Policy windows, ambiguity and Commission entrepreneurship: explaining the relaunch of the European Union's economic reform agenda
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Journal of European Public Policy
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This article explains the relaunch of the European Union's (EU) economic reform agenda in 2010. After repeated delays during 2009, the European Commission scaled back its initial plan for a revived social dimension and instead proposed a strengthened governance architecture of economic surveillance. Using the multiple streams framework we argue that the new Europe 2020 strategy which emerged is a product of two overlapping policy windows which opened suddenly in the problem stream (the Greek sovereign debt crisis) and politics stream (shifting institutional dynamics). This created a window of opportunity for skilful policy entrepreneurs to 'couple' the three streams by reframing the existing Lisbon Strategy as the EU's exit strategy from the crisis. The article contributes to understanding policy change under conditions of ambiguity by demonstrating the causal significance of key temporal and ideational dynamics: the timing of policy windows; access to information signals; and the role of policy entrepreneurs. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.