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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.


Cover The Institutions of the European Union

16. The European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions:  

consultative institutions in a multichannel democracy

Gabriele Abels

This chapter investigates the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of the Regions (CoR), two bodies established in 1957 and 1992, respectively. Both Committees are consultative; their rationale is to provide expertise to EU legislators and to represent functional respectively territorial interests. These organs share a number of similarities with regard to their legal basis and policymaking influence. Both have pursued diverse activities beyond their official mandates in a quest to find their own identities and exercise voice in the EU system. This chapter analyses these committees with regard to their development, membership, and activities, illustrating how both embraced timely topics and seek to involve themselves in the larger debate on the future of Europe. Thereby, they contribute to the EU’s development as a complex, multilevel, and multichannel democracy.


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.