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Schuman Centre’s Seminar Series: The Politics of International Organizations: An Ethnography of the European Commission

Dates:
  • Wed 26 Feb 2020 16.30 - 18.00
  Add to Calendar 2020-02-26 16:30 2020-02-26 18:00 Europe/Paris Schuman Centre’s Seminar Series: The Politics of International Organizations: An Ethnography of the European Commission

Based on four years of embedded observation in a European Commission cabinet, this paper develops an analysis of political work in international organisations. The analysis traces the successes and failures of the Juncker Commission on four major issues: the Greek crisis, budgetary surveillance of Spain, Portugal and Italy, the reform of the euro, and the fight against tax evasion. The aim is not to ascertain whether the policy was good or bad, but to understand how political work is done in a European Union where the "spectacle of power" is blurred by 24 official languages, 28 national histories, a powerful technocracy, and sometimes opaque institutions. The paper sheds light on debates of ideas and struggles of interest within the Commission, tensions with the Eurogroup and the Parliament, recurring conflicts with the Member States, the informal operation of the cabinets, the role of the media in the Brussels bubble and that of the civil service in the development of European policies.

Fréderic Mérand (PhD, Berkeley) is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of CÉRIUM, the University of Montreal Centre for International Studies. His work focuses on European politics and the sociology of international relations. A former foreign policy advisor, he was Visiting Professor in Toronto, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Paris, Lille and Rome. His present research focuses on burden-sharing in international organisations, the politics surrounding the purchase of fighter planes and the fall of Great Powers.

Chair: Philipp Genschel

Sala Triaria - Villa Schifanoia DD/MM/YYYY
  Sala Triaria - Villa Schifanoia

Based on four years of embedded observation in a European Commission cabinet, this paper develops an analysis of political work in international organisations. The analysis traces the successes and failures of the Juncker Commission on four major issues: the Greek crisis, budgetary surveillance of Spain, Portugal and Italy, the reform of the euro, and the fight against tax evasion. The aim is not to ascertain whether the policy was good or bad, but to understand how political work is done in a European Union where the "spectacle of power" is blurred by 24 official languages, 28 national histories, a powerful technocracy, and sometimes opaque institutions. The paper sheds light on debates of ideas and struggles of interest within the Commission, tensions with the Eurogroup and the Parliament, recurring conflicts with the Member States, the informal operation of the cabinets, the role of the media in the Brussels bubble and that of the civil service in the development of European policies.

Fréderic Mérand (PhD, Berkeley) is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of CÉRIUM, the University of Montreal Centre for International Studies. His work focuses on European politics and the sociology of international relations. A former foreign policy advisor, he was Visiting Professor in Toronto, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Paris, Lille and Rome. His present research focuses on burden-sharing in international organisations, the politics surrounding the purchase of fighter planes and the fall of Great Powers.

Chair: Philipp Genschel


Location:
Sala Triaria - Villa Schifanoia

Affiliation:
Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies

Type:
Seminar series

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