This book is the first to be dedicated entirely to the European Semester -- a new framework for policy coordination across European Union (EU) member states. The Semester represents a major advancement in EU governance. Created in 2010 in the wake of the financial and sovereign debt crises and revamped in 2015, it was intended to provide a new socio-economic governance architecture to coordinate national policies without transferring legal sovereignty to EU level. The papers in this collection are written by authors who have already contributed to this literature and have conducted original research for their studies. The book offers an empirical and theoretical assessment of the European Semester, examining its implications along three critical axes, running respectively between the economic and the social, the supranational and the intergovernmental, and the technocratic and democratic poles of EU governance. The book concludes that the European Semester challenges established theoretical understandings of EU governance, as it is a prime example of the complexity that supersedes simple polar oppositions.
The chapters were originally published in a special issue of the Journal of European Public Policy.
Jonathan Zeitlin is Distinguished Faculty Professor of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Amsterdam, and Scientific Director of the Amsterdam Centre for Contemporary European Studies (ACCESS EUROPE).
Amy Verdun is Professor of Political Science, Jean Monnet Chair Ad Personam, and the Faculty of Social Science Lansdowne Distinguished Fellow in European Integration Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada.
Introduction: the European Semester as a new architecture of EU socioeconomic governance in theory and practice
Amy Verdun and Jonathan Zeitlin
1. Socializing the European Semester: EU social and economic policy co-ordination in crisis and beyond
Jonathan Zeitlin and Bart Vanhercke
2. Flexicurity in the European Semester: still a relevant policy concept?
3. Deciding on the European Semester: the European Council, the Council and the enduring asymmetry between economic and social policy issues
Adina Maricut and Uwe Puetter
4. Enforcing the European Semester: the politics of asymmetric information in the excessive deficit and macroeconomic imbalance procedures
James D. Savage and David Howarth
5. Cherry-picking external constraints: Latvia and EU economic governance, 2008-2014
6. Explaining the evolving role of national parliaments under the European Semester
Mark Hallerberg, Benedicta Marzinotto and Guntram B. Wolff
7. Parliamentary accountability in multilevel governance: what role for parliaments in post-crisis EU economic governance?