SOLID: Policy Crisis and Crisis Politics
The SOLID project aims to provide an original general theory of political crisis through the study of the several crises that have hit the EU in the last decade. In doing so, it aims to understand how the severe crisis situation can go together with resilience from the EU. Covering developments since 2009, SOLID aims at assessing the overall soundness of the EU’s foundations in the wake of the political crisis.
Coping with COVID-19: A Comparative Political Economy Analysis of European Policy Responses
Arianna Tassinari and Sebastian Diessner
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered unprecedented economic decline in advanced economies, often exacerbating challenges inherited from previous crises. However, the policy responses to these common pressures in the initial ‘fast burning’ phase of the COVID-19-induced recession vary significantly across countries. This project uses a comparative political economy approach to make sense of this variation within the EU and to derive relevant policy implications. It aims to generate insights about the preconditions for effective policy responses to sudden shocks.
First, we map systematically the responses enacted during the first wave of the pandemic (February–-September 2020) in the fields of macro-economic (monetary and fiscal) a¬nd micro-economic (labour market and business support) policy across selected EU countries. Second, we conduct a cross-country comparative analysis of policy responses. We deploy configurational comparative methods to identify the determinants of policy variation, considering the interplay between institutional, economic, ideological and political factors.
Democracy in lockdown: What role for the European Parliament in the COVID-19 crisis?
Ariadna Ripoll Servent
The COVID-19 crisis poses a particular problem for parliamentary democracy: how to uphold the main democratic principles if parliamentarians cannot meet? Internally, assemblies need to adapt to a sudden process of digitalisation and remote participation; externally, the crisis disrupts legislative processes and the capacity to shape policy. This is all the more noticeable on the European Union (EU) level, where crises often lead to a competition for leadership between executive and legislative powers.
In view of the challenges that COVID-19 poses to European democracy, the project asks: How has the COVID-19 crisis affected the principles of representation, deliberation and accountability in European Union policy-making? The project will initiate a debate about how the European Parliament can tailor EU priorities, to what extent it can help regain a focus on European rather than national crisis-solving mechanisms and how to use the new digital environment to maximise its voice(s).
Driving Us Further Apart? The Impact of Social Media on Political Attitudes toward Covid-19 Policies
Klarita Gerxhani and Jakob Boggild Johannsen
As European governments cautiously proclaim to have the Covid-19 pandemic under control, the political debate on whether the response was appropriate has gained pace. Some think the response excessively hurt the economy and infringed on people’s personal freedom, while others maintain that the response was appropriate and highlighted the benefits of an interventionist state. Will Covid-19 give rise to a new political consensus, or will it instead amplify existing political divides?
Recognising that an increasing number of Europeans use social media to get news about politics, this project will run a cross-country online experiment to examine how exposure to social media news about Covid-19 policies affects support for these policies and related political divides. Social media platforms are increasingly facing scrutiny to ensure that they do not increase political divisions. Our project will contribute to the pressing need for more knowledge on the effects of social-media-news use on political attitudes.
Covid-19: How Europe as Union Fares
Brigid Laffan, Tobias Widmann and Anja Thomas
The aim of this comparative study is analyse how ‘Europe’ and the ‘EU’ featured in the extraordinary voluminous narrative about Covid-19 in a selected number of seven Member States and at the EU level. It has the merit of arriving from nowhere and becoming the dominant issue facing the EU and its member states in a very short time frame.
The research question is threefold: How was Europe and the EU framed during the crisis in the national context? How did the EU collectively sought to frame its own role during the crisis? How did domestic actors sought to influence public opinion in other member states during the crisis? The text analysis will cover the acute phase of the pandemics (Februarly-July 2020) and will consist in a mix of automated text analysis tools (Structural Topic Models) and manual coding, which will result – in addition to the comparative output – to one report per country. The team is led by Brigid Laffan.
Chapel Hill Expert Surveys
The Chapel Hill expert surveys (CHES) estimate party positioning on European integration, ideology and policy issues for national parties in a variety of European countries. The first survey was conducted in 1999, with subsequent waves in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. Questions on parties’ general position on European integration, several EU policies, general left/right, economic left/right, and social left/right are common to all surveys. More recent surveys also contain questions on non-EU policy issues, such as immigration, redistribution, decentralization, and environmental policy. CHES’ founders are Gary Marks and Marco Steenbergen.
DiCE – Differentiation: Clustering Excellence
Differentiation: Clustering Excellence (DiCE) is a Horizon2020-funded project, which started in January 2020 and will run for three years. Its main objective is to ensure that state-of-the-art research on differentiation is translated into policy advice and made accessible to policy-makers at European, national and regional levels. The ultimate goal is to better prepare the EU for various scenarios of differentiated integration.
InDivEU – Integrating Diversity in the European Union
Integrating Diversity in the European Union (InDivEU) is a Horizon 2020 funded project that will start in January 2019 and run for three years. Its main objective is to provide Europe’s policy makers with an important knowledge hub on ‘Differentiated Integration’.
The InDivEU project aims to contribute concretely to the current debate on the ‘Future of Europe’ by re-assessing, developing and testing a range of models and scenarios for different levels of integration among EU member states.
The European Commission: Where now? Where next?
This project examines the impact and implications of the reshaping of the College and the new ways of working introduced by the Juncker Commission. Like the two earlier studies conducted by the team, The European Commission in Question, and The European Commission: Facing the Future, it investigates leadership, coordination and the internal operation of the institution, and also profiles the backgrounds, beliefs, and experience of the people who work for it.
With data of unique scale and scope collected over three Commissions, the project is able to track changes in the organisation, as well as evolution in the values and attitudes of its staff.
The team is led by Hussein Kassim, and Sara Connolly, both University of East Anglia, and includes Michael W. Bauer, German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, Pierre Bocquillon, University of East Anglia, Renaud Dehousse, EUI, Brigid Laffan, EUI, and Professor Andrew Thompson, University of Edinburgh.
Understanding the EU Civil Service: the General Secretariat of the Council
Serving both the European Council and the Council of the European Union, the Council Secretariat plays a pivotal role in the EU system, but is also the most secretive and reclusive part of the administration. The first project undertaken by external researchers to be informed by systematic data collected within the organisation, this study gathered insights from staff at all levels and in all roles about the operation of the Council Secretariat and the people who work for it.
This project also studies organisational issues of leadership, coordination, and administrative culture, as well as the backgrounds, careers and values of staff. Using the same approach of online survey, interviews and focus groups as in its projects on the European Commission, the team is able to compare the different parts of the EU administration.
The team, led by Hussein Kassim, and Sara Connolly, both University of East Anglia, includes Michael W. Bauer, German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer, Renaud Dehousse, EUI, Brigid Laffan, EUI, and Professor Andrew Thompson, University of Edinburgh.
Spaceu2019 – Helping EU mobile citizens to exercise their political rights in EP Elections 2019
Spaceu2019 is an online tool for the 2019 European Parliamentary (EP) Elections, specifically tailored for mobile EU citizens voting either in their country of citizenship or residence.
The project, funded by an EC Action Grant under the Programme ‘Rights, Equality and Citizenship 2014-2020’, is based at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and coordinated by Lorenzo Cicchi, EGPP’s coordinator. The project co-managers are EGPP’s Programme Associates Alexander H. Trechsel and Diego Garzia (University of Lucerne).
euandi2019 – Find your party in the 2019 European elections
euandi2019 is a European-wide Voting Advice Application (VAA) that helps citizens make informed choices in their 2019 European Parliament vote. Available in 23 languages, euandi2019 invites users to react to 22 policy statements covering a wide range of contemporary policy issues and political values in European politics.
With the record number of 1.28 million users, euandi2019 is the most successful EUI-based VAA ever built!
Data Portal on Political Conflict in Europe
The main aim of the project is to implement an interactive observatory on political conflict in Europe in both the electoral and the protest arena. This project is jointly conducted by the Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies and the Center for Civil Society Research at the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB). It is coordinated by Hanspeter Kriesi, Edgar Grande, and Swen Hutter.
The objective is to provide the scientific and non-scientific community with continuously updated data on the main issues and actors structuring electoral and protest politics in Europe. More specifically, the observatory will host original mass media data on election campaigns in 15 European countries and on protest events in 30 European countries. Both datasets are based on earlier large-scale projects of the coordinators of the data portal (in particular, the ERC project ‘Political Conflict in Europe in the Shadow of the Great Recession’ POLCON). The election campaign data relies on a relational content analysis of party statements as reported in two national newspapers in the run-up to national parliamentary elections. Currently, the dataset covers seven countries from Northwestern Europe (Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Switzerland), four from Southern Europe (Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain), and four from Central-Eastern Europe (Hungary, Latvia, Poland, and Romania). The protest data relies on a semi-automated protest event analysis of English-language news agencies and covers all EU member states (except Croatia) as well as Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland. Apart from providing the coded protest data, a main goal of the project is the further development and evaluation of the NLP (natural language processing) pipeline used to produce the data so that the tools can also be used and further improved by other teams.
OEI – Observatory of European Institutions: a Dataset on the Decision-making Process in the EU (1996-2014)
The European Union’s (EU) institutional system is a key element of EU policy-making, as it influences both the adoption and implementation of joint decisions. However, it remains ill understood. In order to remedy this weakness in international research on the EU, the Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics of Sciences Po (CEE) and the Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies launched the Observatory of European Institutions (OEI) with a specific focus on the political decision in the EU. The project leaders are Olivier Rozenberg, Renaud Dehousse, Selma Bendjaballah and Stéphanie Novak.
The OEI hosts original data on all legislative acts adopted by EU Institutions from 1996 to 2014. The Observatory aims at a better understanding of the political process through an innovative and wide-coverage database. For each adopted legislative act, about 100 variables are collected, each of them providing detail on the decision making in the EU and its Member States. The Observatory values comparative approaches. The dataset allows for an in-depth analysis of each policy sector. All in all, the information in the Observatory opens up a number of new research opportunities such as the impact of new Treaties, institutional reforms or the ongoing economic and political crisis, on each policy sector.
The general framework of the OEI is explained and discussed in this paper. For a French version of this paper, see this article published in the journal Politique européenne in 2017. For an example of use of the data set, see a working paper published in 2018 in Les Cahiers européens de Sciences Po.
Data can be accessed from Sciences Po data center, le Centre de données socio-politiques (CDSP).
Perilous Populism – When Pollsters are Wrong and Lobbyists Win: Economic Sociology and Political Economy
This project, managed by David Levine, and Andrea Mattozzi of the EUI and Salvatore Modica of Palermo University, is sponsored by the Robert Schuman Centre, the EUI Research Council, the ADEMU project and the Fondazione i Cinquecento.
The objective is to understand how and why lobbying undermines voting, what the implications are for populist political movements and what can be done about it. We employ methods of economic sociology: the study of self-organising groups make collective decisions to provide public goods – such as votes or lobbying effort – using peer monitoring and punishments such as ostracism to provide individual incentives. It is based on standard economic theory including mechanism design and auction theory.
The project has yielded many new theoretical insights including the discovery that making lobbying more costly may disadvantage larger groups more than smaller groups and so serve against the common interest rather promoting it. We have explored implications for lobbying effort, voter turnout, uncertainty over outcomes and the relative strength of small and large groups. We are now advancing to the empirical stage examining expressive voting and analysing voting data to determine whether – as the theory predicts – if we see substantial bi-modality in voter turnout. The scientific output of the project together with essays designed to bring our results to a broader audience can be found at the project website.
While the focus of the project is not specifically European the implications are important in a European setting and we will be writing essays and commentary discussing implications for European political movements and policy making.
REDO – Referendums & European Democracy Observatory
The debate about whether the EU’s representative institutions have a democratic deficit is now matched by national political systems having a democratic surplus. European citizens are voting on EU issues in national referendums as well as for national representatives in the multi-national European Parliament. Since 2014 absolute majorities of voters have been rejecting policies approved by their national government as well as by EU institutions.
REDO’s purpose is to further the understanding of challenges to European democracy by undertaking scientific research into what’s causing the demand for referendums; public opinion and voting in referendums; and how the EU is responding to referendum demands and outcomes. We do this by monitoring what’s happening in EU member and associated states; public opinion polls and social media; and scientific and political debates about whether and how referendums ought to affect European public policy. REDO combines the knowledge and experience of three leading referendum scholars – Richard Rose; Centre for the Study of Public Policy, Fernando Mendez, C2D Zurich; and Laurence Morel, Sciences Po Paris – and their associates. The programme is based at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and through partner institutions and our European network of social scientists.
The general intellectual framework of REDO is explained and discussed in the article “Referendum Challenges to the EU’s policy Legitimacy – and how the EU responds” by Richard Rose, forthcoming in the Journal of European Public Policy. An open access, proof only version of the article can be found here. A selection of proceedings from the workshop “The Referendum Challenge to the European Union”, organised jointly by REDO and EGPP in January 2018, can be found here:
- Types of Democratic Elections in Europe by Richard Rose
- Referendum Outcomes as an Input to European Decisions by Richard Rose
- Testing Theories of Who Supports Referendums by Richard Rose
- Would a Second Brexit Referendum be Legitimate – and if so, When? by Richard Bellamy
- Brexit and Competing Visions of Europe: Searching for an answer to Dean Acheson’s Question? by Tim Oliver
- Saying what voters want to hear about the EU? by Konstantin Vössing
- The Economic Consequences of Brexit by Paul Whiteley, Harold D. Clarke and Matthew Goodwin
A Centralisation of Rule-making in Europe? The Legal and Political Governance of the Financial Market
This project is conducted jointly by the Uppsala University Law Department (UULD) and the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. Funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrádet) and hosted by UULD, it started in Spring 2017 and proceeds for three years, until the end of 2020. The project leaders are Carl Fredrik Bergström, Adrienne Héritier and Dominique Ritleng.
During recent years there have been striking changes in the patterns of rule-making within the EU internal market. That can be seen, most obviously, in a shift of instruments for rule-making; from directives which ‘leave to the national authorities the choice of form and methods’ to regulations which are ‘directly applicable’ and uniformly implemented across all member states. But the changes extend also to procedures for rule-making and actors involved . Typically, today, extensive ‘regulatory frameworks’ are established by the EU legislature within which delegation is made of normative and executive powers to the European Commission and a new breed of EU regulatory agencies. Even if such changes can be observed throughout the internal market, the most prominent development has taken place in the area of ‘banking and finances’ where EU rule-making has been intense in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The functioning of the financial market is a central concern of the modern society and the development offers rich opportunities for legal and political science with their complementary views on legal institutions and political processes unfolding within these institutions.
This project examines if, why and how the patterns of the procedures and instruments used for EU rule-making in the financial market indicate an increasing centralisation, and what the implications are for the EU system of legal and political governance, focusing on the preconditions for accountability.