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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 3. White Papers, Acts and Concordats. A Framework for Managing Relations? 57


CHAPTER 3 White Papers, Acts and Concordats A Framework for Managing Relations? Introduction The process of devolution through Acts of the Westminster Parlia- ment was also accompanied by a number of White Papers and Concor- dats (inter-executive agreements) which contained inter alia the provi- sions for the involvement of the devolved institutions in the UK's domestic EU policy formulation process. The relevant provisions of these documents, their drafting, and the associated debate, will be considered here in chronological order to allow the development of the debate to be assessed. Of particular interest in this process is any evidence of Government retrenchment or nervousness concerning the role of the devolved ad- ministrations in EU policy-making as plans for devolution became more concrete. This would reflect any UK Government resistance to the engagement of the devolved tier with EU policy. In addition, any evi- dence of a challenge for greater participation from Scotland and/or Wales will be examined. As well as indicating a challenge to the UK central government, such demands indicate a pro-active pursuit of engagement with the EU level. In addition to the potential sources of tension identified previously, additional sources of tension contained within the framework created by the documents will be explored. The development of the devolution process will be traced chrono- logically from the arrival in power of the Labour Government elected in May 1997 to the publication of the first tranche of Concordats on 1 October 1999. This approach will enable changes in position on the...

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