Linking EU and National Governance

Linking EU and National Governance

Linking EU and National Governance

Linking EU and National Governance

Synopsis

European governance ranks high on the present research agenda on Europe. Based on extensive, new, empirical research, this book presents a systematic and broad-ranging view of the multi-faceted interdependence of EU and national governance.

Excerpt

Helen Wallace

'Governance' has become the catchword in both academic and practitioner discussions of how the European Union (EU) currently operates, as well as in the competition of propositions to improve the operating performance of the eu. in the absence of a European government, governance, a fuzzier concept, has emerged as an apparently more malleable term for addressing the way in which the eu operates. Well before it became so fashionable as a term of art among practitioners, the academic community had embraced 'governance' as a usefully broad frame for analysing the diffuse range of political processes through which policies emerge and politics is practised in and around the eu.

One reason for the adoption of governance is as an antidote to traditional studies of government, a term which implies a tidier and more ordered hierarchy of authority and more concentrated focus of politics than we find in many contemporary societies. Another reason is that the political process of the eu is incomplete, polity not state, and indeed built from a consortium of states each of which has a government of its own. a third reason is that a focus on governance creates space for an extended analysis of eu politics and policy without taking a position on what the end result of the process of European political integration might be, allowing us to analyse what happens at the meso-level of eu politics (Pollack, Jachtenfuchs, and Wessels 2001).

Governance is, however, by virtue of its fuzziness, also a contested term. As Rhodes (1996) has pointed out, there is a range of different usages of the term, some more precise than others. But there may be more to this range than careful analytical distinctions. Social scientists are, to some extent, the product of both the intellectual and the social traditions in which they deploy their professional skills. Hence, we can observe some differences in and contrasts between the commentaries that come from

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