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Weinig speelruimte, onmiskenbare invloed: het Belgisch EU-Voorzitterschap en de Europese sociale agenda

TitleWeinig speelruimte, onmiskenbare invloed: het Belgisch EU-Voorzitterschap en de Europese sociale agenda
Publication TypeOther Journal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsPintelon, O., & Van Lancker W.
JournalRes Publica
Volume53
Issue3
Pagination315-335
Date Published09/2011
ISSN0486-4700
Abstract

Traditionally, Belgian EU presidencies are characterized by an ambitious social agenda. It is however unclear to what extent these ambitions are translated into real policy accomplishments. In this article we aim to disentangle the genuine influence of the Belgian 2010 EU presidency on the European social policy agenda by applying the agenda-shaping framework developed by Jonas Tallberg. Making use of elite interviews and by studying policy documents, we reach a two-fold conclusion. First of all, the Belgian presidency has left footprints in some specific social policy topics, especially with regard to social impact assessment and child poverty. However – in line with theoretical expectations – agenda-setting initiatives were less successful than agenda structuring techniques. Secondly, our findings also shed preliminary light on the determinants of presidency influence as identified by Simone Bunse. We find that the Belgian social ambitions were curtailed by political and economic constrains, policy preferences in the Council, the difficult inter-institutional dialogue (especially with the European Commission), and the limited presidency skills of certain Belgian policy actors.

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