Supranational institutions, path dependence and EU policy\ud development: the cases of student and patient mobility
JN0030 | LC0213 | RA0418
The purpose of the present study is, by employing the methods of process-tracing and pattern-matching, to compare the policy-processes with regards to the cases of student and patient mobility. While the case-study approach to EU policy-making from a comparative perspective was introduced in the late 1970s, so far there has not been a study, which compares the cases of student and patient mobility. This gap in the academic literature is important in order to examine what conclusions can be drawn from such a comparison and as a result their consistency with previous theoretical work. In particular, and in contrast to current theoretical themes in the field of European studies and in the policy studies literature more generally, both of which stress policy change as opposed to policy stability, the comparison stresses the latter due to the interests of the most powerful member-states, that is, France, Germany and Britain. The role of interests is manifested with the adoption of the Erasmus Programme and of the European Health Insurance Card, which do not concern the free movement of students and patients. Through a synthesis between liberal intergovernmentalism and the concept of path-dependence it has been possible to create a model in order to explain why those particular policies were chosen when the alternative of free movement was also available. This interest-based account comes in direct opposition with those studies which stress the role of ideas in the policy-process but it also emphasizes the role played by the supranational institutions more specifically the Commission and the court.