What are the causal factors underlying the formation of French preferences during the Eurozone crisis solving process (2008-2017)? Going beyond the clear distinction between national preference formation and interstate bargaining of liberal intergovernmentalism, Clement Fontan and Sabine Saurugger show that in France confidential and restricted administrative networks played a central role in reducing the uncertainty stemming from the fragile financial positions of the hypertrophied domestic banking system.
Evidence-based policy-making can be problematic in practice, especially if the evidence is uncertain. Based on a case study concerning the formation of a national-level policy position in Ireland in response to an EU initiative, Niamh Hardiman and Saliha Metinsoy suggest that policy makers’ decisions may well be guided by beliefs that go beyond the direct evidence available.
Given the importance of the financial services industry to the UK, why has it not been more successful in shaping the Brexit negotiations? This weakness is rooted in the contingency of the City of London’s position within the British state, and the system of pluralist representation.
Has Europe re-entered an identity politics era? The British referendum regarding EU membership and the Brexit negotiations spurred on by this referendum seem a living proof that identity politics has come to dominate European politics. After decades of gradual European integration in which member states’ national identities seemed to have been put aside, Europe is making difficult steps towards disintegration.
Consensus prevails that the EMU requires reforms. Instead of stretching, watering down, mutating or even circumventing the existing Treaty limits when pursuing further reforms Elisabeth Lentsch and Stefan Griller recommend to not only adjust the underlying constitutional EMU framework substantively, but address also the rigidity of the EU Treaties as such by de-constitutionalising EMU law.
While the economic woes of the crisis were certainly unevenly distributed, the legislative bargaining on EMU reforms left no states as unequivocal winners or losers. Contrary to general perceptions Germany did not dominate the decision-making.
France and Germany control the EU agenda and broker viable compromises. Yet, they do not dictate outcomes.
One dimensional conflict structure with two opposing coalitions - North and South - makes agreements on EMU reforms difficult. Yet, it also puts France and Germany in a position to formulate compromises.
Italy - somewhat surprisingly - supported EMU reforms imposing fiscal discipline. It was not motivated by a traditional policy of self-imposing external constraints - vincolo esterno, but rather by an effort to avoid a formal bailout at all costs.