Logo Logo
Switch Language to German

Kriegmair, Lisa; Rittberger, Berthold; Zangl, Bernhard and Heinkelmann-Wild, Tim (2021): Dolce far niente? Non-compliance and blame avoidance in the EU. In: West European Politics, Vol. 45, No. 5: pp. 1153-1174

Full text not available from 'Open Access LMU'.


The politicisation of the EU renders blame avoidance for unpopular EU policies an essential task for governments. This article looks at one particular blame avoidance strategy, which governments have at their disposal in the EU policy process: the threat of non-compliance. In order to gauge its effectiveness, we present two competing arguments. According to the blame avoidance hypothesis, non-compliance enables governments to shift responsibility for unpopular policies to the EU, because the public lacks knowledge about EU policy-making. Conversely, the blame attraction hypothesis posits that threats of non-compliance will backfire and blame will stick with the government, because non-compliance mobilises constituents favouring compliance with EU rules. We test these hypotheses by analysing blame attributions in the news media covering the Italian government's threat not to comply with the EU budget provisions in 2018. The findings support the blame attraction hypothesis, suggesting that domestic compliance constituents can impede governments' blame-shifting attempts. Supplemental data for this article can be accessed online at: https://doi.org/10.1080/01402382.2021.1909938 .

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item