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Societal structures and political work
Author: Andy Smith

Recent pressures for change in France have impacted upon a country which, from 1945 to 1975, had featured both unprecedented economic growth and the building of a powerful state. Drawing upon a plethora of social science research and data, this book sets out what has been made in France since that period and, as importantly, what this ‘made’ the French. By examining the institutions and asymmetric power relations that have structured French society, together with the ‘political work’ that has changed or reproduced them, in seven chapters the book takes the reader ‘from the cradle to the grave’ to assess whether and where significant change has occurred over the last four decades, then explain the outcomes identified. Overall, the book provides a comprehensive account of French society and politics, while proposing an original generic analytical framework that is applicable to other nations and their comparative analysis.

Bailout politics in Eurozone countries

Since 2010, five Eurozone governments in economic difficulty have received assistance from international lenders on condition that certain policies specified in the Memoranda of Understanding were implemented. How did negotiations take place in this context? What room for manoeuvre did the governments of these countries have? After conditionality, to what extent were governments willing and able to roll back changes imposed on them by the international lenders? Do we find variation across governments, and, if so, why?

This book addresses these questions. It explores the constraints on national executives in the five bailed out countries of the Eurozone during and beyond the crisis (2008–2019).

The book’s principal idea is that, despite international market pressure and creditors’ conditionality, governments had some room for manoeuvre during a bailout and were able to advocate, resist, shape or roll back some of the policies demanded by external actors. Under certain circumstances, domestic actors were also able to exploit the constraint of conditionality to their own advantage. The book additionally shows that after a bailout programme governments could use their discretion to reverse measures in order to attain the greatest benefits at a lower cost. It finally explores the determinants of bargaining leverage – and stresses the importance of credibility.

A theory of distributive justice for the European Union
Author: João Labareda

This highly original book constitutes one of the first attempts to examine the problem of distributive justice in the EU in a systematic manner. The author starts by arguing that the set of shared political institutions at EU level, including the European Parliament and the Court of Justice of the EU, generate democratic duties of redistribution amongst EU citizens. Furthermore, he claims that the economic structure of the EU, comprising a common market, a common currency, and a free-movement area, triggers duties of reciprocity amongst member states. He contends that the responsibilities to fulfil these duties should be shared by three levels of government – local, national, and supranational. More specifically, he argues that the EU should act as a safety net to the national welfare systems, applying the principle of subsidiarity. In turn, the common market and the Eurozone should balance efficiency targets with distributive concerns. Concrete policy proposals presented in this book include a threshold of basic goods for all EU citizens, an EU Labour Code, a minimum EU corporate tax rate, and an EU Fund for Global Competitiveness. These proposals are thoroughly examined from the standpoint of feasibility. The author argues that his proposals fit in the political culture of the member states, are economically feasible, can be translated into functioning institutions and policies, and are consistent with the limited degree of social solidarity in Europe. This book is a major contribution to the understanding of how a just Europe would look and what it takes to get us there.

A framework of EU foreign policy change
Author: Nikki Ikani

This book provides readers with an analytical framework that serves to investigate and explain how the EU adapts its foreign policy in the wake of crisis. While a range of studies dedicated to foreign policy stability and change exist for the US context, such analyses are rare for the assessment and measurement of foreign policy change at the European Union level. This book explores a range of theories of (foreign) policy change and assesses their value for explaining EU foreign policy change. Changes to EU foreign policy, this study proposes based upon an in-depth investigation of recent episodes in which foreign policy has changed, are not captured well using existing typologies of policy change from other fields of study.

Offering a new perspective on the question of change, this book proposes an analytical framework focused on how institutions, institutional ‘plasticity’ and temporal context impact on the decision-making process leading to change. It thus provides readers with the tools to analyse, explain and conceptualise the various change outcomes in EU foreign policy. In so doing, it sets the theoretical approach of historical institutionalism to work in an EU foreign policy setting. Based on a rich empirical analysis of five case studies it provides a revised typology of EU foreign policy change. It proposes two novel forms of foreign policy change, symbolic change and constructive ambiguity, as frequent and important outcomes of the EU decision-making process.