Assessing Domestic Adaptation to EU Policy: Detecting Mechanisms at Work

FNI Report 16/2006. Lysaker, FNI, 2006, 19 p.

Drawing on earlier works on Europeanisation, this report sketches a theoretical basis for assessing domestic adaptation to EU policy. It suggests that EU policy may target one or all of the four structures underpinning domestic organisational fields: regulative, normative, cognitive, material. Moreover, EU policy may spur effects at four levels: intra-organisational, inter-organisational, intrafield, and/or inter-field. These effects may be triggered directly by the EU targeting domestic organisational actors; they may be interpreted by national political executives prior to being introduced in the domestic setting; or these paths may be combined. On the basis of this rough framework, a fourfold typology of EU-induced effects is presented. This takes into account both the degree of institutionalisation in the domestic organisational field in question and the strength of EU policy. The assumption is that strong EU policy is more likely than weak policy to induce changes in a domestic organisational field. Moreover, a weakly institutionalised organisational field can be assumed to be far more open to EU policy than highly institutionalised fields. Both weak and strong EU policies may work as catalysts for change, but only strong policies are likely to cause change in their own right. Whether this framework provides fruitful insights must be tested through empirical applications.