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Chapter

Cover Foundations of European Politics

3. Multilevel Politics in Europe  

Thsi chapter considers territory in European politics. The idea is that policy-making in Europe acts like a system of multilevel governance. Here, policy authority which exists at the national level, is increasingly being shared with institutions at the supranational European Union (EU) level and by regional governments at the subnational level. The chapter also looks at concepts such as pooling, delegation of policy authority, federalism, and decentralization. Although we tend to think of nation-states as the building blocks of modern politics, more and more, this chapter agues, we must consider how these so-called building blocks interact with each other and also what they themselves are made up of. This is where the term multilevel governance is relevant. This term characterizes the complex relationship of policy authority between political actors situated at different territorial levels of governance.

Chapter

Cover European Union Politics

7. Governance in the European Union  

Thomas Christiansen

This chapter provides an overview of the ‘governance turn’ in the study of European integration. Opening with a discussion of the reasons why governance as a concept and as a practice has become so prevalent in Europe, the chapter goes on to discuss the various ways in which the governance approach has evolved. Two strands of this literature—‘multilevel governance’ and the ‘regulatory state’—are examined in greater detail here. The chapter then introduces some of the important normative debates to which the ‘governance turn’ has given rise, before concluding with some observations about the relevance of the governance approach in the current phase of European integration.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the European Union

2. Theories of EU Governance  

This chapter examines theories of European Union governance. As European integration progressed, the academic focus began to shift from explaining the integration process to understanding the EU as a political system. As such, EU scholars increasingly drew on approaches from the study of domestic and comparative politics. This chapter surveys a number of approaches that focus on the EU as a political system. These approaches are quite varied and include new institutionalism, governance, and policy network approaches. At the end of the chapter attention is turned to some of the overall characterizations of EU governance that also offer valuable insights: supranational governance; new intergovernmentalism; and differentiated integration.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

12. Multilevel governance  

Liesbet Hooghe, Gary Marks, and Arjan H. Schakel

This chapter examines multilevel governance, the dispersion of authority to jurisdictions within and beyond national states. It summarizes the tremendous growth of multilevel governance since the Second World War, and reviews the major theories that seek to explain this. Whereas economists and public policy analysts explain multilevel governance as a functionalist adaptation to the provision of public goods, sociologists and political scientists focus on the effects of territorial identity and distributional conflict. These approaches complement each other, and today researchers draw on them to explain variation over time and across space. The chapter concludes by discussing three topics that have been affected by multilevel governance: democratic representation, ethno-territorial conflict, and social policy.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

11. Multilevel Governance  

Liesbet Hooghe, Gary Marks, and Arjan H. Schakel

This chapter examines multilevel governance, the dispersion of authority to jurisdictions within and beyond national states. It summarizes the tremendous growth of multilevel governance since World War II, and reviews the major theories that seek to explain this. Whereas economists and public policy analysts explain multilevel governance as a functionalist adaptation to the provision of public goods, sociologists and political scientists focus on the effects of territorial identity and distributional conflict. These approaches complement each other, and today researchers draw on them to explain variation over time and across space. The chapter concludes by discussing three topics that have been affected by multilevel governance: democratic representation, ethno-territorial conflict, and social policy.

Chapter

Cover Policy-Making in the European Union

10. Cohesion Policy  

Doing More with Less

John Bachtler and Carlos Mendez

European Union cohesion policy accounts for a major share of the EU budget and aims to reduce economic, social, and territorial disparities through investment programmes and projects aligned with EU strategic objectives and implemented under a unique model of multi-level governance. This chapter reviews the evolution of cohesion policy over successive reform phases, how the policy is implemented, and the evidence for its effectiveness. It also discusses the different policy modes encompassed in the policy, and it reviews recent political developments relating to politicization, Brexit, the sectoralization of EU spending, and the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic. The chapter concludes that the resourcing, priorities, and governance of cohesion policy for 2021–27 represent a new turning point in the prospects for the policy, following the strategic turns of 2006 and 2013 (Bachtler et al. 2013). While the budget for cohesion policy remains substantial, the policy’s importance is diminishing as a result of greater centralization of political decision-making within the Commission, a fragmentation of the political constituencies for cohesion policy, and the dominance of non-spatial EU policy priorities with centralized delivery mechanisms.