Networking Administration in Areas of National Sensitivity - The Commission and European Higher Education
How should we account for the emerging networked-based administrative capacity at the EU level? This paper analyses developments in the higher education sector.
This paper examines the networks that connect the European Commission to various levels of governance within higher education as a policy sector. The central question is how the development of European networked administrative capacity can be understood taking into consideration the traditional national sensitivity of higher education and how this sensitivity has been handled in the European Union. The paper gives an overview of the administrative infrastructure and network configurations that have been established in this policy area within the Commission and in the expert groups that link the DG to other levels of governance in this policy area. It goes on to explore the dynamics underlying the development of such administrative networks based on a reading of the history of three cases of European integration in higher education, the education programmes, agency networks as part of European cooperation in quality assurance and mutual recognition of degrees, and the role of the Commission in the Bologna process These observations are the basis for a concluding discussion of the potential challenge that networked administration poses for the nation state prerogative in higher education policy.