What is intergovernmental about the EU’s ‘(new) intergovernmentalist’ turn? Evidence from the Eurozone and asylum crises

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Engaging with recent claims of increased intergovernmental dynamics, this article asks what exactly is intergovernmental about the EU’s major crisis-induced reforms. Drawing on central claims of both New Intergovernmentalism and Liberal Intergovernmentalism, it is demonstrated that the Eurozone reform and the asylum reform differ significantly regarding the role played by the European Council (NI) and the role of institutional expertise provided by supranational actors (LI). While the European Council played a central facilitating role in the Eurozone crisis and worked effectively with the Commission, which provided important technical expertise, expertise in the area of asylum still largely lies with the member states. The Commission therefore acted as a political stakeholder, thus estranging the European Council that subsequently acted as a reform blocker. This article is a first attempt to assess empirically the micro-level foundations of different types of intergovernmentalism and to nuance claims on the weakened role of supranational institutions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)852-872
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 04.2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is partly based on a research project supported by the Danish Council for Independent Research under Grant DFF-4003-00199, as well as a project funded by the German Research Foundation. We would like to thank the editors and anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

    Research areas

  • Asylum Crisis, EU institutions, Eurozone crisis, liberal intergovernmentalism, new intergovernmentalism
  • Politics