Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

The European Commission as a Policy Entrepreneur under the European Semester

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Abstract:  This article discusses the impact that the reforms of the European Union’s economic governance since 2011 have had on the European Commission’s role as a policy entrepreneur. Particular attention is paid to mechanisms that are applied by the Commission to extend its scope beyond its given formal competences to shape national reform agendas. The research interest is based on the assumption that the Commission is a ‘competence-maximising rational actor’ (Pollack, 1997), whose primary organisational goals are to expand the scope of Community competence and increase the Commission’s own standing within the policy process. Accordingly, this research contributes to the scholarly debate by identifying mechanisms applied by the Commission under the European Semester to shape European and national reform agendas in areas of sovereign policymaking competences of the member states.

Keywords:  economic governance; European Commission; European Semester; policy entrepreneurship; soft law


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© Bernhard Zeilinger. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.