The Romanian Review of European Governance Studies
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Multi-level Governance- A theoretical Approach

Frontpage calendar image June 1, 2009

Author: Petre Prisecaru
The main contribution to the concept of multilevel governance was brought by neoinstitutionalism. The advocates of multilevel governance which have similar views with the advocates of network governance concept identified two dimensions: a political one and a social one and also two major phenomena: a)the transfer of sovereignty or competences from national level to supranational level; b)the application of subsidiarity principle which involves the decentralization of decision making process. A lot of definitions, meanings and interpretations have been set for governance, but World Bank and European Commission definitions are maybe the most suitable ones for understanding and characterizing this concept.Multilevel governance represents a distinctive type of governance and can be characterized by three attributes: a) non-hierarchical institutional design b) non-majoritarian mode of decision making, c) dynamic dispersion of authority. Bob Jessophas identified three major phenomena specific to the evolution of national states which are members of EuropeanCommunity: a) the de-nationalization of territorial statehood; b) de-statalization of political system; c) internationalizationof policy regimes. Postwar Keynesian welfare national state which was more interventionist and used demand side policieswas replaced in the 80’s by Schumpeterian workfare post-national regime, which is more liberal and less interventionist, andfocuses on supply side policies. The three governance methods – Community method, Open Method of Coordination and Enhanced Cooperation – reflect how different policies are elaborated and implemented at EU level and at national level based on different institutional arrangements and multilevel governance and its fundamental principle: subsidiarity.

Key words: multi-level governance, jurisdictions, European Union, decentralization, suprantionalism