Transforming Europe's Welfare Regimes - Policy Innovation through European Gender Equality Laws in the United Kingdom and Germany

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The dissertation research examines the evolution of EU social and employment policy in regard to gender equality in the labor market and analyzes how EU guidelines of the European Employment Strategy (EES) and EU directives on social policy have different effects on political processes in the United Kingdom and Germany. This study serves as a window on policy-making at the interface between EU and domestic politics. I argue that the number and distribution of institutional veto points in the domestic polity sets strong incentives or disincentives for domestic political actors to Europeanize their strategies under different modes of governance, thereby explaining the variation in the effects of EU law on domestic policy. Unlike other studies on the influence of EU law on domestic polity, politics and policies that show that the EU either has or does not have an effect, I find that the EU does not have a "single effect" and seek to explain variation in effect in a systematic way. Looking at different modes of governance, particularly EU directives and guidelines, provides a better understanding of the opportunities and limitations of EU law in influencing and shaping domestic politics. My research findings challenge common assumptions about EU directives (hard law) as being more effective in achieving legislative change than EU guidelines (soft law). Secondly, the Europeanization literature typically starts out with assumptions on how fits or misfits between EU and national legislation impact domestic policy and foster institutional change. My research proposes a shift towards institutional veto points and an examination of the conditions under which domestic political actors draw on EU legal resources to overcome resistance to national policy reform. I pay particular attention to the strategies (confrontational versus negotiated) domestic political actors employ in different modes of governance and whether they lead to a shift in the domestic balance of power and alter the domestic policy-making process. The advantage of this approach is that it draws attention to the specific ways in which different modes of governance intersect with the polity and policies of member states.

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  • 08/16/2018
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