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Public Policy and the New European Agendas

Edited by Fergus Carr and Andrew Massey

This broad and all-encompassing study focuses on Europe’s new policy agendas. It brings together international academic experts on a range of policies to discuss Europe’s place in the world and its relationship to the USA and beyond. This book concentrates on two key themes of particular salience for policy makers: the enlargement of the EU and the place of Europe in international politics. An expansive list of important policy areas within these themes is explored.
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Chapter 1: Public Policy and Administration in Europe

Andrew Massey


1 Andrew Massey Today, political leaders throughout Europe are facing a real paradox. On the one hand, Europeans want them to find solutions to the major problems confronting our societies. On the other hand, people increasingly distrust institutions and politics or are simply not interested in them. (Commission of the European Communities, European Governance: a White Paper, 2001, p. 3) ‘Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!’ (Thomas Gradgrind, in Charles Dickens’s Hard Times (1854), London: Hazel Watson) The fictional Thomas Gradgrind represents a vivid portrayal of the positivistic approach to the pursuit of knowledge, a belief that reality exists and its laws and manifestations may be discovered through empirical observation and experimentation. It has long been recognized within social science, however, that ‘pure’ ‘empirical knowledge of how institutions work is impossible and thus not very meaningful. It is impossible since the representation of empirical facts is always based on particular concerns, and assumptions’ (Diez and Wiener, 2004, p. 4). It has become almost a cliché, therefore, to point out that ‘facts’ are understood and interpreted via the use...

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