EU Institutions and Policy-Making

EU Institutions & Policy-Making

The institutional makeup of something as complex as the EU is, well, complex. There is the European Council but also a Council of the European Union, and an executive arm, the European Commission, with two bodies co-deciding on law proposals made by the Commission, namely the European Parliament and the European Council. And so on. This area of EconPol analyses the roles and functions of each of the seven key EU institutions, placing particular emphasis on the intricate interplay between these institutions and their impact on policy development and implementation on a wide range of areas, including economic integration, social issues, environmental regulations, and foreign affairs. It also explores the democratic legitimacy, transparency, and accountability of EU decision-making, as well as the challenges and debates surrounding the balance of power among EU institutions and the influence of member states.

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EU Policy Priorities: How to Ensure Europeʼs Competitiveness and Future Prosperity?

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Europe ‒ once a leader in industrial development and innovation ‒ has lost its competitiveness. Which place will it take in a new world order? Climate protection and the digital transformation will also influence the next era of prosperity. The EU and its member states now want to build a robust, secure, resilient, and sustainable economy. Meanwhile, the US, China, and some emerging economies have overtaken the EU in many international rankings.

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EU Innovation Policy: How to Escape the Middle Technology Trap

Clemens Fuest, Daniel Gros, Philipp-Leo Mengel, Giorgio Presidente, and Jean Tirole

The EU is losing the global innovation race. EU industry invests less than its peers in R&D, it lags way behind in software and artificial intelligence, and its pharmaceutical component is at risk. For over 20 years the same companies, mostly from the automotive sector, have dominated EU innovation activity. 

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Rise of Populism: Causes, Consequences and Policy Implications?

Sergei Guriev, Florian Dorn, David Gstrein and Florian Neumeier, K. Peren Arin, Efstathios Polyzos and Marcel Thum, Eugenio Levi and Steven Stillman, Manuel Funke, Moritz Schularick and Christoph Trebesch, Luisa Dörr, Niklas Potrafke, Felix Rösel and Tuuli Tähtinen, Vincenzo Galasso, Gylfi Zoega, Massimo Morelli

Populism is on the rise. It goes hand in hand with far-left or far-right party slogans and/or strong, personalized political leadership and polarized rhetoric: The presidency of Donald Trump in the US and the campaigns for the Brexit referendum are two prominent examples in recent years. Several EU member states, namely France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Greece, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany, have experienced how quickly populists win voters in national elections. With the presidential election in the US and European elections in 2024, many people fear a further rise in political polarization and populism in the Western world.

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Semantic Shifts in EU Competition Law: A Data-driven Study of Policy Goals


Anselm Küsters

Since its inception, European competition law has been a battleground for different interpretations and ideologies. As a result, concepts ranging from market integration and individual freedom to socially optimal market structures have constantly vied for influence alongside efficiency-oriented arguments reminiscent of the Chicago School. This tapestry of ideas underscores the multifaceted nature of competition policy – a policy that is inextricably linked to the specific “DNA” of its legal regime and its hierarchy of policy goals. In order to dissect and understand this DNA for the European case, this article uses natural language processing (NLP), also known as text mining, to examine over 11,000 EU competition law decisions and judgments from 1961 to 2021.

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Watts Next: Securing Europe’s Energy and Competitiveness

Where the EU’s Energy Policy Should Go Now

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 led to gas supply in Europe dropping significantly, shaking the EU out of its complacency regarding energy procurement and consumption habits. The costs of going green on top of more expensive energy are putting a strain on European competitiveness, with higher energy prices hitting the chemical, steel and metal processing industries in countries like Germany, Spain or Poland particularly hard.

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