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New Institutional Leadership goes viral: EU crisis reforms and the coming about of the Covid Recovery Fund

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  • Sandrino Smeets, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • ,
  • Derek Beach
This article reconstructs the coming about of the 750 billion EU Covid Recovery fund. We provide an embedded process-tracing analysis of the dynamics from mid-March 2020, when the idea of ‘Corona-bonds’ was parachuted onto the Heads’ Agenda, up until the ‘historic’ deal on the MFF and Recovery Fund of 21 July. Where most media accounts and scholarly assessments focus on the high-level deal-making between political leaders, we trace the proceedings inside the EU’s institutional machinery, which produced the solutions and laid out the groundwork for a deal. The reconstruction assesses the role and influence of the EU institutions – the European Commission in particular – in producing this major step. We show that the process was characterized by a handicapped European Council, which hampered the ability of member states to oversee and control developments. The conclusions discuss the implications of our findings for our understanding of (institutional) leadership and policy-making during crisis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
Pages (from-to)377-396
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

    Research areas

  • EU institutions, POLICY CHANGE, crisis reforms, intergovernmentalism, leadership, negotiations

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