EU-policies and fertility: the emergence and implementation of fertility issues at the supra-national level

Gerda R. Neyer, Stockholm University
Arianna Caporali, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Nora Sánchez Gassen, University of Southampton

The paper deals with the emergence and implementation of fertility-related policy issues at the European level. During the past decade the European Union has set several initiatives which address low fertility in Europe. Yet, the competences of the European Union to deal with fertility issues are limited to the policy areas in which the European Union has the right to legislate. It is not clear whether the recent EU initiatives mark an expansion of EU activities and whether they are thus as sign of the emergence of a new policy area within the EU, or whether established policy areas are expanded towards demographic issues. This paper traces the development of fertility relevant initiatives at the EU level starting with the Treaty of Rome in 1957 to the present. It provides insight into demographic activities at the EU-level through three investigations: First, it gives a quantitative overview over the development of the topics and legal types of initiatives since 1957. Second, it analyses the process of development with regard to the framing of the initiatives and the changes in framing over time. Third, it presents a content analysis of the initiatives to assess which demographic issues have become anchored in EU policies and which have remained marginal in EU discourses. This comprehensive approach allows us to assess to what extent and with which consequences the EU initiates are steps towards co-ordinated European policy effort to tackle fertility issues.

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Presented in Session 36: Linking policy and demographic trends: European and international perspectives