Intergovernmental or supranational integration? A quantitative analysis of pension recommendations in the European Semester

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Series Details Volume 19, Number 4, Pages 684-706
Publication Date December 2018
ISSN 1465-1165 (print) | 1741-2757 (online)
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The European Semester, launched in 2011, enhances the coordination of macroeconomic policies among European Union member states. This article contributes to the lively scholarly debate on whether this policy-making cycle has empowered more the European supranational or intergovernmental institutions.

Drawing on a new dataset covering all pension-related country-specific recommendations between 2011 and 2016, and employing an original quantitative method, we show that the Commission mainly follows a ‘technocratic’ approach in drafting its recommendations, which are grounded in objective indicators.

As the Council refrains from systematically altering the recommendations’ logic, we conclude that, at least in pension policy, the Commission’s role in macroeconomic surveillance has been significantly strengthened in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

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