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Devolution, Asymmetry and Europe

Multi-Level Governance in the United Kingdom


Rosanne Palmer

The process of devolution in the United Kingdom (UK) established new institutions at the sub-state level with a range of legislative and executive competencies. Yet many of these devolved powers also have a European Union (EU) dimension, whilst EU policy remains a formally reserved power of the UK central government.
This book explores how this multi-level relationship has been managed in practice, examining the participation of the devolved Scottish and Welsh institutions in the domestic process of formulating the UK’s EU policy positions during their first four-year term. It also places their experiences in a broader comparative framework by drawing upon the experiences of multi-level governance in practice in other Member States of the EU.


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List of Abbreviations 9 Preface 11 INTRODUCTION. Multi-Level Governance in the United Kingdom 13 CHAPTER 1. Multi-Level Governance in the European Union 17 Introduction 17 A "Europe with the Regions" 18 Developing Multi-Level Governance 25 Complementing Multi-Level Governance 28 A Potential for Tension 33 The Issue of Asymmetry 37 A Question of Resources 38 CHAPTER 2. EU Policy-Making in the Pre-Devolution UK 41 Introduction 41 The Position of the Territorial Offices within Central Government 41 A Highly Centralised System? 43 Lead Departments 43 The Role of the Cabinet Office 44 Cabinet and Ministerial Committees 45 The FCO and UKRep 47 The Participation of the Scottish and Welsh Offices in UK European Policy Formulation 49 The Wider Political Context 52 Domestic European Policy Formulation in the Pre-Devolution UK 52 CHAPTER 3. White Papers, Acts and Concordats. A Framework for Managing Relations? 57 Introduction 57 The Devolution "Settlement" 58 7 Process and Content 60 White Papers — the Drafting Process 61 Content 62 "Warm Words are No Substitute for Hard Laws" 64 Drafting the Concordats 66 The Concordat an the Co-ordination of European Policy Issues 69 Summary 71 CHAPTER 4. A View from Edinburgh 75 Introduction 75 Executive and Officials 75 The Scottish Parliament 89 Summary 100 CHAPTER 5. A View from Cardiff 107 Introduction 107 The Executive Arm: the Welsh Assembly Government and Its Officials 107 The National Assembly for Wales Plenary 122 Summary 131 CHAPTER 6. A Central Government Perspective 137 Introduction 137 The Role of Policy Departments 138 The Cabinet,...

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