Decentralized EU Policy Coordination in Crisis? The Case of Germany

Europeanization research found no general convergence towards centralized EU policy coordination, despite decentralized systems' comparatively slow and ineffective position‐taking. Does this finding hold against the threat, urgency, and uncertainty exerted by recent years' polycrisis? The authors posit that decentralized systems indeed persist, albeit in a three‐step reactive sequence in which situational centralization during crises dialectically reinforces decentralization in the long run. First, the prime minister's office harnesses a crisis to acquire hierarchical control of position‐taking. Second, to exploit the deep expertise of the bureaucracy and maximize its bargaining power on the EU‐level, it co‐opts a lead ministry. Third, due to the institutional underpinnings of the decentralized system, the lead ministry, rather than the prime minister's office, eventually retains the administrative capacities created in crisis. This article illustrates this causal mechanism in a comparison of the German government's EU policy coordination during the Eurozone and Schengen crises.

Christian Freudlsperger and Martin Weinrich (2021). Decentralized EU Policy Coordination in Crisis? The Case of Germany. Journal of Common Market Studies.

DOI: 10.1111/jcms.13159

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