Experts Networks and the European Commission on Demographic Change

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This paper examines who populates the expert and policy network around demographic change issues in Europe. We examine how competing policy departments in the European Commission Directorates-General (DGs) deal with the issue of Europe’s changing demography, as well as discuss the role of external experts on demographic change. Our findings suggest that on demographic change issues at the EU level, DG EMPL has taken the lead, while DG ECFIN is the secondary actor. Still, internal European Commission dynamics mean that the lead actor on demographic issues has less autonomy in articulating a funded and clear policy position on how to address them. As a consequence, there is little institutional memory and hardly a depository of activity on demographic change. While outside expertise comes primarily from demographers, and other scholars concerned with demographic change, they are primarily an academic community rather than heavily engaged in European policy formulation. As a consequence of these dynamics, the European mode of governance on demographic change issues suffers from a lack of both flexibility and direction. It is an important slow-burning issue that is captured by neither the ‘new intergovernmentalism’ nor the ‘new supranationalism’ in post-crisis European governance strategies. Rather, demographic change issues largely operate in a vacuum and make only sporadic appearances on the EU agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School, CBS
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This research was funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 project “European Legitimacy in Governing through Hard Times” (#649456-ENLIGHTEN).

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