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Explaining Policy Conflict across Institutional Venues: European Union-Level Struggles over the Memory of the Holocaust


  • I would like to thank the participants of the panel ‘Memory and World War II’ at the 19th International Conference of Europeanists, Boston, MA, March 2012, for their insightful comments on a draft of this article. I am also grateful to three anonymous JCMS referees for their helpful suggestions.


Annabelle Littoz-Monnet

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

16, chemin de la Voie-Creuse

1202 Geneva




After the 2004 eastern enlargement, the European Union has become a terrain of competition between different memory narratives. At the core of the debate is the status of the Holocaust and its role in the identity-definition process of European societies. This article asks why similar memory debates have resulted in different policy outcomes when taking place in different institutional settings at the EU level. It finds, along with Schattschneider's analysis of policy conflicts, that the choice of the venue of the conflict determined what the conflict was about and how people were divided. Policy outcomes were determined by which of the different possible conflicts gained the dominant position and this, in turn, depended on ‘losers’ in the policy debate being able to choose the right venue for the defence of their concerns.