How Europeanization is heading towards a clustered convergence?

Seminar Paper 2006 21 Pages

Politics - International Politics - Region: Western Europe




1 Deriving meaning of Europeanization
1.1 Defining Europeanization
1.2 Conceptualizing Europeanization
1.3 Understanding Europeanization
1.4 Debating Europeanization
1.5 Comparing Europeanization and European Integration
1.6 IdentifyingEuropeanization with Globalization

2 Assessing performance of Europeanization
2.1 Measuring the impact of Europeanization on Domestic Policies
2.2 Emerging Faces of Europeanization

3 Concluding Observations about the trend of Europeanization
3.1 Evaluation of Europeanization
3.2 Convergence versus Divergence
3.3 Convergence not moving towards one dominating model
3.4 Dynamics of Adaptation Process
3.5 Europeanizationheading towards a clustered Convergence



The term Europeanization is becoming more and more fashionable. Some scholars including Samuel Huntington argue that citizens of European states increasingly identify themselves as such, rather than French, German etc.[1] Various theories and terminologies are used to describe Europeanization and its future .But such attempts have failed because this term does not have single or precise meaning. Europeanization has reached a crucial stage. Scholars are debating about the trends and directions of Europeanization. Convergence, Divergence, Similarities or Differences are some of the flashpoints of discussions. Such discussions have raised various questions about Europeanization. e.g. What is the emerging picture of Europeanization and how this polarization is taking place?

This work aims to find out answers to these questions and more precisely about direction of this process i.e. how Europeanization is heading towards clustered convergence? I also narrate emerging faces and trends in Europeanization.

What is Europeanization? This work is aiming for description of present trend in Europeanization. I will begin with discussing some definitions about Europeanization. I also agree that Europeanization is not an easy term to define. Hence I will proceed further to discuss and debate about Europeanization in nutshell. How Europeanization takes place? After describing Europeanization I will proceed to discuss the logic adopted by various scholars to facilitate Europeanization.

Forthcoming section of the term paper deals with five faces of Europeanization as discussed by Johan Olsen.[2] Discussion about Europeanization would be incomplete unless a reference is made to globalization. Hence in this paper I also intend to describe relationship between Europeanization and globalization. Concluding chapter is about ground realities and attempts to find a viable description of future trend of Europeanization.

This work is primarily based on the essays of Tanja Boerzel et al[3] and Johan Olsen.[4] In addition to these two essays, I have taken help from several other resources and working papers.

1 Deriving meaning of Europeanization

1.1 Defining Europeanization

Europeanization doesn’t have a single or precise meaning. It has been often used to describe various aspects and changes happening in Europe. Various scholars have made attempts to define Europeanization in various ways. Here I would like to narrate some of them. Ladrech defines Europeanization as „…an incremental process reorienting direction and shape of politics to the degree that EC political and economic dynamics become part of the organizational logic of national logic of national politics and policy making.”[5] He suggests that Europeanization is a process and it is getting bigger and bigger. He also says this process is shaping logic of national politics and this process is influenced by actions of EC. Risse, Cowles and Caporaso define Europeanization as “the emergence and development at the European level of distinct structures of governance, that is, of political, legal and social institutions associated with the problem solving that formalize interaction among actors, and of policy networks specializing in the creation of authoritative European rules.”[6] They describe Europeanization as creating structures of governance at European level in form of political, social and legal institutions, which leads to more interactions among participants and these institutions help them in solving common problems. These networks lead to creation of European rules which are binding on all actors. Hix and Goetz define Europeanization as “a process of change in national institutional and policy practices that can be attributed to European Integration.”[7] They understand Europeanization as a process of change happening due to European Integration. Börzel defines Europeanization as“a process by which domestic policy areas become increasingly subject to European policymaking.”[8] She describes Europeanization as a process in which domestic policymaking is influenced by European policymaking.

The above mentioned definitions convey different connotations and sometimes contradictory aspects about Europeanization. These definitions also don’t give an exact and a precise description of Europeanization. Analysis of various definitions helps us to derive a viable definition of Europeanization, such as “Europeanization is domestic change caused by European Integration and policy making at European level”. However I admit that this definition is also not exhaustive enough to cover all aspects of Europeanization.

1.2 Conceptualizing Europeanization

As we saw earlier, there are numerous definitions of Europeanization. But these definitions are not exhaustive enough to cover all aspects of Europeanization. Hence the term Europeanization requires further elucidation and conceptualization.

Dyson and Goetz narrate the difficulties relating to precise understanding of Europeanization, when they describe how the term was used in a number of different ways, “it is sometimes used narrowly to refer to implementation of EU legislation or more broadly to capture policy transfer and learning within the EU. It is sometimes used to identify the shift of national policy paradigms and instruments to the EU level (other)…. times it is used in a narrower way to refer to its effects at the domestic level…. or in a more expansive way to include affects on discourse and identities as well as structures and policies at the domestic level.”[9] They say that Europeanization not only refer to implementation of EU directives but also include policy transfer and learning within EU. Europeanization is also related with shift happening in national policy in favour of policy at EU level.

Bullet and Gamble also explored wider conceptualization of Europeanization but ultimately considered it to be “…. a situation where distinct modes of European governance have transformed aspect of domestic politics.”[10] Europeanization is considered as a situation in which European governance have transformed the character of domestic politics.

Fundamentally, they wished to explore existence of Europeanization at the member level but realized that outcomes are not inevitable and rely on interactions between member states and the domestic and EU levels.

Dyson explained, “…Europeanization remains relatively new theoretical interest and has produced more questions than answers.”[11] He is of the opinion that theoretical discussions about Europeanization have raised more questions and dilemmas rather than solutions.

Sharing same opinion Featherstone and Kazamias proposed that Europeanization was a “…..dynamic process unfolding over time” and through complex interactive variables it provided contradictory, divergent and contingent effects.[12]

They ultimately argued that Europeanization included both the domestic and EU levels of policymaking and stressed on the interdependence between the two.

1.3 Understanding Europeanization

The provisional definitions described in previous chapters raise various questions about nature of Europeanization and to be more specific, what kind of change is Europeanization and what not.

Europeanization could be interpreted in many ways. Europeanization is not static but a dynamic term. Recently a lot of research has been done about the term Europeanization. Scholars of European Integration increasingly deploy the concept of Europeanization to assess the European sources of domestic policies. Recent research on Europeanization focuses on wider changes in organizational logic of national politics and policymaking.

Radaelli rightly says that in order to avoid the danger of conceptual stretching, one need to specify not only what Europeanization is but also what it is not. Europeanization should not be confused with convergence, divergence, harmonization or political integration.[13]

Convergence might be a consequence of European Integration, but it must not be used synonymously with Europeanization because there is a difference between a process and its consequence. Harmonization of national policies is very often the basic aim of European Integration but empirical studies suggest that Europeanization often manifests another and different impact of European requirement on domestic policies.

Europeanization is somehow related to outcome of the European Integration process. Relationship between Europeanization and European Integration is further elaborated in forthcoming chapters.

1.4 Debating Europeanization

Here once again I refer to viable definition of Europeanization stated in earlier chapter i.e. “Europeanization is domestic change caused by European Integration and policy making at European level”. Europeanization is reflected in the domestic change. Degree of Europeanization is measured by the level of domestic change. Hence I proceed to discuss, how domestic change happens.

Two conditions must be fulfilled, when we expect domestic change. They are:

a. Europeanization must be inconvenient.[14] European level policy must be incompatible with policy at domestic level. Unless there is presence of some element of incompatibility, change can not be expected. There must be certain degree of “misfit” between the process at European level and the process at domestic level. Nature and level of ‘fit’ or ‘misfit’ factor determines adaptation pressures.
b. Existence of misfit factor alone is not sufficient and per se it does not lead to Europeanization. Hence second condition is about presence of facilitating or mediating factors, which respond to adaptation pressures. These factors are actors as well as institutions. Facilitating or mediating factors help to achieve Europeanization.

Adaptation Pressures

There are two theories, which provide explanations about adaptation pressures.

Rationalist institutionalist perspective follows “logic of Consequentalism”. This logic explains that misfit between European and domestic processes create both opportunities and constraints. And hence domestic impact depend on capacity of actors to exploit these opportunities and avoid constraints. They emphasis on existence of institutions and regard them as main facilitators of domestic change.

Other sociological institutionalist perspective follow “logic of appropriateness”: They argue that socialization and collective learning process result in norm internalization and development of new identities. Here strong presence of cooperative political as the main mediating factor is recommended.

These two logics are not mutually exclusive. Attempts to deal with them exclusively or their exclusive deployment should be avoided, because very often they occur simultaneously and describe different faces in a single process of adaptation change.

1.5 Comparing Europeanization and Economic Integration

Europeanization and European Integration are not one and the same.. There are similarities as well as differences. For example Europeanization or European Integration could be labelled as a process or as a consequence, depending on circumstances.

Definition given by Hix and Goetz, stated in earlier chapter, describe European Integration as an independent variable and changes in domestic systems or Europeanization as dependent variable. Here Europeanization could be understood as the process of downloading European Union directives, regulations and institutional structures to domestic level. However this is valid if Europeanization is always an outcome of the changes at domestic level. But on occasions, when domestic level affects European Integration, then the variables are reversed. Here Europeanization could be interpreted as uploading to the EU common beliefs, informal and formal rules, discourse, identities and vertical and horizontal policy transfer. The distinction between European Integration and Europeanization as dependent and independent variables is not valid.

1.6 Identifying Europeanization with Globalization

The term Globalization should be understood before we make an attempt to understand Europeanization. Economic pressures from Globalization are closely connected with increasing Europeanization.

Europeanization should not be misunderstood as regional variation of Globalization. In fact Europeanization could be described as protective layer against the negative impacts of Globalization for member countries. Europeanization has tremendously helped member countries’ competitiveness through discipline of monetary integration and economies of scale contributed by Single European Market. European Economic policies have helped member countries by adopting various measures such as common agricultural policies, anti-dumping measures and common industrial policies.

Various member countries have felt the economic constraints arising from globalization differently depending upon their economic vulnerabilities.

Greater the degree of economic vulnerabilities, more are the economic constraints. These economic constraints have forced some countries to go for Europeanization, because they were in search of protective layer against negative impact of globalization.


[1] Huntington, Samuel P.: Kampf der Kulturen

Übersetzt von: Fliessbach, Holger

Siedler Taschenbücher, München, 1998

[2] Olsen, Johan P.: The Many Faces of Europeanization

Arena Working Papers, WP ½ , 2002

[3] Börzel, TA and Risse, T: When Europe Hits Home: Europeanization and Domestic Change

European Integration Online Papers Vol. 4 No 15

[4] Ibid.2

[5] Ladrech, R: Europeanization of Domestic Policies: The case of France

Journal of common Market Studies (1994) P. 70

[6] Risse, Cowles and Caporaso : Europeanization and Domestic Change

In: Transforming Europe. Europeanization and Domestic Change

Cornell University Press, Ithaca (2001) P.3

[7] Hix and Goetz: Europeanized Politics. European Integration and National Political System

Frank Class, London(2001) P. 27

[8] Börzel: Toward convergence in Europe?

Institutional Adaptation to Europeanization in Germany and Spain

Journal of Common Market Studies (1999) P.574

[9] Dyson, K. und Goetz, K. : Germany and Europe : Beyond Congruence

Presented at Germany and Europe : A Europeanized Germany

Conference British Academy, 2002 P.17

[10] Buller, J and Gamble, A.: Conceptualizing Europeanization. Public Policy and Administration Special Issue, Understanding the Europeanization of Public Policy, Vol.17 No. 2 PP 4-24, 2002, P. 17

[11] Dyson, K.: Introduction : EMU as Integration, Europeanization and Convergence

In Dyson, K. (ed.) European State and Euro

Oxford University Press , 2002 P.3

[12] Featherstone, K. and Kazamias, G. (Eds.) : Europeanization and Southern Periphery

Frank Class, London , 2001

[13] Radaelli, Claudio M.: Whither Europeanization? Concept stretching and substantive change

European Integration online Papers, Vol. 4, 2000, P. 5,6

[14] Börzel, TA and Risse, T: When Europe Hits Home: Europeanization and Domestic Change

European Integration Online Papers Vol. 4 No 15,2000, P.1


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Title: How Europeanization is heading towards a clustered convergence?