The Power of Indicators in Making European States Governable in the Europe 2020 Strategy

  • Maria Åkerman
  • Otto Auranen
  • Laura Valkeasuo
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology book series (PSEPS)


The European Union (EU) is fundamentally an economic union. It was formed in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome. The initial target of the six founding members was to begin a process towards a European single market. This project focused mainly on the removal of barriers to free trade between the parties of the treaty. However, from the very beginning there was also an aim towards deeper political co-operation and a broader European project. Today, this has resulted in a union of 28 states with different industrial and public finance structures, political governing systems, social policy targets, national health systems, agricultural production structures and changing domestic political settings. During the last decades, the EU has been focusing (more or less) on closer integration in terms of a common constitution, a monetary union, and taking steps towards common foreign and security policy. Simultaneously, voices critical of closer integration and increased power of the union over its member states have become louder, ultimately leading to the decision of the UK to exit the EU as a result of a referendum in 2016. One of the key arguments of those advocating the Brexit decision was the claim that the UK would be economically stronger and better off outside the union, and would have the power to decide its own financial and economic policies.


  1. Alasuutari, P., and A. Qadir. 2014. Epistemic Governance: An Approach to the Politics of Policy- Making. European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology 1 (1): 67–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Callon, M., and J. Law. 2005. On Qualculation, Agency, and Otherness. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 23: 717–733.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Callon, M., and F. Muniesa. 2005. Economic Markets as Collective Calculative Devices. Organization Studies 26: 1229–1250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Crafts, N., and G. Toniolo. 1996. Economic Growth in Europe Since 1945. Cambridge: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. European Commission. 2010a. Lisbon Strategy Evaluation Document, Commission Staff Working Document, SEC(2010) 114 final. Accessed 9 June 2017.
  6. ———. 2010b. EUROPE 2020. A Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, Communication from the Commission, COM (2010) 2020 Final. Brussels, March 3.Google Scholar
  7. Gudmundsson, H. 2003. The Policy Use of Environmental Indicators. Learning from Evaluation Research 2 (2): 1–12.Google Scholar
  8. Hezri, A.H., and S. Dovers. 2006. Sustainability Indicators, Policy and Governance: Issues for Ecological Economics. Ecological Economics 60: 86–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hinchliffe, S., M.B. Kearnes, M. Degan, and S. Whatmore. 2007. Ecologies and Economies of Action – Sustainability, Calculations and Other Things. Environment and Planning A: Environment and Planning 39: 260–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Innes, J., and D. Booher. 2000. Indicators for Sustainable Communities: A Strategy Building on Complexity Theory and Distributed Intelligence. Planning Theory & Practice 1 (2): 173–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Machlup, F. 1962. The Production and Distribution of Knowledge in the United States. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  12. McCann, D. 2010. The Political Economy of the European Union. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  13. Miller, P., and T. O’Leary. 1994. Governing the Calculable Person. In Accounting as Social and Institutional Practice, ed. A.G. Hopwood and P. Miller. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Mol, A. 2003. The Body Multiple. Ontology in Medical Practice. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Pohjola, M. 2002. The New Economy: Facts, Impacts and Policies. Information Economics and Policy 14 (2): 133–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Powell, W.W., and K. Snellman. 2004. The Knowledge Economy. Annual Review of Sociology 30 (2004): 199–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Rose, N., and P. Miller. 1992. Political Power Beyond the State: Problematics of Government. The British Journal of Sociology 43: 173–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rosenstrom, U. 2006. Exploring the Use of Sustainable Development Indicators: Interviews with Finnish Politicians. The Journal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies 5 (21): 1–13Google Scholar
  19. Rydin, Y. 2007. Indicators as a Governmental Technology? The Lessons of Community-Based Sustainability Indicator Projects. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 25: 610–624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Solow, R.M. 1957. Technical Change and the Aggregate Production Function. The Review of Economics and Statistics 3 (39): 312–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Swyngedouw, E. 2005. Governance Innovation and the Citizen: The Janus Face of Governance-Beyond-the-State. Urban Studies 42 (11): 1991–2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Szyszczak, E. 2006. Experimental Governance: The Open Method of Coordination. European Law Journal 12 (4): 486–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Turnhout, E., M. Hisschemöller, and H. Eijsackers. 2007. Ecological Indicators: Between the Two Fires of Science and Policy. Ecological Indicators 7: 215–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Vähämäki, J. 2009. Itsen alistus – Työ, tuotanto ja valta tietokykykapitalismissa [“Self-Subjucation: Work, Production and Power in Information-Ability-Capitalism”]. Helsinki: Like.Google Scholar
  25. Valkeasuo L. 2017. The Identity Work of Glocalization: The Case of European Science Policy, Academic Dissertation, University of Tampere, Finland.Google Scholar
  26. Valve, H., M. Akerman, and M. Kaljonen. 2013. “You Only Start Filling in the Boxes” Natural Resource Management and the Politics of Plan-Ability. Environment and Planning A 45 (9): 2084–2099.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Åkerman
    • 1
  • Otto Auranen
    • 2
  • Laura Valkeasuo
    • 3
  1. 1.VTT Technical Research Centre of FinlandEspooFinland
  2. 2.Academy of FinlandHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Research Foundation for Studies and Education OtusHelsinkiFinland

Personalised recommendations