Department of Political Science


European Public Policy

The European Union is a rapidly growing influence on all aspects of public policy in the UK, across the EU's Member States and beyond the region. Understanding supranational decision-processes and their normative foundation is therefore increasingly important for any student of domestic and global public policy in the 21st century. 

Research Summary

Our team engages in high quality research, addressing key empirical puzzles and normative questions faced by the European Union and its Member States. Drawing on various disciplinary, theoretical and methodological approaches, our research focuses on three aspects in particular:

  1. The European polity and its normative foundations
  2. Lobbying and regulation in Europe
  3. EU decision-making and institutions.

Our research on European politics is horizontal, cutting across and pooling the Department's expertise in the fields of:

Members of the research team have received funding from both EU and UK research foundations for their work, and all are involved in European and international research networks. Prof. Richard Bellamy and Prof. David Coen have also written reports for, and given invited presentations to, Commission bodies and the European Parliament. Four of the Department’s courses have also been recognised as Jean Monnet Modules by the European Commission.

These core team members interact closely with a number of colleagues in the Department, whose work on democracy and democratisation (Dr. Sherrill Stroschein), citizenship and multiculturalism (Prof. Cécile Laborde), intrastate conflicts (Dr. Kristin M. Bakke), International Political Economy (Dr. David Hudson), and international security (Dr. Alex Braithwaite) focuses on related research questions.

Research Team


    Research Themes

    1. Constitutionalism, Democracy and Citizenship

    The reform of Europe's political system, the drafting of a European "Constitution", and the question of the EU's normative foundations are key issues in public-political and academic debates. Our research addresses these issues in three ways:

    Richard Bellamy has a long-standing interest in applying normative theory to the understanding of constitutionalism, democracy and citizenship in modern societies. One of the leading authorities in normative EU scholarship, he has co-edited three volumes on Citizenship and Governance in the European Union, Lineages of European Citizenship, and Making European Citizens that arise from major Leverhulme, EU and ESRC projects respectively. With Dario Castiglione and others he has also written extensively on both the constitutional process within the EU and its democratic deficit. He has developed a distinctive republican approach to these issues, that also has links with Cécile Laborde's work on citizenship, multiculturalism and republicanism.

    Christine Reh is interested in the process and procedure of EU Treaty reform and in the informal dimension of constitutional politics. She has published work in the Journal of Common Market Studies and Journal of European Public Policy and has co-authored a monograph on Constitutionalizing the European Union, analysing in depth the formal and informal dynamics of constitution-building in Europe since the 1950s (with Thomas Christiansen).

    In the framework of the Department's programme on Democracy and Democratisation Sherrill Stroschein looks at the politics of ethnicity in democratic and democratising states. Much of her research examines these dynamics within new EU Member States such as Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia, but she also works on the Balkans as another focal point for the EU. Kristin M. Bakke’s work explores how institutions such as decentralization or federalism can or cannot help contain intrastate conflicts in internally divided states, comparing self-determination struggles in three federations: Russia, India, and Canada. She further studies dynamics of post-war societies, particularly in Bosnia and the North Caucasus region of Russia.

    2. Lobbying and Regulation in Europe

    Our second area of research addresses pertinent questions of European governance, in particular the role played by organised interest and regulation in Europe. We address these questions in two projects: 

    David Coen's research is firmly embedded in the development of models and processes of EU Public Policy. More specifically, his research models and maps EU Business-Government Relations. This research addresses how far firms have developed distinct Brussels lobbying strategies and the consequences for domestic business-government systems and EU institutional development. The project considers the formal effects of EU forum politics, the Commission as a policy entrepreneur, and implications for insider and outsider interests in the EU policy process and lobbying best practices. David Coen's second research theme on EU regulatory reform studies the emergence of EU regulatory agencies and network governance in the Securities, Telecommunications and Energy sectors, and the convergence and continued differences in the regulatory regimes in Germany and the UK

    3. EU Decision-Making and Institutions

    Our third area of research links the study of European politics with wider debates about international decision-making, informal politics and the design and reform of legitimate international institutions. We address these questions in two ways: 

    Christine Reh is interested in the theory and practice of international negotiation and decision-making. Her work combines theories of argumentation, delegation and negotiation with empirical research on constitutional choice in Europe. She focuses in particular on the conditions under which complex international negotiations can be prepared effectively, and on the role played by negotiation styles and types of agreement. Her work on argumentation and compromise is closely linked to Richard Bellamy's, who has applied theories on the politics of compromise to negotiations in the Convention on the Future of Europe. Christine Reh's current research links her interest in informal decision-making with broader questions of legitimate governance and institutional design beyond the nation state, and she has been awarded an ESRC Research Grant to study recent developments in the EU’s legislative procedure. This two-year project on "The Informal Politics of Co-Decision" is conducted jointly with Prof. Adrienne Héritier (European University Institute) and investigates why, how and with which consequences EU decision-making is increasingly "fast-tracked" and shifted from public, inclusive to informal, secluded arenas.

    Completed Projects

    Leverhulme Trust project on European Citizenship

    Richard Bellamy was the Principal Investigator and co-ordinated a Thematic Network on this topic for the TSER FP IV Programme of the European Commission.

    Three year ESRC project on "Sovereignty and Citizenship in a Mixed Polity"

    Richard Bellamy was the co-researcher (with Dario Castiglione, University of Exeter)

    ESRC "One Europe or Several"

    A Programme project on "Strategies of Civic Inclusion in Pan-European Civil Society" Richard Bellamy was the co-researcher and with Dario Castiglione and Jo Shaw, University of Edinburgh.

    "Democracy Task Force" of the FP6 NEWGOV

    With Andreas Follesdal, University of Oslo, Dario Castiglione, and Albert Weale, University of Essex, Richard Bellamy formed the "Democracy Task Force" of the FP6 NEWGOV project coordinated by the European University Institute in Florence.

    David Coen's seminal study of business lobbying in the EU

    David Coen's seminal study of business lobbying in the EU charted the rise of direct lobbying in Brussels and the emergence of a distinct European public policy style. The studies published in journals such as European Union Politics (2003), Journal of European Public Policy (1997)and Journal of Public Policy (1998) redefined EU interest studies by shifting the intellectual debate from a discussion on Corporatism to Elite Pluralism. In addition to the empirical research, his work has developed formal models of EU interest politics and explored how European institutions encourage Europeanisation (see Journal of European Public Policy 2007). This body of work is further enhanced by a major co-edited volume with Jeremy Richardson on Lobbying the European Union: Institutions, Actors and Policy (Oxford UP 2009). In terms of regulatory institutional design, Prof. Coen co-directed an Anglo-German project (1999-2002) with Adrienne Héritier (then Max Planck Institute, Bonn) on comparative business/regulator relationships. This research resulted in a co-authored research monograph called Refining Regulatory Regimes: Utilities in Europe (Edward Elgar, 2005).

    FP 6 NEWGOV project (2004-2007): Networks of national regulatory authorities

    His current regulatory project funded by the FP 6 NEWGOV project (2004-2007), in collaboration with the LSE, looks at networks of national regulatory authorities. This project has resulted in papers in West European Politics (2008) and the Journal of Public Policy (2008). A major practitioners' seminar with EU and government officials was held in Brussels in May 2008.

    Related Publications

    Richard Bellamy
    • "Still in Deficit: Rights, Regulation and Democracy in the EU". In: European Law Journal 12:6 (2006), 725-42.
    • Making European Citizens: Civic Inclusion in a Transnational Context. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2006 (co-edited with Dario Castiglione and Jo Shaw).
    • Lineages of European Citizenship: Rights, Membership and Participation in Eleven Nation States. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2004 (co-edited with Dario Castiglione and Emilio Santoro).
    • "The Normality of Constitutional Politics: An Analysis of the Drafting of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights". In: Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory 11:3 (2004), 412-33 (with Justus Schönlau).
    • Citizenship and Governance in the European Union. London: Continuum, 2001 (co-edited with Alex Warleigh).

    For a full list of publication’s see Richard Bellamy’s profile.

    David Coen
    • Lobbying the European Union: Institutions, Actors and Policy. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009 (co-edited with Jeremy Richardson)
    • "Reshaping European Regulatory Space: An Evolutionary Analysis". In: West European Politics 31:1 (2008), 806-836 (with Mark Thatcher).
    • "Network Governance and Multi-level Delegation: European Networks of Regulatory Agencies". In: Journal of Public Policy 28:1 (2008), 73-92 (with Mark Thatcher).
    • "New Market Governance". Special issue of Governance, 25:3 (2005) (co-edited with Mark Thatcher).

    For a full list of publication’s see David Coen’s profile.

    Christine Reh
    • "The Informal Politics of Legislation: Explaining Secluded Decision-Making in the European Union” (with Adrienne Héritier, Edoardo Bressanelli and Christel Koop). In: Comparative Political Studies 2013, forthcoming. Available OnlineFirst at: http://cps.sagepub.com/content/early/recent
    • "Reshaping European Regulatory Space: An Evolutionary Analysis". In: West European Politics 31:1 (2008), 806-836 (with Mark Thatcher).
    • "Network Governance and Multi-level Delegation: European Networks of Regulatory Agencies". In: Journal of Public Policy 28:1 (2008), 73-92 (with Mark Thatcher).
    • "New Market Governance". Special issue of Governance, 25:3 (2005) (co-edited with Mark Thatcher).

    Invited PhD Applications

    The Department invites PhD applications in any of the above areas and welcomes students with a background in Political Science, Public Policy, International Relations, Political Theory, or a related discipline such as History, Law, Sociology or Economics. For further details see our MPhil/PhD programme.

    Related Research Centres

    Beyond the School of Public Policy, UCL contains a number of interdisciplinary centres for research on European integration and wider Europe: