While the European Union (EU) urgently requires preparation for the next economic, refugee or security crisis, rising Euroscepticism and populism across member states challenge established approaches and necessitate policy and institutional innovations that accommodate diverse preferences. Yet, reforms have stalled. One explanation for the EU’s inaction is poor knowledge about the willingness and institutional capacity for integration of specific policies at the EU level. We address this gap by answering the following questions:
RQ1: What preferences do EU citizens, political parties and governments across the member states hold on the transfer of specific policy competence from the national to the EU level?
RQ2: What positions do the EU legislative institutions pursue with respect to integrating specific policies at the EU level?
RQ3: To what extent and when are these institutional positions responsive to the integration preferences of citizens and political parties?
RQ4: Under which conditions does each of the EU institutions manage to assert its position in the policy-making process?
RQ5: To what extent are the adopted EU policies across policy areas responsive to the integration preferences of constituents across member states?
We expected that the answers to these questions are conditional and developed a theoretical framework that guided our analysis of how EU politicization affects the positions, authority and responsiveness of EU institutions, proposing three mechanisms: identity transformation, decreased institutional cohesiveness and changes in procedural rules. Thereby, the project cuts across two programme themes: “shifting identities and representation” and “changing authority of institutions”.