The Council of the EU in Times of Economic Crisis: A Policy Entrepreneur for the Internal Market

Brigitte Pircher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


While many studies have focused on the European Commission and its potential to act as a policy entrepreneur, little research has been undertaken into how intergovernmental institutions as a whole are able to shape and advocate certain policies. This article fills that gap by analysing debates in the Council of the European Union on two major strategies: The Small Business Act for Europe and the Europe 2020 strategy. These debates were analysed using newspaper articles in the daily bulletins of Agence Europe, yielding 469 statements which were qualitatively evaluated by means of content analysis. The results demonstrate that the Council as a whole is able to act as a policy entrepreneur if certain conditions are met, namely a common interest and political goal among member states, a need for economic measures due to a crisis situation, and the possibility of shifting unpopular decisions to Brussels.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Contemporary European Research
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)65-81
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • European integration
  • EU institutions
  • Council of the EU
  • Economic crisis
  • Policy entrepreneur
  • Internal market

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