'Mission impossible', but mission accomplished: the Kinnock reforms and the European Commission

Kassim, Hussein ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7603-8377 (2008) 'Mission impossible', but mission accomplished: the Kinnock reforms and the European Commission. Journal of European Public Policy, 15 (5). pp. 648-668. ISSN 1466-4429

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The Kinnock reforms have unsurprisingly attracted attention, but important aspects have been overlooked in existing accounts. Closer inspection reveals three puzzles: an atypical pattern of administrative change, where a ‘big bang’ reform followed four decades of inaction; the adoption of a more radical set of measures by the Commission than was demanded of it; and the successful implementation of a far-reaching reform programme in defiance of the expectations of leading theories of administrative change. This article argues that these puzzles contradict the conclusion suggested by a casual reading of the developments. They reveal not an arrogant institution oblivious to its shortcomings and forced to change by external diktat, but an organization in a reform predicament: aware of its failings, but unable to remedy them through its own action. When crisis forced member governments to intervene, the Commission in a case of self-reform under delegation seized the ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity to implement an internal reform agenda.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies (former - to 2024)
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Political, Social and International Studies
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Policy & Politics
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Centre for Competition Policy
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2010 13:56
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2024 09:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/8785
DOI: 10.1080/13501760802133146

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