Sebastiaan Princen (auth.)'s Agenda-Setting in the European Union PDF

By Sebastiaan Princen (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0230233961

ISBN-13: 9780230233966

ISBN-10: 1349306045

ISBN-13: 9781349306046

ISBN-10: 1403995117

ISBN-13: 9781403995117

ISBN-10: 1403995125

ISBN-13: 9781403995124

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Sample text

This is illustrated well by the way in which the Council of Ministers works. Although formally the Council of Ministers is a single institution of the EU, in practice it consists of a range of ‘configurations’ depending on the issue at stake. So, if a decision needs to be taken on agricultural subsidies, this is done in the ‘Agricultural Council of Ministers’, which comprises all member state ministers of agriculture. If, by contrast, the issue is monetary policy, it will be debated and decided upon in the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (also known as ‘ECOFIN’).

In such polities, involving the public is a viable strategy, since there is ‘a public’ to begin with, and decisionmakers are likely to take account of what this public thinks. Nevertheless in the EU both the existence of an integrated public sphere and the direct accountability of decision-makers to the public cannot be taken for granted. Even though there is evidence of a convergence of public debates on important issues within the EU (Van de Steeg 2006), it is still very difficult for political actors to appeal to a European public: newspaper and broadcasting systems are firmly national in scope, and the national level remains by far the most important level of reference for European citizens when it comes to political issues.

However, in other cases the EU may be equally useful as a venue for raising the salience of issues, developing alternative approaches, funding studies and building networks of support for policy change. Yet, if the actor is interested in something that the EU cannot deliver (for example, disbursement of unemployment benefits or direct funding of government services), there will be little reason for the actor to invest a lot of time and effort in getting the issue onto the EU agenda. Third, moving to the factors that determine agenda success, an issue has a greater chance of rising on the EU agenda if those who promote the issue can frame it in ways that appeal to relevant participants in the EU policymaking process.

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Agenda-Setting in the European Union by Sebastiaan Princen (auth.)


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