Vanhercke B. and Verdun A.
JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, Volume 60, Issue 1, January
How and why did the European Semester end up as the main institutional vehicle of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF)? To what extent did this new set-up change the power balance among key actors? Drawing on historical institutionalism and based on 28 semi-structured interviews and document analysis, this article suggests that while social actors were initially side-lined and national executives strengthened, over time the pendulum is swinging back. Having more carrots and sticks suggests further strengthening the pivotal role of the Commission. Yet having the option of submitting national plans gives member states options too. The EU institutional response to the Covid-19 pandemic built on, and further cemented, the EU's socio-economic governance architecture.