Journal of European Social Policy vol:21 issue:1 pages:55-72
This article analyses the effects of the European Social Fund (ESF) on domestic activation policies in the three Belgian regions: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. We argue that over the last decade the ESF has had a catalytic impact, first on the innovation of activation instruments, second on the governance of employment policies and third on policy framing. We explain how three different mechanisms (leverage, conditionality and learning) generate these effects and how they can account for a differential influence in different regions. We conclude by summarizing our research findings and framework, suggesting its usefulness for analyzing other domestic settings and European policy instruments.