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How a secretive circle of finance ministers shape European economic governance
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This book a study on the work of the Eurogroup—monthly informal meetings between euro area finance ministers, the Commission and the European Central Bank. It demonstrates how this small, secretive circle of senior decision-makers shapes European economic governance through a routinised informal policy dialogue. Although the role of the Eurogroup has been contested since before the group's creation, its actual operation has never been subject to systematic evaluation. This book opens the doors of the meeting room and shows how an understanding of the interplay of formal provisions and informal processes is pivotal to the analysis of euro area governance. The book advances the conceptual understanding of informal negotiations among senior European and national decision-makers, and provides an in-depth analysis of historical episodes of policy coordination. As other areas of European decision-making rely increasingly on informal, voluntary policy coordination amongst member states, the Eurogroup model can be seen as a template for other policy areas.

Concepts, measures and policy processes

The European Union and its member states are investing in ambitious programmes for ‘better regulation’ and targets of regulatory quality. This book lifts the veil of excessively optimistic propositions covering the whole better-regulation agenda, and provides a conceptual framework to handle the political complexity of regulatory governance. It approaches better regulation as an emerging public policy, with its own political context, actors, problems, rules of interaction, instruments, activities and impacts. Focusing on the key tools of impact assessment, consultation, simplification and access to legislation, the chapters provide empirical evidence on the progress made in the member states and in Brussels, drawing on an extensive research project and an original survey of directors of better-regulation programmes in Europe. They show how indicators define, measure and appraise better-regulation policy, linking measures to policy processes in which the stakeholders learn by monitoring. Although better regulation is a top priority for competitiveness in Europe and the legitimacy of EU policy, the level of commitment and the development of tools vary considerably. The major challenge for better regulation is institutionalisation—this calls for clear choices in terms of what the EU wants from better regulation.

The dynamics of compound bureaucracies

This book introduces international bureaucracy as a key field of study for public administration and also rediscovers international bureaucracy as an essential ingredient in the study of international organizations. Firstly, the book systematically compares behavioural dynamics within a carefully selected number of international bureaucracies. The focus is on studying these dynamics within international bureaucracies at the actor level - that is, by studying the behaviour and roles as perceived by the officials themselves. The book outlines a conceptual map of four generic behavioural dynamics that are likely to be evoked by these officials: intergovernmental, supranational, departmental and epistemic dynamics. Essentially, the Westphalian international order dominated by the intergovernmental dynamic is challenged to the extent that international bureaucracies embed supranational, departmental and epistemic dynamics in everyday decision-making processes. Admittedly, there are no guarantees that these dynamics always materialise in the actors' behaviour and ultimately in the decisions reached by international organisations. However, they serve as cognitive and normative frames for action, rendering it more likely than not that particular decision-making dynamics are associated with certain behavioural patterns. Secondly, the book illuminates some causal factors that may help to explore the conditions under which different behavioural dynamics are manifested in the behavioural and role perceptions of the incumbents of international bureaucracies. Essentially, the authors do not propose to 'test' the four dynamics outlined above in a rigorous manner. They serve more as 'searchlights for illuminating empirical patterns in our data'.