Conception of an Encyclopedia
Edited By Jürgen G. Backhaus
Debating European Governance: An Institutionalist Assessment From The Viewpoint Of Political Economy And Fiscal Sociology Alexander Ebner
1. Introduction Following the failure of the constitutional project, the current state of European integration is informed by the need for implementing adequate governance struc- tures that fit the enlarged European Union. In accounting for the dimensions of democratic participation, fiscal structures and state capacity, the matter of gov- ernance thus ranges among the most important topics of European integration. Indeed, it is safe to argue that institutional entrepreneurship in the formation of governance mechanisms will continuously shape the European policy agenda, as indicated by the German Chancellor’s recent assessment of the German EU Presidency1. Yet the question remains, which types of strategic frameworks are actually available for pursuing these efforts. This hints at the decisive reform pro- posal of the Prodi Commission: the White Paper on European Governance. Pub- lished in 2001, it discusses major aspects of institutional reform in an enlarged Union2. Originally, it had been perceived as a statement of the Commission from the perspective of constitutional design, meant to advance the implementation of a European Constitution. However, it also provides a guideline for assessing the notion of governance as a strategic device in the institution-building efforts European integration is based upon. These aspects of building, reforming and transforming institutional frameworks have been highlighted most promisingly in the context of the various strands of institutionalist political economy. Its cur- rent revival also affects the research perspective of fiscal sociology. It explores the interdependence of states and markets as a reflection of exchange processes in the political-economic system,...
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