2015 年 2015 巻 182 号 p. 182_16-182_29
The paper revisits multi-level governance (hereinafter: MLG) in the EU in both theoretical and empirical terms. For theoretical reconsiderations, it examines some reasons why MLG has been so attractive to many scholars working on EU politics during almost the past quarter century. Two points are noted:first, MLG studies posit that the transformation of a national sovereignty has emerged in the EU; second, we have found the so-called “a governance turn” in EU studies around the year 2000, which leads our concerns to investigate the EU day-to-day institutional practices. These MLG studies have drawn our attention to the following relative transformations of power: from a state to a societal organization; from a central government to a local/regional government; and from a national government to an international organization. The paper argues that this type of a polity image, in which a national sovereignty has been transformed, is hard to be found in EU’s political practices of MLG.
For its empirical survey, the paper analyses the conceptualization of MLG in the EU, drawing on the 2014 Multi-level Governance Charter of the Committee of the Regions and the 2014 Conclusions of the Council of Ministers on Macro-Region Strategies, and then investigates two typical multi-level governance practices of cross-border cooperations: the Macro-Region Strategies (MRS) and the European Neighbourhood Policy Cross-Border Cooperation (ENP CBC). From these examinations of policy documents, the paper suggests an over-interpretation of multi-level governance studies that regards the EU as a multi-level polity. What has been found in the EU is not a legally established multi-level institutional complex, but just only a political slogan that tries to instigates voluntally cooperative practices among various levels of governments.
On the basis of these theoretical and empirical considerations, the paper finally pays attention to two critical viewpoints of preceding studies against MLG. The first points out that MLG damages European democracy in terms of both representativeness and accountability; and the second suggests that MLG studies posit a political harmony in horizontal and vertical governmental interrelations and thus underestimates power politics in which an ideology, such as neo-liberalism, becomes prevalent.
In concluding remarks, the paper suggests one notable point in MLG, which is an opening of a political field for mutual learning of practitioners going beyond national borders. This multi-level practices are exactly what Ian Manners suggests as a source of normative power Europe in his paper of 2002. What we need to see in MLG is not institutional complexes for vertical and horizontal intergovernmental relations, but a sustainable training system for learning a partnership among practioners trying to make European policies.