Chapter 5 focuses on the Council of Europe´s debates on the entrepreneurial action plans: the Small Business Act for Europe and the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan. The chapter shows how the Council has acted as a political entrepreneur by adopting policies and policy measures that are favourable to entrepreneurs. As institutions determine the set of rules, they therefore have an important impact on entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial possibilities and can therefore be regarded as key to the foundation of entrepreneurship and self-employment. In responding to the 2008 crisis, the EU has tried to support innovative policies and measures for economic growth. The assumption that entrepreneurship is the basis for a growing economy has led the EU and national governments to promote entrepreneurship. The analysis shows that the Council has acted as a political entrepreneur by using the crises as a window of opportunity through which to place entrepreneurship on the political agenda.
Chapter 6 explores how the European Parliament (EP) has addressed the issue of entrepreneurship. In contrast to the European Commission or the Council of the European Union, the EP is a more heterogeneous institution constituted by different political parties, committees, politicians and bureaucrats. By analysing parliamentary debates, the author demonstrates how the EP has used its policy-influencing instruments to act as a political entrepreneur and to define entrepreneurship in a broader sense. The debates on the Small Business Act and The European Private Company (EPC) Statute show that the EP has extended the discussion on entrepreneurship by introducing legal and social aspects which have led to innovative approaches to promoting the common good. In addition, the EP has been able to influence the decision-making process and enhance the open method of coordination.
Europe 2020 aims to strengthen a social market economy by emphasising smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. European leaders have been under increasing pressure since 2008 to adopt new policy programmes in order to overcome the effects of the global financial crisis. Since the economies of the various member states were severely affected by the crisis and its consequences, headline targets in five main policy areas and flagship initiatives were formulated with a view to promoting growth in Europe. To date, research has focused primarily on the various policy actions and their impacts on the economies of the member states. Little is known about the controversial discussions within the European Union (EU) institutions while the strategy was being formulated and adopted. This chapter therefore examines the role of the European Council and the Council of the EU in this policy process. The results demonstrate that the presidencies in both intergovernmental institutions served as political entrepreneurs and were able to impose their policy objectives.
Europe 2020 and its success are heavily dependent on the implementation of the strategy at national and regional level. In a multilevel governance system such as the EU, various actors at all levels are decisive for the realisation of the headline targets. While analyses have been conducted to assess the performance of member states in meeting the targets, little is known about how local and regional authorities and their involvement contribute to the strategy. Therefore, this chapter examines the role of local and regional authorities in implementing Europe 2020. The results demonstrate that the greater the involvement of local and regional authorities, the better member states perform in achieving the national targets. This applies especially to policy areas where local and regional actors have more extensive competencies. The results further illustrate that the potential and room for political entrepreneurs to shape policies is highest at the regional level.