The year 2017 was eventful for the EU and its member states. Given the widespread Euroscepticism and populism which appeared to be on the rise last year, election results in the Netherlands, France and Germany were greeted with relief and hope for the future. The EU was in an optimistic mood. European Commission President Jean- Claude Juncker used his State of the European Union speech in September to note that the EU had the ‘wind in its sails’ (Juncker, 2017). At the same time, he cautioned that the fair weather conditions would not last long - there was no room for complacency. The EU had to act to protect, empower and defend its citizens. The EU moved forward on a number of policy fronts in the wake of the Brexit vote and also concluded high-profile international trade deals in an effort to fill the vacuum left by the protectionist policies of the Trump administration.
Ringa Raudla, Aleksandrs Cepilovs, Rainer Kattel and Linda Sutt
Our paper explores how a rule prescribed by the European Union can bring about changes in the policy discourse of a member state. Drawing on the literatures of discursive institutionalism and Europeanization, the theoretical part discusses the factors that influence discursive shifts. The empirical part examines the discursive impacts of the introduction of the structural budget deficit rule, required by the Fiscal Compact, in Estonia and Latvia. It demonstrates how the discursive shifts have been shaped by the localized translations offered by civil servants, the entrance of additional actors to the policy-making arena, crisis experience, and the strategic interests of policy actors.
Based on the construction of a composite index to assess the relative performance of welfare policies, we show that the variability of performances cannot be explained only by the amount of resources devoted to social policies, but also by its composition: countries with higher shares of social public expenditure, specifically aimed at reducing income concentration, obtain better results. This associates the traditional classification of the European welfare systems to the performance obtained in the social sector.
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and neglect of community support services ( Dlouhy, 2014 ; Dlouhy, & Bartak, 2013 ). These efforts have faced numerous challenges such as the need to balance the multiple lines of economic and social development, and to overcome the effects of entrenched professional and institutional interests, as well as the post-communist syndrome ( Klicperová-Baker, 2010 ).
In the Czech Republic, a major reform initiative, supported by the EuropeanUnion's Structural Funds (ESF) programme, has focused on the reform of decision-making processes, and thus, key questions
Collaborative approaches to policy-making are high on the agenda for most European governments and are key to European Commission activities with respect to the transformation of public administration in the EuropeanUnion (EU) ( Hammerschmid et al., 2016 ; European Commission, 2016 ). A long line of politicians has stated the need for government units to overcome organizational cleavages and reach out to citizens and stakeholders in order to address difficult policy problems and deliver public services more efficiently. Collaborative approaches