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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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Preface 11


Preface The present book examines the implications of devolution in the United Kingdom for that country's domestic EU policy formulation process. Although the period of data collection, mainly in the form of interviews with civil servants and party officials, ran from 2000 to 2003, a number of the conclusions drawn continued to apply until 2007 as the Labour Party effectively continued to dominate the three executives examined here. However, the devolved elections of May 2007 dramati- cally altered this party political balance. The implications of such "gov- ernmental incongruence", considered by many to be the key challenge to intra-UK relations post-devolution, are considered in the Postscript. A number of people deserve to be thanked for their assistance during the course of the researching and writing of this book, not least the civil servants and party officials at the devolved, Whitehall and Brussels levels, who gave up their time to discuss their work and share the ex- periences of managing EU policy processes post-devolution. Interviews took place in 2000/01 and again in 2003. The second round of inter- views took place under the auspices of the project "Multi-level govern- ance in the EU" (Project IGBN), part of the Leverhulme Trust-funded programme "Nations and Regions: The Dynamics of Devolution", headed by the Constitution Unit at University College London. Particular thanks are due to Professor Charlie Jeffery, Professor William E. Paterson, Professor James Mitchell and my anonymous reviewer for their comments and feedback, as well as other colleagues at the European Research Institute,...

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