The European Semester: Democratic Weaknesses as Limits to Learning

Yannis Papadopoulos (University of Lausanne) and Simona Piattoni (ARENA) have published an article on the European Semester that analyses its credibility and effectiveness in the journal European Policy Analysis.  


In this contribution to the symposium “What's the problem? Multilevel governance and problem‐solving,” we discuss possible reasons that make difficult for the European Semester to achieve the goals of developing mutual learning and the acquisition of “ownership” over fiscal restraint, budgetary coordination and structural reforms. We underscore the uneasy coupling of a “soft” multilevel governance mode with “hard” forms of governance associated with power politics and domination. We claim that four major problems undermine the Semester's credibility and effectiveness: (1) a democratic deficit resulting from executive dominance, the relative sidelining of parliaments and the marginalization of the public, which confine learning to governmental and administrative circles; (2) the constitutionalization of budgetary policy choices, which constrains the available policy options and preempts reflection and discussion; (3) the “disciplinary logic” imposed through asymmetric intergovernmentalism, which invites noncompliance or bargaining, and (4) the “tough” treatment of debtor Eurozone members outside the Semester.

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Yannis Papadopoulos and Simona Piattoni

The European Semester: Democratic Weaknesses as Limits to Learning

European Policy Analysis, 5(1), 2019: 58-79

doi: 10.1002/epa2.1060

Published Oct. 23, 2019 10:13 AM - Last modified Oct. 23, 2019 10:13 AM