Over the last decade, the European Union (EU) has faced a multitude of crises. Importantly, the various crises have led to different outcomes: Whereas the Eurozone crisis, for example, led to more European integration, the Schengen crisis arguably resulted in a partial European disintegration. Applying models of joint-decision problems in the EU, this paper analyses why and how these two crises led to divergent outcomes. It finds that higher levels of functional pressures, higher capacities of supranational agency, and more room for package deals enabled the EU to exit from joint-decision problems in the Eurozone crisis, whereas these and other potential exit mechanisms were widely unavailable in the Schengen crisis. Looking explicitly at the (missing) availability of exit mechanisms from joint-decision problems, this paper goes beyond the application of the usual European integration theories, which struggle to explain the variation in crisis outcomes. Furthermore, the paper makes a contribution to the more recent academic discussions on European integration/ disintegration, on the one hand, and the legitimacy-effectiveness gap, on the other hand.
This article analyses how crises may open policy windows which, when properly seized by policy entrepreneurs, made European defence policy a priority on the EU’s agenda. The article compares two periods which can be considered as critical junctures for European defence: the periods of its birth in 1998–1999, and its relaunch in 2016–2019. The analysis is based on the Multiple Stream Framework (msf) and considers European defence as a public policy shaped by policy actors. More precisely, the main hypothesis is that in both contexts policy actors from France and Germany took advantage of focusing events – the Kosovo War in 1998–1999, and Brexit extended by the election of Trump introducing turmoil within the transatlantic partnership in 2016–2019 – to advocate a policy solution to answer security challenges faced by the EU. The article also assesses how British policy actors played decisive yet inverse roles in both contexts. The first part of the article explains how the msf is used and why it is a stimulating agenda to study European defence policy. The second part of the article analyses the policy entrepreneurs taking advantage of the policy windows opened in both cases, and how they coupled the three streams underlying European defence by exploiting the British variable. The last part of the article focuses on the means used by the policy entrepreneurs to make it a policy priority on the European policy agenda in both the late 1990s and 2016–2019.