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ECPR Journals Virtual Special Issue

Societal Dynamics of Governmental Preference Formation in Post-Crisis European Economic Governance

European Union
Political Economy
Decision Making
Domestic Politics
Aukje Van Loon
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Aukje Van Loon
Ruhr-Universität Bochum

EU decision-making is stubbornly accompanied by divergent European governments’ positions and the challenges these dissonant positions pose for reaching agreements is unlikely to disappear. One policy area especially prone to clashing governmental positions is the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Particularly in the aftermath of the global financial and Eurozone crises it is of great significance in re-stabilising the European and national economies and poses extraordinary challenges for public authorities’ choices. Although there is a broad understanding on the need for reforming the institutional EMU framework, the positions of European governments on the substance and design of post-crisis European economic governance reforms, differ strongly. Notwithstanding the concerted efforts of governments to catalyse economic recovery, the frequent disparate positions that guide these post-crisis reforms raise questions about the domestic causes of variation in governmental positions on fiscal integration. Unpacking how and why domestic actors within European countries both facilitate and constrain development and content of contemporary EU decision-making deserves systematic inquiry and has remained an unexplored and systematised in contemporary research. This study’s three main objectives are (1) to go beyond liberal intergovernmentalism by including four domestic variables, domestic interests, value-based ideas, institutions and competence allocation, in order to (2) account for the different trajectories of six European governments (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK), by providing (3) careful cross-case comparisons of domestic preference formation case studies on the Stability and Growth Pact (Two-Pack, Six-Pack, Fiscal Compact). By employing the societal approach to governmental preference formation (Schirm 2018; van Loon 2018) a domestic politics analysis is advanced which will investigate (1) which domestic material, ideational, institutional and competence allocation factors matter, (2) when each of these aspects matter, and (3) how they interact with each other, in shaping governmental preferences during European economic governance negotiations.
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