Content: The European integration process has engendered a new and unique form of governance, which has been conceptualised as "multi-level governance". This approach perceives the European polity as highly differentiated and integrated both "vertically and horizontally". It sees political power not as concentrated, but spread over territorial levels and decision-making arenas. These levels and arenas do not follow a hierarchical arrangement: The supranational institutions are neither superimposed upon the Member States; nor are the Member States and their regions subordinated to the supranational institutions. The complexity of the European multi-level system imposes particular strains and challenges for three main aspects of governance:
(1) Coordination i.e. the management of complexity in multi-level systems.
(2) Co-operation i.e. interaction of actors on various levels and within various arenas.
(3) Control i.e. the challenges this system poses for democratic legitimacy. These three main points will serve as a framework for the research tasks within the joint work programme.
Objectives: Although the study of European integration and the transformation of European governance has been a fertile site for theoretical development and research, solid empirical work is still rather scarce. This joint programme aims to fill this "gap" by going beyond the mere description of empirical differences between different (case-) studies. It aims to come up with theoretically sound explanations (and predictions) of the problem-solving capacity of the multi- level system. This objective is to be achieved by focusing on different factors and causal-mechanisms that lead to specific results in selected policy areas.
Funding SchemeNET - Research network contracts
NW1 3SR London