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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 7. Conclusions 163


CHAPTER 7 Conclusions This study commenced with the aim of enhancing understanding of sub-state mobilisation in the domestic EU policy formulation processes of Member States and re-examining the concept of multi-level govern- ance. lt has simultaneously provided an exploration of the early experi- ences of the UK's devolved administrations in the domestic EU policy formulation processes of that Member State. In order to explore this engagement, it drew upon existing interpretations of sub-state mobilisa- tion and the experiences of sub-state authorities elsewhere in the EU to help place the UK's devolved administrations in the context of sub-state mobilisation across the EU. After reviewing the strengths and deficiencies of existing interpreta- tions with regard to their explanatory potential for understanding sub- state mobilisation, an analytical framework was drawn up with which to examine the UK's post-devolution experiences. Elements of the multi- level governance concept were adopted as part of this analytical frame- work, but complements were sought to try and increase the explanatory potential of this approach. In particular, the concept of European Do- mestic Policy, as developed by the German Länder, was identified as a potential means of complementing the concept of multi-level govern- ance. The principal hypothesis tested in this study thus argued that: The concept of European Domestic Policy, as developed by the German Länder governments in response to the continuing process of European inte- gration, will apply in the post-devolution United Kingdom. This will see the increasing overlap of European and sub-state policies reflected in...

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