Europeanisation By Under-Regulation? the Role of Brokering Agencies in the (Informal) Care Market Between Germany and Poland
Europeanisation literature points to the fact that negative integration (market making) and legal uncertainties create opportunity structures inviting actors to pursue their interests. Our hypothesis in the paper is that also in the field of care migration regulation gaps of the multi-level system, legal uncertainty and a lack of European and national enforcement (capacity) have created new opportunity structures for market actors such as the above mentioned brokering agencies. While many of these agencies are prone to ‘strain’ the law, resulting at times in severe violations of minimum standards for decent work and human rights, certain agencies seem to have recognised the importance of quality and legitimacy for their competitive advantage. Particularly in Germany, associations of brokering agencies have emerged, working on the enhancement of the still rather unethical image of that sector, building on voluntary commitments to (both care and work) quality standards for their members. Interestingly, at least in parts of the sector, under-regulation by public authorities seems to be answered by self-regulation of the private market actors. These developments may be seen as an example of how transnational actors develop new regulatory mechanisms beyond the nation-state. Based on a literature study and first explorative expert interviews with agency representatives, understanding in-depth the functioning of such mechanisms of Europeanisation is the core aim of this paper.