The administrative-regulative dimension

In this work package we analyse the particular institutional designs of the European political order, the modes of decision-making and its impact in terms of problem-solving.

How is the emergent constellation of political orders sustained in terms of executive organisation and decision-making across levels of governance and borders? What are its particular institutional designs, what are the modes of decision-making and what is its impact in terms of problem-solving?

One of the key properties of the European transformation is the emergence of an autonomous executive (the European Commission) that represents a novelty in inter-state cooperation. We ask whether the Commission is able to act coherently and independently and to internally reconcile divergent interests in an EU-27. We will also examine the attempts to make the Commission more accountable to the European Parliament.

The growth of EU-level agencies also deals with how to strike the balance between autonomy and accountability:

  • How do these agencies in practice relate to the Commission, the Council, the European Parliament, national governments and interest groups?
  • How do executive functions in the Council (primarily in the CFSP/ESDP areas) co-exist with its secretarial and legislative functions?
  • We will empirically examine how and to what extent EU legislation is implemented and put into force. What are key mechanisms for explaining the dynamics of implementation across member states, across policy fields and across time?
  • How and to what extent can we observe changes in the allocation of powers and resources regarding implementation between various levels of governance in Europe? To what extent can we expect convergence among national administrations as regards implementation structures in an EU-27?

We expect to observe more elements of a ‘Union administration’ that spans levels of governance, partly circumventing national ministries. National agencies may thus develop into what has been termed ‘double-hatted agencies’, serving both national ministries as parts of a national administration and the Commission as parts of a ‘Union administration’. To what extent does such an arrangement cause tension within national governments? How is accountability safeguarded when so-called ‘indirect administration’ based on a clear division of labour between levels of governance is being replaced by an ‘integrated administration’ in which this division is considerably blurred? How is the scope for the local variation of implementation practices affected under such circumstances?

Published Oct. 5, 2010 5:05 PM - Last modified July 5, 2012 2:24 PM