentralisation, diversity, flexibility, modification and experimentation (Radaelli 2004b:13; Trubek/Trubek 2005a:4). With the OMC as an autonomy-sustaining instrument, EU member states’ governments seemed to have found an adequate answer to the enormous pressures deriving from weak economic performance and high unemployment levels without fully transferring national sovereignty to the European level. Moreover, the OMC seemed to pave the way for the creation of an adequate problem-solving arena at supranational level, responding to the internationalisation and globalisation of socioeconomic demands (cf. De Búrca/Zeitlin 2003:1). Within the theoretical debate, some authors, due to the general legally nonbinding character of the OMC, concluded that “indeed its choice has been motivated by concerns over the drawbacks of a hard law approach, such as an erosion of national sovereignty in policy fields of electoral significance and an overly rigid approach to diverse national circumstances” (Meyer/Linsenmann/Wessels 2007:13). With this assessment, it does not seem implausible to also conclude that, with the OMC, member states were “trying to downgrade the traditional Community Method in favour of a more and more intergovernmental approach” (Pochet 2005:43), while, in parallel, they were trying to pioneer “a new and flexible instrument able to introduce more democratic parameters in decision-making, and to regain the lost popular confidence in the European integration project by including further political action complementing the Community method” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:187 quoting Scott/Trubek 2002). As a general feature, these early policy co-ordination processes focused on three most relevant elements: “common assessment of the economic situation; agreement on the appropriate economic policy responses; and acceptance of peer pressure and, where necessary, adjustments of the policies” (Hodson/Maher 2001:723). The ‘formal’ biography of policy co-ordination started with the incorporation of the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines (BEPG) as a new macro-economic policy co-ordination cycle into the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, even though the term ‘policy coordination’ was neither formally introduced into the treaty framework nor into the policy co-ordination practice (cf. de la Porte/Pochet 2002b:32ff.; Trubek/Trubek 2005b:83f.; Zeitlin 2005a:19ff.). The ‘pre-Lisbon’ extension of policy co-ordination–corroborating the basic assumption of historical institutionalism that previous decisions impact on the path of further institutional and policy development–continued with the creation of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) in 1997, which entered into force with the Amsterdam Treaty in 1999. The BEPG and the SGP were paralleled by the adoption of employment policy co-ordination through the OMC in 1997, which is perceived to be the role-model for subsequent policy coordination processes and, hence, for the OMC in general (cf. de la Porte/Pochet 2002b:27; Héritier 2005a:4; Tucker 2003:2). In 1999, the employment policy coordination process “was then given a legal base by incorporating a new title into the Treaty of Amsterdam providing for a more elaborate procedure and an institutional Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 66 infrastructure” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:107) within a single chapter on employment. However, a precise “definition of the OMC … [in] the Treaty, and … explicit reference to it in any articles of the Treaty” (de la Porte/Pochet 2002b:28) was still missing.12 With the initiation of the so-called Cardiff process13 in 1998, the OMC was extended to the field of structural reforms. Thereafter, the so-called Cologne process, based on the OMC, was initiated in 1999, bringing together the Luxembourg and the Cardiff processes (Hodson/Maher 2001:724). It was foreseen to re-organise the different co-ordination cycles by establishing a real macro-economic dialogue “between the ECB (responsible for monetary policy), EU finance ministers (ECOFIN responsible for fiscal and budgetary policies) and the social partners (responsible for wage policies)” (Heise 2004:6). By decision of the 2000 Lisbon European Council, the OMC finally became an official tool of the European socio-economic policy armoury. With the so-called ‘Lisbon Strategy’, the OMC was extended to “other policy areas, such as research/innovation, information society/eEurope, enterprise promotion, structural economic reform, and education and training” (Zeitlin 2005a:19f.). Meanwhile, policy co-ordination is applied in a multitude of different policy areas ranging from socio-economic policies to co-ordination in tourism. The overall amendment of the EU’s socio-economic policy instruments by soft policy co-ordination through the OMC took place in a situation, in which the “emergence of this new method (OMC) coincides with a real difficulty in defining a new agenda of legislative proposals” (de la Porte/Pochet 2002b:30). It provided the EMLG system with a policy instrument capable of coping with the increasing demand for socio-economic steering in areas, in which no supranational legislative competence was and, for the time being, is foreseen. So, “[s]ince 1997 the Open Method of Co-ordination (OMC) has been utilised as a ‘soft’ strategy to achieve greater integration in policy fields where otherwise no progress could have been made due to the principle of subsidiarity” (Magnusson 2005:18). The characteristics of the OMC vary “considerably in their modalities and procedures” (Zeitlin 2005a:20; cf. Borrás/Greve 2004:330; Régent 2002:1), leaving different ‘footprints’ (Laffan/Shaw 2005:6) according to policy area, treaty provisions and member states preferences concerned (cf. Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:126; Héritier 2005a:4; Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:288; Radaelli 2003b:7 and 31; Wessels 2002:3f.). So, instead of the institutionalisation of ‘the’ OMC the development of a multitude of different ‘OMCs’ could be witnessed ever since its inception. With the Convention on the Future of Europe, a controversial discussion on the constitutionalisation of the OMC by its integration into the treaty framework was 12 For a more detailed analysis of the development of the Luxembourg process and the EES cf. chapter 3.1. 13 The Cardiff process “coordinates structural reforms and liberalisations on goods, service and financial markets by which so called ‘meritoric’ public goods are successively being transformed into private goods” (Heise 2004:6). Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 67 initiated. All four working groups in charge of deliberation on the topic (Social Europe, Complementary Competences, Economic Governance and Simplification) opted for a constitutionalisation of the OMC, even though certain concerns were raised (cf. European Convention 2003:18 point 41, 2002a:5 point IV.3, 2002b:7 point 5, 2002c:7 point I.F). The Social Europe working group promoted the integration into the draft Constitutional Treaty under the condition that the method was not employed to substitute present regulatory approaches and ‘normative procedures’ or expanded to replace hard law in the field of social policies (cf. European Convention 2003:18 point 41; De Búrca/Zeitlin 2003:2). Concerns were articulated that the integration into the treaty could challenge the flexibility and internal logic of the method itself (cf. Laffan/Shaw 2005:18; Zeitlin 2005a:24). So, the Social Europe working group proposed a strict delineation of outreach and boundaries of the OMC, combined with a clear prescription of the tasks and competencies of political actors involved (European Convention 2003:19 points 42 and 43). These proposals, nevertheless, were viewed to limit and spoil the functioning of the OMC in practice, while at the same time, a full inclusion of the method in its current design was not perceived to be very feasible either. Moreover, “the lack of transparency and democratic control as well as the lack of legitimacy owing to the involvement of a large number of experts” (de la Porte/Nanz 2004:268) additionally fuelled doubts. A compromise–“some kind of ‘chapeau’ phrase in the generic provision anchoring the OMC in the Constitutional Treaty” (De Búrca/Zeitlin 2003:2f.) by outlining merely its general characteristic–was, however, not taken into closer consideration. Finally, the Convention presidium opted against a clear and explicit integration of the OMC into the Constitutional Treaty. It instead proposed a clause on the Union’s “general powers to co-ordinate the economic, employment, and social policies of the Member States” (de la Porte/Nanz 2004:268) within articles amending policy area specific arrangements related to the OMC within part III. The Lisbon Treaty did not deviate from these proposals. The provisions on economic, employment and social policy co-ordination are now listed in Art. 5 TFEU and located in-between the provisions on shared and supporting competences, with no major changes to be found in the division of competences between national and EU level. Characteristic Features: ‘Let’s Co-ordinate’ – Achieving Better Practice by Exchanging Best Practice The OMC is characterised by multilevel policy integration combined with deliberative elements and knowledge-sharing (cf. Jacobsson/Schmid 2003:115f.; Régent 2002:16). “By focussing on process flexibility rather than on macro-institutional flexibility, the … OMC .. is a practically oriented policy instrument that provides very concrete mechanisms” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:186) of ideal-type policy coordination. These mechanisms comprise broad participation, a “limited .. role of law” (Radaelli 2003b:25f.), a “new approach to problem-solving” (ibid.), “diversity Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 68 and subsidiarity” (ibid.) and “policy learning” (ibid.) and the fragmentation of political authority. It can be classified as ‘soft governance’ (cf. Peters 2002:31; Peters/Pagotto 2006; Radaelli 2003b:7) that, “like a radar searching for solutions and new usable knowledge” (Radaelli 2003b:8; cf. 2004b:7), increases the level of mutual awareness and the degree of reciprocal information on member states’ policy practices and solutions (cf. Peters 2002:16), while focusing on policy learning rather than on harmonisation or regulation (cf. de la Porte/Nanz 2004:268; Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:121ff.; Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:286 and 290; Schäfer 2005:210). It is ‘open’ because of the “open-ended character of the [commonly established] policy aims” (Smismans 2004:4) that allow for implementation-flexibility at national level. Additionally, it is operated by “policy making through the involvement of a multiplicity of actors and through horizontal interaction rather than through vertical hierarchy” (ibid.). Finally, as an alternative to traditional regulatory policies, most of the OMCs involve “less EU legislation per se or less stringent or detailed legislation, and depend more on coordination between national officials and ministries” (Peterson 2003:19). Regardless of certain similarities, the OMC is, however, not equivalent to Community ‘soft law’14 (cf. Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:125; Héritier 2005a:4; Peters/Pagotto 2006; Senden 2004:107ff.; Trubek/Trubek 2005a:7; cf. table 3) given that the former requires “more mutual commitments and peer pressure mechanisms than the ad-hoc and weak procedures of previous soft law mechanisms” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:189; cf. Snyder 1994; Trubek/Trubek 2005b). Soft law already exited as an antipode to hard law–the traditional Community Method including binding decisions and sanctions in case of non-compliance–long before the emergence of the OMC and was applied as a “means to alleviate (or overcome) lack of formal law-making capacity” (Peters/Pagotto 2006). Table 2: Differences between OMC and European Soft Law The open method of co-ordination The traditional soft law Intergovernmental approach: the Council and the Commission have a dominant role Supranational approach: the Commission and the Court of Justice have a dominant role Political monitoring at the highest level Administrative monitoring Clear procedures and iterative process Weak and ad-hoc procedures Systematic linking across policy areas No explicit linking of policy areas Interlinking EU and national public action No explicit linking of EU/national levels Seeks the participation of social actors Does not explicitly seek participation Aims at enhancing learning processes No explicit goal of enhancing learning is stated Source: Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:188. 14 Instruments such as Green Papers, White Papers, action programmes, communications, interinstitutional agreements; cf. Peters/Pagotto 2006. Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 69 Even if a certain proximity to soft law is not disputed, traces of hard law elements can be found within the different variants of policy co-ordination. If the internal divide of policy co-ordination into ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ modes of governance is taken into consideration, the only form of ‘hard’ policy co-ordination, the SGP, can be assessed to be closer to traditional hard law than policy co-ordination in its ‘soft’ variant. ‘Hard’ policy co-ordination within the SGP is special, because it is the only variant including the option of sanctions in case of non-compliance (i.e. the ‘excessive deficit procedure’). ‘Soft’ policy co-ordination through the OMC does not dispose over the option of sanctions. It operates through ‘soft’ steering by (multi-)annual monitoring cycles, exchange of best practices, peer pressure and review (‘naming, blaming and shaming’) and public deliberation (cf. Pochet 2002:33, 2005:41; Laffan/Shaw 2005:6) in order to connect “policy areas in a double horizontal way, by linking national policies with each other, and by linking functionally different policies at EU level” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:189). By these means, the “pooling of information is supposed to facilitate the comparison of different experiments, monitor policy effectiveness, and coordinate local re-evaluation” (Tucker 2003:35), leading to confrontation of national policy solutions with different perspectives and policy options (cf. Schäfer 2005:210) in order to mutually learn from each other. Despite the prevalence of these soft procedural and structural elements, some authors attribute a hard law effect even to the OMC given that “it treats the clarification of guidelines through preparation of specific recommendations as somewhat similar to a judicial interpretation of general statutory language and the informal sanction of ‘shaming’ as more or less equivalent to formal sanctions” (Trubek/ Trubek 2005b:91). Yet, in contrast to traditional EU soft law, policy co-ordination in its soft variant is characterised by the legally non-binding character of decisions (cf. Pochet 2005:41) taken by institutionalised EMLG interactions of public and private actors in issue specific policy networks (cf. Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:189). So, common legally binding standards are substituted by commonly agreed aims comprising regular monitoring and reporting on goal achievement progress, which itself should be inspired by the exchange of best practices among actors involved (Börzel 2005:635). With a view to its degree of institutionalisation in different policy areas, the OMC “is a kind of cook-book that contains various recipes, lighter and heavier ones’ (Vandenbroucke, 2001[:4])” (de la Porte/Pochet 2002a:17). Regardless of their general low degree of constitutionalisation and institutionalisation (Laffan/Shaw 2005:4), these various recipes can be located on the strong-weak continuum according to the evaluation of the following criteria: (1) “determinacy of the common guidelines”, (2) “possibility of sanctions”, (3) “clarity regarding the roles of different actors” (Borrás/Greve 2004:330) and the degree of application of the ‘ideal type’ OMC elements common objectives, indicators, targets, action plans and peer review (Laffan/Shaw 2005:15). Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 70 Table 3: Degree of Institutionalisation of Policy Co-ordination/OMC Processes Relative level of institutionalisation Policy area Years since inception Macro-Economic Policy 16 Employment 11 VERY STRONG Fiscal Surveillance 9 Training/Education 8 Enterprise 8 Information society 8 Research and Development 8 STRONG Social inclusion 8 Sustainable Development 7 Healthcare 7 Pensions 7 Better regulation 8 NASCENT Taxation 9 Tourism 6 Immigration 9 WEAK Youth 6 Source: Laffan/Shaw 2005:16; ‘years since inception’ adapted to 2008. Generally, the OMC aims at steering behaviour and functions by means of persuasion, diffusion of knowledge, experimental policy learning, peer pressure, joint evaluation of practices, exchange of information, internalisation of external constraints, mutual socialisation, epistemic convergence and public accountability (cf. Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:189 and 195; Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:123; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:31; Zeitlin 2002 and 2005). In order to reach commonly defined policy aims “lower-level actors … are granted autonomy to experiment with solutions of their own devising within broadly defined areas of public policy” (Smismans 2004:5). The OMC, hence, includes elements of flexibility, subsidiarity, multilevel policy evaluation, inclusion, and broad participation. It aims to interweave these elements with direct deliberation, best practices, target setting, indicators, benchmarks and common guidelines, the development of a European policy discourse, knowledge-sharing and multilateral examination.15 By this combination, 15 Cf. Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:188ff.; de la Porte/Pochet 2002a:13 and 2002b:27f.; Héritier 2005a:4; Jacobsson/Vifell 2002:7; Radaelli 2003b:15; Schäfer 2004:11; Smismans 2004:5; Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 71 the “OMC recognizes the interrelation between different spheres, promoting interaction between different levels of power and spheres of action, but it does not define the level of power that is most appropriate and does not as such privilege lower decision-making levels” (Smismans 2004:5). Table 4: Potential Impact of the OMC on (Institutional and) Policy Change Direction Of Change Primary Mechanism of Policy Change Networks Shaming Discursive Diffusion Policy Networks Deliberation Top Down Bottom Up Experimentation Source: Trubek/Trubek 2005b:94. As defined by the 2000 Lisbon European Council, the OMC disposes over distinct procedural mechanisms for policy co-ordination, comprising the following elements: • “implementation of the strategic goal … facilitated by applying a new mode of governance as the means of spreading best practice and achieving greater convergence towards the main EU goals…, • fixing guidelines for the Union combined with specific timetables for achieving the goals that they [, the member states,] set in the short, medium and long terms; • establishing, where appropriate, quantitative and qualitative indicators and benchmarks against the best in the world and tailored to the needs of the different Member States and sectors as a means of comparing best practice; • translating these European guidelines into national and regional policies by setting specific targets and adopting measures, taking into account national and regional differences; Syrpis 2002:11f.; Trubek/Mosher 2001:1; Trubek/Trubek 2005a:10; Tucker 2003:6f.; Wessels 2003c:7. Participatory Networks Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 72 • periodic monitoring, evaluation and peer review, organised as mutual learning processes” (European Council 2000a:12f.; point 37). As outlined by the European Commission, the OMC provides for a flexible, decentralised instrument of policy co-ordination, leaving the implementation of measures defined by the EU broadly to the member states (cf. European Commission 2002a). Joint action is taken on the basis of voluntary co-operation among the member states. Such soft policy co-ordination is prepared and monitored in intergovernmental policy networks in which interaction takes place outside the ‘shadow of hierarchy’ of the supranational level (cf. Börzel 2005:630; cf. Héritier 2005a:3; Knill/Lenschow 2003:6; Wessels 2003c:24), that is, beyond “the existence of alternative and stronger instruments of policy action” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:195) as well as beyond the “shadow of institutionalisation” (Laffan/Shaw 2005:18). These specific procedural mechanisms of the OMC create a special policy coordination process that applies the instruments of the Lisbon Strategy16. It is characterised by the following steps: after the Council decided by qualified majority on the Commission proposal for specific guidelines or objectives member states transpose these guidelines/objectives into (multi-)annual national action plans or national strategy programmes, which are evaluated by the Commission, the Council and respective committees. This evaluation exercise forms the basis for country-specific recommendations agreed upon in the Council on the proposal of the Commission.17 Depending on the policy area, the “OMC involves agreement upon overarching guidelines, the selection of appropriate indicators and bench-marks to reflect the policy lines of guidelines, the transposition of the guidelines to national and regional level policies, and multi-lateral evaluation and peer review” (de la Porte/Pochet 2002a:13). With these specific features, soft policy-co-ordination through the OMC is also defined “as an iterative, cyclical process by which member states submit themselves to follow a common set of policy objectives, time-tables, review, reporting and monitoring processes in order to realise common gains and/or to safeguard the provision of collective goods” (Meyer/Linsenmann/Wessels 2007:13) in policy fields, in which supranational treaty provisions do not foresee a broad leeway for community action (de la Porte/Nanz 2004:267). These specific procedural mechanisms of the OMC involve different levels of the EMLG system: (1) “co-operation of many ministries at national level”, (2) “input from social partners and civil society actors” and (3) “a number of new committees … for monitoring of the co-ordination processes .. where representatives of the member states and the Commission interact and exchange ideas and experiences as 16 Guidelines, peer review, indicators, benchmarks, best practices, targets, community action programmes, national action plans, national strategies, scoreboards, common objectives, Commission and Council recommendations (cf. Laffan/Shaw 2005:15). 17 Cf. Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:123; Héritier 2002c:189f; Radaelli 2003b:34; Régent 2002:16f.; Trubek 2002:2; Tucker 2003:6f.; Wessels 2002:3f. and 2003c:5; for the concrete patterns of the employment policy co-ordination process cf. chapter 3.2. Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 73 well as exert peer pressure on one another” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:196f.). They are foreseen to foster persuasion and learning processes, impacting on actors preferencebuilding through the development of common problem perceptions and solutions, resulting in the establishment of new European routines, practices and principles as well as exerting adaptation pressure on old ones (cf. Börzel 2005:619; De Búrca/Zeitlin 2003:2; Héritier 2005a:5). By this means political actors and policies shall become increasingly Europeanised (Wessels 2003c:7f.). This development can be the result of purposeful decisions of independent political actors aiming at a certain political development or it can occur as a side-effect of social (inter)action, which causes institutional adaptation without purposefully aiming at it (cf. Knodt 2005:47). The ideal-type OMC (cf. table 5) is, moreover, characterised by the idea of concrete programmatic requirements, which are transformed into European guidelines, proposals and recommendations for the development of national policies, without preconditioning means and instruments (cf. de la Porte/Pochet 2002b:27; Zeitlin 2005a:21). By these instruments, including medium and long-term targets for policy formulation and adaptation at national level, EU member states are required to reflect on common problems and single national policy solutions as well as present and discuss them among each other within the European arena (cf. Scharpf 2001), fostering the encouragement to open up “the ‘box of short-term thinking’ often exacerbated by electoral incentives” (Tucker 2003:13). Another main aspect of the OMC is the obligatory consultation of social partners. Through this element, also non-state actors are included into the political process (Huget 2002.:12ff.) at all stages of the process and at all political level of the EMLG system. Table 5: Ideal Type of Policy Co-ordination through OMC • Treaty basis • EU Council launch • Community budgetary leverage • ECJ oversight • DG Council formation • Established Common Objectives • Indicators (qaul + quan) • Targets • Benchmarking • Best practice • Guidelines • Community Action Plan • National Action Plan or National Strategy • Peer review process • Scoreboards • Council recommendation • Commission recommendation Source: Laffan/Shaw 2006; bold by the two authors: most important features. With these characteristic features, the “OMC represents a new form of regulation that is softer than the classical legalistic approach, but is more than a simple nonbinding recommendation or a political declaration” (de la Porte/Pochet 2002a:12). Thus, the “operational function of OMC can be characterised as a ‘post-regulatory’ approach to governance, in which there is a preference for procedures or general Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 74 standards with wide margins for variation, rather than detailed and non-flexible (legally binding) rules” (de la Porte/Pochet 2002b:47; cf. Héritier 2005a:5). Restrictions and Benefits: ‘Much Talk about Nothing’ or ‘Change through Exchange’? One of the many frequently asked questions in view of the evaluation of the ‘real’ benefit of the OMC is, whether the method is “just a charade in which the Member States pretend to make changes and the Commission pretends the EU has had an impact” (Trubek/Trubek 2005b:90). This fundamental question illustrates the immense degree of “uncertainty as to what extent the open method might provide effective solutions to thorny co-ordination problems without further transfer of powers to Brussels” (Borrás/Greve 2004:329). Within this scientific debate, the evaluation of the OMC is generally twofold and presents “a bewildering array of contradictory assessments” (Zeitlin 2005a:22). While, on the one hand, the “new provisions have been rated by some as ‘largely symbolic actions’ (Leibfried and Pierson 2000:273) … others see the new approach as the beginning of a re-structuring of the state (Deppe, Felder, and Tidow 2003)” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:108; cf. Zeitlin 2005a:24). Some argue, the OMC can only be successful “if national and regional specificities are carefully taken into account, if actors of each territorial level are considered during the entire policy process, and if the method takes place on a voluntary basis” (Kaiser/Prange 2003:1f.). Others acknowledge the OMC “as an artful solution to the conundrum of how to respect the principle of subsidiarity, leaving the Member States in control of the policy … [and] a tangential solution in which competence is split between policy objectives and the implementation dimension” (Begg 2004:5) as well as an instrument with political potential for delivering ‘better governance’ (cf. Radaelli 2003b:8) and Europeanisation (cf. Börzel/Risse 2003:59). This especially because of its softness acknowledging the relevance of national differences and allowing for policy change to take place and/or national variations to persist (cf. De Búrca/Zeitlin 2003:2; Hodson/Maher 2001:731; Kaiser/Prange 2003:2; Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:286; Radaelli 2003b:9 and 36; Trubek 2002:2; Wessels 2003c:8; Zeitlin 2005b:448). This perspective, thus, “emphasises policy change by states but recognises that there may be collective action problems blocking progress … [allowing for] both co-ordinated and individual responses” (Hodson/Maher 2001:740) as it “encourages cooperation and imitation, but .. also promotes diversity and competition” (Radaelli 2003b:8). In particular, elements of policy learning and deliberation– which “reduce the information costs for political actors and accelerate flow of knowledge” (Tucker 2003:34)–are perceived to lead to the evolution of common problem perceptions and to support the search for joint solutions. Both these aspects are assessed to be valuable tools to change institutions, perception, practices, and beliefs, if “a sufficient degree of commitment is met” (de la Porte/Pochet 2002a:16 and cf. 15; cf. Bulmer/Radaelli 2004:15; Hodson 2004:235; Knodt 2005:20; Laf- Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 75 fan/Shaw 2005:9; Trubek/Trubek 2005b:84 and 91; Zeitlin 2005a:22). Therefore, collective learning and exchange of best practices are viewed as important as the negotiation of compromises (cf. Knodt 2005:37). Contrary to this positive assessment, some authors discover some sort of “endemic tension” (Radaelli 2004b:3) within the policy learning approach of the OMC, that “seeks to mute politics and to encourage high-level political coordination, to facilitate bottom-up learning and to steer learning processes from above, to encourage cooperative learning and to spawn dynamics of competitive learning” (ibid.). Moreover, the iterative process of exchange of practice, monitoring and reporting is perceived as a risk to turn the OMC into “a low commitment process” (Laffan/Shaw 2005:5), becoming “a device for producing detailed national reports, more for the benefit of promoting national policies than to comply with EU strategic goals” (Borrás/Greve 2004:333). In view of this critique, the OMC is also perceived not to “live up to the high expectations in terms of improving policy-making efficiency and implementation effectiveness” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:108), especially because it is viewed to “never ‘deliver the goods’ the way ‘hard law’ can” (Trubek/Trubek 2005b:90). Moreover, regarding its self-set aims of mutually socialising, public accountability and fostering inclusion and participation, the OMC, in most of the areas applied, is often assessed to have developed more into a means of policy-related deliberation and exchange (cf. de la Porte/Pochet 2002c:301; Héritier 2002c:186) without the power of forcing compliance with or convergence to commonly set targets. So, the OMC is assessed to be “permanently on the fringes of failure” (Borrás/Greve 2004:334), because it depends heavily on member states’ voluntary commitment to comply, without which “the OMC would be an ephemeral fashion, nothing more than cheap talk” (ibid.). Some authors, yet, state that the “OMC is not a poor substitute … for hard law, but a radically different way forward for Europeanisation. Those who criticise the OMC for its lack of sanctions .. not understand its mechanisms. The method is based on changes in the cognitive frameworks used by policy-makers to understand and assess reality” (Bulmer/Radaelli 2004:12f.). Thus and regardless of the missing opportunity to impose sanctions, proponents of the instrument regard the dimensions of spreading of information, enhancing procedural transparency, monitoring and evaluating national policies as useful means to put political actors under pressure to comply, given that non-compliance has to be justified before EU institutions, other EU member states, national policy-making actors, stakeholders and the public (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:16f.; Trubek 2002:3; Zeitlin 2005a:22). Moreover, the implicit aspect of enhancing the understanding for national policy constraints is viewed to increase the common perception of collective problem-solving options within the EU (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:17; Trubek/Trubek 2005a:6) as well as to “homogenise .. [member states’] inherited policy regimes and institutional arrangements” (Zeitlin 2005a:22). With these elements “the OMC ushers in the growing transnationalization of EU politics and polity-building in its attempts to deal with an increased intra-EU diversity” (Borrás/Greve 2004:334). Yet, at the Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 76 same time, especially because of this impact through backdoor, “the OMC has been criticised as a Trojan horse allowing the EU to encroach illegitimately into policy domains reserved by the Treaties entirely or primarily to the Member States” (Zeitlin 2005a:23; cf. Busby 2005:34). Regardless of this criticism, the OMC is also considered a “notoriously flexible governance tool” (Tucker 2003:8), “designed to foster co-operative practices and networking … [and] learning” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:189), that is applicable to different policy areas, in which supranational co-operation is difficult or so far not foreseen in the treaties. It is viewed to offer “interesting novelties in the ways of understanding and carrying out EU policy and politics” (Borrás/Greve 2004:329). This appraisal roots in the understanding that the deliberative approach of the OMC with its tendency towards “negotiated compliance” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:108) is very much in line with the real functioning of the supranational EMLG system further improving and enhancing especially the present comitology system by integrating civil society actors (cf. Laffan/Shaw 2005:9) in socioeconomic policy arenas. As to its specific nature, the OMC is assessed to represent a new sort of regulatory approach and is categorised as a new policy instrument of decision-making and intergovernmental co-operation incorporating supranational elements (Jacobsson/ Vifell 2002:5). Nevertheless, given that many suggestions developed under this new mode of policy co-ordination “are rather broad in nature or set only very long term guidelines or targets, the efficiency of the OMC is [assessed] difficult to test or certify“ (Heise 2004:6). Generally, the OMC is judged to have a ‘double effect’ (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler- Koch 2003:34). Firstly, it adds to the relevance of informal procedures with OMCpolicy co-ordination networks (OMC-PCN), reducing transparency and the allocation of responsibilities in European policy-making. Secondly, it supports transnationalisation effects within the EU system, including a loss of national interest aggregation opportunities (ibid.). This double effect coined the OMC as “a ‘third way between intergovernmentalism and supranationalism’ [,] an interplay between different levels of governance” (Jacobsson/Vifell 2002:5f.; cf. De Búrca/Zeitlin 2003:2; Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:123; Héritier 2002c:203; Laffan/Shaw 2005:8; Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:285; Wessels 2003c:3) and “between regulatory competition and harmonisation … [opening] a sustainable path between a fragmented Europe and a European super state” (Zeitlin 2005a:22). In this way, it is perceived to be particularly applicable in constellations, in which supranational action would not be achieved otherwise and lack of action would be too costly for EU member states (cf. Héritier 2005a:5). Within the academic debate, another “important aspect of OMC is that, by issuing guidelines, it de facto develops relative clearly defined aims in areas, which have traditionally been out of the EU remit” (Bertozzi/Bonoli 2002:5). Thus, even if the OMC has no binding forces and no option of sanctions, it is perceived to contribute to the development of common views and ideas when it comes to problem-solving in the EU (cf. Laffan/Shaw 2005:6). Peer review and pressure as well as best Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 77 practice are seen as important means to support the evolution of those common approaches (cf. Trubek/Trubek 2005b:91ff.). As a consequence, some authors state, that the “OMC, with its emphasis on target-setting and peer review, provided a way forward in promoting policy convergence for governments unwilling to delegate authority over core economic and social decisions to the Commission, the European Parliament.., and the European Court of Justice” (Wallace, W. 2005:487; cf. Pochet 2005:42). By “promoting mutual learning …, among governments which face comparable problems in maintaining national welfare systems” (Wallace, W. 2005:485), the OMC, hence, provides for a tool for policy and institutional change and adaptation. Nevertheless, such change inspired by mutual learning is viewed to be endangered by the fact that “just as the goals of governing may emerge rather than being imposed from a central ‘mind of government’, so too are the means of achieving those ends also likely to be emergent rather than planned” (Peters 2002:9). So, whether the OMC, with its “ability to test uncertain political waters” (Laffan/Shaw 2005:6), will become “a pathfinder for new areas on Communitarisation” (ibid.:9), marking a starting point for future supranationalisation in policy areas in which it is applied, is disputed within the scientific community for the time being. “On the one hand, the OMC is felt to pervert classical mechanisms (the Community method) … [, o]n the other hand, the OMC can be seen as an indispensable stage making it possible to move subsequently to usual instruments (Directives)” (Pochet 2002:35). In the history of European integration, deliberative instruments often served the Commission as a means to erode the options and preconditions for future communitarisation ‘through backdoor’18. Some authors, thus, characterise the OMC as a first sign of sea-change of EU decision-making procedures, as it amends or even substitutes, but also complicates common regulatory approaches by deliberative methods and negotiated implementation (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2003:33; Laffan/Shaw 2005:8f.). “By modifying this context over time, the open method could perhaps serve to reconfigure the boundaries of competence between the Member States and the Union” (Hodson/Maher 2001:722f.) impacting back on the overall polity dimension of the EMLG system. This effect is, in parallel, “accused of eroding the basis of the Community system” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:108), being a softer version of flexibilisation than enhanced co-operation (Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:287) and “a potential threat to the ‘Community Method’” (Zeitlin 2005a:23; cf. Trubek 2002:3; Trubek/Trubek 2005b:84). These developments are, hence, not only viewed positively as new means for more flexible policy-making, giving “ample room for interpretation and compliance (even if asymmetrical) and therefore mak[ing] political action more practicable” (Borrás/Greve 2004:333; cf. Bomberg/Peterson 2000:9; Hodson/Maher 2001:727). 18 Cf. De Búrca/Zeitlin 2003:2; Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:124 and 135; Héritier 2002c:186 and 193; Hodson/Maher 2001:721 and 740; Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:294; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler- Koch 2004a:108; Wallace, H. 2000a:33; Wessels 2002:5. Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 78 Opponents especially state that new modes of governance water down European supranationalism by turning it into a variant of ‘deliberative supranationalism’ (cf. Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:108; Schmalz-Bruns 1999), which assigns implementation measures and the choice of instruments to achieve commonly agreed aims to the member states (cf. Tucker 2003:6). This feature is viewed to undermine the European Communities’ systemic logic of supranational competences, increasingly displacing “the use of ‘hard law’ instruments even in domains where the EU already possesses legislative power” (Zeitlin 2005a:23; cf. Borrás/Greve 2004:331; De Búrca/Zeitlin 2003:2; Trubek/Mosher 2001:1; Trubek/Trubek 2005b:84). Given these benefits and pitfalls to the influence of the OMC on national adaptation and convergence to commonly agreed aims and targets (cf. Borrás/Greve 2004:332; Zeitlin 2005b:448), it has to be further analysed what potential impact the method is indeed able to exert and how this impact is to be measured (cf. chapter 3.4); especially because one of “the most widespread criticisms of the OMC …[is] its alleged lack of substantive impact on the Member States” (Zeitlin 2005a:24). “However, even if the success of the OMC … is still unclear, its attempts to institutionalize new discourses, to generate new expectations, and to create new forums for actors interaction .. are expressions of a truly new understanding of governance in the EU” (Borrás/Greve 2004:335), helping to avoid “ill-fitting Europeanisation of national policies” (Hodson/Maher 2001:741), even though it is likely to support “uneven Europeanization …, that is to say, the evolution of a system of deterritorialized regulation and territorially segmented accountability and mediation of public interests” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:109) by supporting policy learning in a sociological institutionalist understanding (cf. chapter Thus, exploring “the impact of the EU on national policies is a challenging task for the traditional Community method … and it is even more difficult for the OMC, which by definition influences national policies indirectly” (Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:126). As a consequence, given this controversial appraisal of the OMC and in the light of the theoretical train of thought of this study so far, it seems as valuable as necessary to amend the theoretico-empirical frame of reference in order to explain and evaluate policy and institutional change as well as to reveal and measure the impact of the EES and the ‘proto-type’ OMC applied with it on EU member states. This key amendment is to be found in the Europeanisation approach that is able to detect structural-procedural, policy, and cognitive/normative change at national level within EU member states. This even more so, as the ”emergence of OMC raises issues concerning the inter-relationship among efforts at recalibration, the emergence of new modes of governance, and the partial ‘Europeanisation’ of social policy” (Trubek 2002:1). Theoretico-Empirical Frame of Reference 79 2.1.2 The Concept of Europeanisation: Why ‘Brussels’ Matters, Why ‘Back Home’ Matters and Why It Is a Matter of Perspective “Europeanisation is not a new theory. It is an approach that enables us to orchestrate existing concepts and to contribute to cumulative research in political science (by drawing systematically on concepts and models produced by comparative politics and policy analysis). It is a process, rather than end-state. It is an explanandum, rather than an explanans” (Radaelli 2004a:5; cf. Auel 2005:313; Eising 2003:412; Olsen 2002:944). Given that European integration studies have, for a long time, dedicated lots of “intellectual energy in seeking to understand the ‘nature of the beast’, that is, the nature of European integration, political scientists have .. realised that a EU political system is in place, produces decisions, and impacts on domestic policies in various guises” (Bulmer/Radaelli 2004:3; cf. Radaelli 2004a:2). This turn pays tribute to the fact that the increasing differentiation of the European polity towards a system of EMLG is caused by the growing transfer of competences and resources from the (sub-)national levels to the EU level that itself is accompanied by and impacts on changing modes of governance that, in most different ways, strengthen decisionmaking powers of the EU (cf. chapter Simultaneously, this development led to an increasing influence of European provisions and structures in domestic political arenas of EU member states. With the expansion of political interactions across national borders, that is, with the constant increase of supranational co-operation between EU member states, the impact of the Union on its member states’ polity, politics, and policies became a flourishing field of European integration studies. Therefore, the ever-closer integration of EU member states within an EMLG system, with a tendency towards fusion of national instruments (Wessels 1992, 2000), became increasingly important to the analysis and explanation of political processes within the EU. Within this strand of analysis, the EMLG approach conceptualises “the EU as an independent, autonomous source of influence on Member State politics, either directly via the actions of European-level actors, or indirectly through institutions and policies that alter the distribution of resources and capabilities” (Anderson 2002:799). Consequently and parallel to the EMLG-focused analysis of changes in governance, Europeanisation became a prominent analytical concept, explanative element and “a growth industry covering a broad research agenda” (Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:109; cf. Mörth 2003:159; Olsen 2002:921). Based on this general perception, the present sub-chapter introduces the Europeanisation concept as the analytical backbone of the empirical analysis of the impact of the EES on domestic employment policy co-ordination structures and policies in the UK and Germany. As such, it not only provides for an overview on different academic conceptualisations. It also compiles relevant elements for designing the analytical matrix for this book’s empirical study (cf. table 7) and collects insight into relevant intervening factors and variables. By doing so, the sub-chapter lays the ground for conceptualising and measuring the Europeanisation impact of the EES.

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Mit ihren spezifischen Merkmalen als neues Politikinstrument – wie etwa ihrem rechtlich nicht bindenden Charakter, dem Ziel des gegenseitigen Politiklernens durch Austausch bester Praktiken oder gemeinsamen Evaluierungsprozessen – stellt die Europäische Beschäftigungsstrategie (EBS) und die mit ihr Anwendung findende Offene Methode der Koordinierung (OMK) beschäftigungspolitische Akteure in der EU vor die neuen Herausforderungen von Politik-Koordinierung, die die Politikgestaltung im europäischen Mehrebenensystem neu prägen.

Das vorliegende Buch beschäftigt sich intensiv mit diesen unterschiedlichen Facetten der EBS und ihrer Wirkung. Es geht dabei über bisherige Einzelstudien zur EBS hinaus und befasst sich nicht nur mit deren Entstehung, Entwicklung und Merkmalen. Es kontrastiert vielmehr den eigenen Anspruch der EBS mit ihrer politischen Realität und untersucht theoretisch hoch reflektiert deren Einfluss auf Politik-Koordinierungsstrukturen, Beschäftigungspolitiken und zugrunde liegenden Ideen sowie deren Zusammenspiel mit anderen wirtschaftspolitischen Bereichen. Neben der EU-Ebene dienen Großbritannien und Deutschland als Fallbeispiele für mitgliedstaatliche Anpassungsprozesse. Das Buch verankert seine Wirkungsanalyse sehr fundiert in der wissenschaftstheoretischen Debatte um Europäisierung und Politikkonvergenz, um deren Anwendbarkeit im Falle der EBS kritisch zu analysieren. Es komplettiert damit Europäisierungsstudien zu regulativer Politik durch die Analyse des Einflusses weicher Politik-Koordinierung im europäischen Mehrebenensystem.