Informations and abstract
Keywords: Policy cycle, policy entrepreneurship, policy learning, public administra- tion, transnational cooperation.
Transnational cooperation involving actors from different Member States of the European Union is a key instrument of the EU Cohesion Policy. The aim of the article is to offer an assessment of the relevance of transnational networks to the social and labor policy cycle,based on an original application of both the rational choice model and the sociological model of institutionalism. Networks can make a significant contribution to specific phases of social and labor policymaking. To develop this hypothesis, the article opens the black box of interactions within one of those networks to identify the micro-dynamics in place and their potential impact on domestic policymaking, thus originally integrating the existing literature, which tends to look mainly at the supranational level when assessing the impact of networks. The methodology used in order to determine the impact of best practice exchange activities within transnational cooperation networks lays its foundations on a case study of the Employment Thematic Network. The tools used consisted in interviews with key informants and in the analysis of meeting records, employed for subsequent reconstruction of the network activities against the benchmark of the policy cycle phases: agenda setting, formulation, adoption, implementation and evaluation. Ultimately, the convergence of national social and labor policies produced through the dynamics highlighted is indicated as a contribution to the deepening of European integration.