By Sebastiaan Princen (auth.)
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These conflicts are the stuff that politics are made of, no matter whether we are talking about the Arab–Israeli conflict in the Middle East, debates on social insurance reform in Western welfare states, or the siting of a new road in local politics. Since agendas consist of issues, an important question is: where do these issues come from? Or: why do political actors define something as a political issue? ), two sources of issues on international agendas can be discerned: the international environment, and the actors themselves.
3 Institutional opportunities and constraints in the EU The discussions above showed how the EU’s institutional set-up affects processes of conflict expansion and framing. In addition, agenda-setting in the EU is affected by its combination of many access points and demanding decision-making rules. As Guy Peters (1994; 2001) has noted, the existence of many access points to the EU policymaking process makes it relatively easy to get an issue onto the agenda of at least one participant in that process.
One and the same actor may even act out of a combination of different motives when pushing for a policy at the European level. Moreover, political actors from member states may be joined in their quest by actors from EU 30 Agenda-Setting in the European Union institutions, which have an institutional interest in expanding their competences and the EU’s range of activities. In this sense, EU institutions are not just passive venues, waiting for issues and demands from other political actors to come their way, but active players who try to promote issues themselves by taking initiatives and developing policy debates.
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