DEN HAAG (PDC) - MI-researchers participated in the 19th International Conference of the Council for European Studies (CES), 22-24 March in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The three day event hosted about 1000 scholars from all over the world, and featured discussions on a wide range of topics within the broad theme of the conference ‘A Europe of Diversities’. MI-researchers not only presented their newest findings but also chaired panels, commented upon the work of their colleagues and contributed actively to the academic debates.
A mini-symposium on ‘Dynamics of Political Attention and Policy Change’ was organised by Petya Alexandrova (MI PhD-researcher), Christian Breunig (University of Toronto) and Arco Timmermans (MI research director). It consisted of three panels featuring a total of 14 papers. The Thursday session on ‘Comparing Attention and Government Outputs’, chaired by Christian Breunig, included papers on the effect of coalition governments on agenda-setting processes, law-making during minority governments in Denmark, content of the legislative agenda in Germany and the relationship between salience of European integration issues in public opinion and citizens’ voting behaviour. The last topic was a study by MI-researcher Lucie Spanihelova, co-authored with Brandon Zicha (Leiden University College, The Hague).
The next mini-symposium panel on Saturday morning, chaired by Petya Alexandrova, covered the theme ‘Agenda Setting and the European Union’ and featured five papers, dealing with different aspects of this multilevel process. Two studies focused on the national level: the first observed the various patterns of attention to European issues on domestic agendas in the Netherlands (by MI-fellow Gerard Breeman and Arco Timmermans) and the second analysed the effect of the financial crisis on the Nordic countries’ pursue of environmental goals in the EU (by Gunnhildur Lily Magnúsdóttir, Malmö University). The third paper focused on a single policy field, examining changes in venue shopping on immigration policy in the EU (by Marcello Carammia, University of Malta) and the fourth one explored the agenda of a single institution – the European Council – studying issue competition and the structure of the agenda space (by Petya Alexandrova). The last paper provided a general theoretical discussion of the politics of information processing in the EU (by Falk Daviter, University of Potsdam).
The Saturday afternoon panel, chaired by Arco Timmermans, discussed different aspects of the multilevel agenda-setting processes. Two papers focused on mass media in Spain, analysing their capacity to determine variation of issue attention as well as their impact on the political agenda with respect to European affairs (by Laura Chaqués-Bonafont and Anna Palau, University of Barcelona respectively). Another paper looked at the local politics of attention, studying the patterns of agenda setting in six municipalities in the Netherlands (co-authored by Arco Timmermans, Gerard Breeman and Peter Scholten). Leticia Elias, PhD-researcher at the MI, presented in the panel her project on attention to organised crime in the EU and explored the coverage of this topic on the agenda of the European Council.
Some additional activities were carried out outside of the mini-symposium. MI-fellow Peter Scholten chaired two panels: one on migrant policies in Europe and one on multilevel democratic institutions and democratic processes. A paper on agenda convergence between the European Council and executives of the member states co-authored by Petya Alexandrova and Arco Timmermans was presented in a panel on ‘Patterns of Position Formation in EU Policy Making’. In the same panel Gerard Breeman and Anna Szajkowska (Wageningen University) presented their study on how EU regulation affects member state behaviour on food safety policy.
More information on the conference is available at the CES-website.