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.
categories: symbolic policy change and constructive ambiguity. Symbolic change Chapters 2 and 3 demonstrated how the plasticity of the institutional arrangements in areas of EU foreign policy, such as the European Neighbourhood Policy, has allowed key players to emerge at the member state level in the immediate aftermath of a critical juncture. This research divided the key players in the reform process into actors who see the critical juncture as an opportunity to revise the status quo on one hand, and
Chapter 4 complements the existing, three-level typology of policy change with two analytical categories: symbolic policy change and constructive ambiguity. Symbolic changes are politically useful accommodating gestures, which indicate a willingness to take immediate steps, to demonstrate that action is being taken in order to avoid future crisis. Yet despite such rhetorical gestures and statements, the main features of the policy remain intact. Temporal context is an important contributing factor to producing symbolic change. Scholars in public policy studies have
, to demonstrate they are willing and able to take immediate steps to deal with the crisis at hand and to avoid future, similar occurrences. Their primary audience is usually the greater public, although symbolic steps may likewise be taken to accommodate political opposition. Yet despite the grandiloquence of symbolic changes, upon scrutiny we find that the policy itself remains unchanged. Symbolic policy change is an important product of the temporal context, as the public pressure which decision-makers face in the wake of these crises motivates them to meet the
, Europe and nationalisation Whilst Labour’s defence review was the symbolic policy change during Kinnock’s post-1987 modernisation, confidence in the party’s handling of the economy was seen as the other major prerequisite for electoral success. 134 Although internal polling showed that Labour enjoyed popular support for their policies surrounding employment and wealth redistribution, the public remained concerned that the party would pursue high levels of taxation and interest rates. 135 Three particular areas of controversy arose in the economic field during the
, although at first sight it seems to fall short of that aim (European Commission 2020b ). Conclusion As mentioned in Chapter 4 , when the temporal context is highly salient but the key actors diverge in their policy preferences, symbolic policy changes combined with some first-order changes are a likely outcome of the policy change process. We can witness such a process in this critical juncture. This short case study of policy change in the wake of the migration crisis exposed a policy area of relatively high plasticity, with