Has the European Union moved towards soft governance?
Comparative European Politics
DEHOUSSE Renaud - Centre d'études européennes de Sciences Po (Auteur)
GB : Palgrave Macmillan
1 - 16 p.
At the beginning of this century, the European Union engaged in a discussion on the necessity to shift to softer modes of governance, less detrimental for state sovereignty, which prompted lively academic debates. But how much has actually changed in the day-to-day practice has not been systematically analysed, and the severe economic and financial crisis experienced by European countries has radically changed the conditions in which EU policies are elaborated. Reviewing recent evidence, this article questions the dichotomy between old and new governance and shows that the crisis has led to a ‘hardening’ of EU regulation in key policy areas, while in others the Commission has proved to be able to use its ‘soft powers’ in ways that buttressed its influence. As a result, the shift to soft governance has not been as radical as one might have thought.