Multi-level Processes and Organized Civil Society
Edited by Jeremy Kendall
Chapter 12: National Action Plans on Social Inclusion: Opportunities for the Third Sector?
Taco Brandsen, Emmanuele Pavolini, Costanzo Ranci, Birgit Sittermann and Annette Zimmer 12.1 Introduction The European Union’s influence on its member states is currently the topic of frequent discussion, under the label of Europeanization. One way to examine Europeanization is to study different ways in which the EU passes down policy concepts and requirements (cf. Knill and Lehmkuhl, 2002). Such pressure from the European Union may lead to a redistribution of influence and resources at the national level. By implication, this presents a window of opportunity for some actors, while others may lose their prominent position (Risse et al., 2001; Börzel, 2003). This chapter examines whether the National Action Plans on Social Inclusion (NAPincl or NAPs) in the early years of this decade presented such opportunities for the third sector. Did the EU actually change the national position of the third sector within the political system through this approach? And did the third sector’s involvement have repercussions for the third sector itself, by influencing the connections between different organizations? In the next section, we will start with a brief description of the empirical object of the chapter, the NAPincl on Social Inclusion and the Open Method of Coordination (OMC). Section 12.3 discusses our theoretical approach and methodology. Section 12.4, the main part of this chapter, will present the evidence we found at the national level. In Section 12.5, we will try to explain the results with reference to the concept of ‘goodnessof-fit’: how do EU guidelines for setting up the...
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