Do European crises lead to less integration? On the hardening and softening of law

Do European crises lead to less integration? On the hardening and softening of law

Abstract :

European integration is associated with the idea of an ‘ever closer Union’, achieved in part through ‘integration-through-crisis’. However, while crises have indeed led to higher regulatory pressure, responses to these crises have not always taken the form of stronger commitments and legally binding rules. In this webinar Sabine Saurugger and Fabien Terpan will discuss three policy areas recently affected by crises, and analyse why in one of these policies (migration) more soft rules have been adopted, while the two other policies have evolved towards a greater use of hard law (budget monitoring, cybersecurity). Three potential explanations are analysed: the intensity of crises impacting political systems; the quality of prior norms and their (perceived) implementation; the entrepreneurship and heterogeneity of the coalition. Although all of these factors have explanatory powers, the capacity of policy entrepreneurs to build a large coalition appears to be the central explanation. 

This research is part of a special issue of West European Politics (Vol.44, Issue1) recently edited by Sabine Saurugger and Fabien Terpan.



Sabine Saurugger is professor of political science and Director of Sciences Po Grenoble – UGA

Her research focuses on interest groups, theories of European integration, European public policies and the politics of law. Most recently she analysed the impact of economic and financial crises on public polices and legal frameworks. Results of her research have been published in journals such as the European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Common Market Studies, West European Politics, Political Studies, Journal of European Public Policy and Revue française de science politique. Her co-authored book The Court of Justice and the Politics of Law (with Fabien Terpan) has been published in the European Union Series with Palgrave (2017). 

Fabien Terpan is Senior Lecturer at Sciences Po Grenoble – UGA, and the holder of a Jean Monnet Chair on EU Law and Politics

He has published widely on law and politics in the EU, soft law, the European Court of justice, EU external action, in journals such as West European Politics, Policy Sciences, European Law Journal, International Data Privacy Law, Comparative European Politics, Journal of European Integration, European security. His most recent books include Droit et politique de l’Union européenne (Bruylant, 2018) and The Court of Justice of the European Union and the Politics of Law (Palgrave Mcmillan 2017, with Sabine Saurugger).


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