Montesquieu Institute: from science to society

Organised Crime on the European Council Agenda: Political Attention Dynamics

Wednesday, June 25 2014, 16:11

The Standing Group on Organised Crime (SGOC) is one of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) standing groups. They aim to promote research in transnational organised crime across different disciplines.

Montesquieu PhD researcher Leticia Elias and professor of Public Affairs, Arco Timmermans, wrote a paper on 'Organised Crime on the European Council Agenda: Political Attention Dynamics'.

In the European Union (EU), member states and political institutions each have

their own policy approach and conceptualisation of organised crime (OC). This conceptual ambiguity is likely to affect policy-making on OC in the EU. A broad palette of policy priorities and responses exists, making it a hard task to politically handle the problem at the European level. Elias and Timmermans focused on the way in which the European Council dealt with OC between 1975 and

2010.

Applying an agenda-setting theoretical perspective, they looked at the political

consideration given by this institution to the problem, evidencing the attention dynamics and OC definitions as they appeared on the European agenda. They found that the development of the OC agenda as set by the European Council displays a punctuated-equilibrium pattern of six main waves of political attention. Periodically this body turns its focus more emphatically towards OC and then moves away to address other issues.

The allocation of its attention fluctuated. It never handled the same set of OC issues over the years. This behaviour relates to a great extent to the institutional design of the European Council as a serial-processing organisation, and to its function as a signalling authority for policy-making.

Read the full article in The European Review of Organised Crime