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“Manifestations of Policy Learning in Greece and Southern Europe: The Case of EU Soft Law”

Eleftheria (Thenia) Vagionaki, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Hellenic Studies

December 8, 2023 · 12:00 pm1:20 pm · 103 Scheide Caldwell

Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies; Paul S. Sarbanes ‘54 Fund for Hellenism and Public Service

Do European Union soft law instruments such as the Open Method of Coordination and, more recently, the European Semester promote policy learning in Greece? If so, what types of policy learning are observed? If not, why? These are the key questions my lecture raises. On a theoretical level, I present a typology of policy learning that covers different types of learning within soft modes of governance. (The latter refers to non-binding EU instruments – for example, recommendations instead of directives.) On an empirical level, I present findings that cover a critical period of contemporary Greek politics: the years preceding the 2008 financial crisis and the first years of the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs). My findings demonstrate not only a variety of learning types in Greece but, most importantly, that specific political and administrative conditions, such as high levels of bureaucracy, influence policy learning. I also offer insights into the post-2018 period when Greece gradually exited the MoUs. Finally, I compare Greece and two other Southern European countries, Spain and Italy, in terms of policy learning via EU soft law.

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