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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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CHAPTER 1. Multi-Level Governance in the European Union 17


CHAPTER 1 Multi-Level Governance in the European Union Introduction This study explores the involvement of the United Kingdom's de- volved institutions in domestic EU policy formulation. In order to enhance our understanding of this involvement, the aim here is to exam- ine their experiences during the first four years of devolution in the context of those of other decentralised or federal EU Member States. To this end, this chapter will focus upon the key interpretations of sub-state mobilisation that have been developed since the late 1980s. Given that most integration theory focuses upon the balance between state and supranational levels, "grand" theories of Integration generally fall to acknowledge the (potential) engagement of sub-state actors with EU policy-making. As a consequence, this chapter will concentrate upon those interpretations that seek specifically to explain sub-state mobilisa- tion, rather than discussing broader Integration theory. We begin with an overview of the channels developed for facilitating sub-state engagement, before moving an to consider early explanations of sub-state mobilisation, namely the concepts of a "Europe of the Regions" and a "Third Level". Attention will then turn to "multi-level governance", widely accepted as the central model for understanding sub-state mobilisation in the EU. However, this study adopts the ap- proach that no one of these interpretations of sub-state mobilisation is in itself wholly convincing and examines two potential complements for enhancing the explanatory potential of multi-level governance: paradip- lomacy and "European Domestic Policy". From this basis, and drawing upon the experience of sub-state authorities (SSAs) in...

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