Willingness and Capacity for EU Policy Action in Turbulent Times: Conflicts, Positions and Outcomes
The European Union (EU) faces pressing demands to act in major policy areas amid public contestation of supranational governance. Our interdisciplinary project seeks to explain and facilitate responsive and effective policy reforms by increasing knowledge about the willingness and capacity for EU integration in specific policy areas. We study the conditions under which the EU institutions seek to increase or decrease EU policy competences, when their positions respond to public demands across and within member states, and under what conditions each institution manages to assert its position in the policy-making processes. We further investigate how the institutions’ positions and capacity to steer the course of European integration across policy areas are reshaped by increased EU politicization and associated shifts in institutional identities, internal disunity and switch from formal political to informal technocratic procedures of policy-making. Public opinion surveys, party manifestos and speech data from European and national parliaments will serve to capture citizen, party and government preferences over the transfer of competences from the national to the EU level across policy areas. We will then examine under what conditions and to what extent these preferences determine the positions of EU institutions, policy proposals and adopted legislation with respect to the level of competence transfer to the EU, using cutting-edge methods for computational text analysis. These findings will serve to develop recommendations about innovation in policy and institutional design that can address pressing challenges and enjoy public acceptance in member states and among their citizens.
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