Framing biotechnology policy in the European Union

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Series Details No.5, June 2012
Publication Date 2012
ISSN 1890- 7741
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This paper shows how the framing of complex policy issues on the EU legislative agenda influences the processing of political interests and ideas and their expression in policy choices. By tracing the policy-making process in the field of EU biotechnology over a twenty-year period, the analysis explores how the framing of the issues affected turf wars inside the European Commission, the rise and decline of key political interest organisations, and eventually triggered some of the most hard-fought inter-institutional stand-offs in recent EU history. The key to understanding these dynamics, the paper argues, is to focus on how actors in EU politics define and redefine the policy issues at stake. At a time when framing arguments are attracting increasing attention in policy research, this paper discusses the conceptual and theoretical tenets of framing analysis. It shows how this analytical lens can shed new light on the volatility of EU legislative politics and highlights how vigorously EU institutions compete over the right to define the issues on the EU agenda.

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