Res Publica

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Issue 1, 2001 Expand all abstracts

Access_open Bij de start van de nieuwe redactie

Authors Stefaan Walgrave

Stefaan Walgrave

    Multi-level governance is a fairly new concept, that has however travelled well in modern political science. The status of the concept remains a bit unclear, mainly because it tries to grasp quite a set of (mutually linked) societal and institutional changes, as well as changes in policy style and policy outputs. We try to use multi-level governance as a heuristic tool, and we focus on the potential consequences of the changes that it describes. Four types of consequences are briefly discussed. First we look at efficiency, at the way in which and the degree in which complex institutions can produce policy paralysis. Secondly we deal with representation and accountability, discussing the meaning of these concepts in multilayered settings. Then we look at the way in which territorial representation seems to (re)gain importance as a result of the erosion of the borderlines between domestic and international polities. And finally we look at the way in which legitimacy of politicalauthorities and policies can be organized within the framework of multi-level governance. The other articles of this special issue all deal in more detail with one or more of these four types of consequences of multi-level governance.

Kris Deschouwer

    In analyzing European institutional structures, the multi-level governance literature speaks of mutual interdependence, of cooperative and coordinated processes between different levels of authority. The emergence of these processes is sometimes associated with the disappearance of hierarchical relationships organized across vertical channels of communication. The type of hierarchy, which is declared 'eroded', is not further specified. In the first part of the article a definition of hierarchy is given and an attempt is then made to develop a diversified concept of hierarchy consisting of two types: unilateral and asymmetrically interdependent. The second part applies this modified concept of hierarchy to relationship structures in those federations which are part of European multi-level polity, and examines the types of hierarchy that exist between federal and federated levels when the latter act within the European framework. The external policies of German and Belgian federated units are analyzed in a comparative perspective.

Tamara Kovziridze

Access_open Leveled domestic polities

Comparing institutional reform and ethnonational conflicts in Canada and Belgium (1960-1989)

Authors Maarten Theo Jans

    The article analyses ethnonational conflicts in Belgium and Canada during the period 1960-1989. Using the most similar case design, it is argued that the different policy performances in Belgium and Canada can be accounted for by the institutional context in which the conflicts occurred. The institutional setup in Canada and Belgium created different modes of joint decision making. Through an analysis of three joint decision variables, namely, decision rules, preferences and default conditions, two empirical cases are scrutinized. The Canadian Pension Plan in Canada and the institutional reform efforts in Belgium (1974-1977) highlight the importance of institutional default conditions. On the basis of these empirical cases it is argued that the different conditions of joint decision making in the two states lead to a continuous production of compromises in Belgium and a genuine absence of mutual agreement in Canada.

Maarten Theo Jans

Access_open Implementatie van Europese wetgeving in nationale systemen

De Belgische casus bekeken door een multi-level governance bril

Authors Peter Bursens and Sarah Helsen

    This article explores the use of the Multilevel Governance (MLG) concept to understand why EU Member-States, such as Belgium, sometimes fail to transpose EU directives correctly or in time. Firstly, it discusses the nature and the value of the MLG concept. It is argued that a theoretical incorporation of the MLG concept in the Neo-Institutional (NI) paradigm is necessary to gain explanatory power. Secondly, an overview is presented of the Belgian implementation record. In the last part, the combined use of the MLG concept and the NI theory identifies several factors to explain failing implementation. It is argued that governance as well as multilevel institutions can constrain the desired smooth implementation. Examples of such hard and soft institutions include the multi-layeredfederal structure of Belgium, the complex co-ordination and implementation mechanisms, the role of advisory bodies and the Council of State, the relation between administrations and 'cabinets', and cultural features such as knowledge of the EU.

Peter Bursens

Sarah Helsen

    The general question of this theoretical reflection concerns the impact of the multi-level organisation of policy processes for the division of power between collective social actors. Firstly, We deal with the shrinking of the political capacity in the contemporary era of postfordism and deterritorialisation. In this framework, attention is paid to the ideological significance of governance. Using the concept of 'jumping of scales', We then consider the different consequences of the sui generis European multi-level setting for organised labour and capital, which serves as a case-study for our general proposition. Multi-level governance is looked upon as a new gestalt of scales, which enables some actors and hinders others to build their own jumping strategy between the different levels. The conclusion is that the European multi-level setting is the result of, as well as, the platform for power relations.

Carl Devos

Access_open Multi-level governance en de toegang tot de Europese beleidssettings

Een onderzoek naar de manier waarop de "multi-level" de "governance" beïnvloedt

Authors Jan Beyers and Bart Kerremans

    MLG implies that different policy levels are structurally interdependent. We investigate the consequences of this for the relation between private and public actors. A short review of the literature results in two competing hypotheses. The persistence-hypothesis says that multilevel networks of private actors with a strong national institutional embeddedness are more elaborated. The compensation-hypothesis assumes that a weak national institutional embeddedness stimulates multilevel networking. These hypotheses are tested with data collected by interviewing a sample of private and public actors at both the Belgian and European level. The evidence gives more support to the persistence-hypothesis than to the compensation-hypothesis. We also found that the correlation between national embeddedness and multilevel networks differs for diffuse and specific interests. The correlation is strong for specific interests and weak for diffuse interests. This means that the European strategies of diffuse interest are developed more or less independently from their positionin national networks.

Jan Beyers

Bart Kerremans

    The overlapping of the competencies of a number of regional authorities and those of the EU has necessitated an introduction of the regions in the EU policy-making. In this contribution, this phenomenon is combined with the concepts of paradiplomacy and multilevel governance. The present opportunities for regional participation will be looked at and some kind of classification scheme will be proposed. Those opportunities may be classified into four categories, depending on the formal (strict procedures) or informal (no strict procedures) and direct (direct relationship with EU institutions) or indirect (relationship with the EU via the central state) character of the participation. References are made to the Flemish involvement in European decision-making in the environmental field.

Hendrik Vos

Access_open België, Vlaanderen en multilaterale fora

De samenwerking en het gegenereerde imago in de Wereldhandelsorganisatie en de Raad van Europa

Authors Timon Bo Salomonson and David Criekemans

    This article tries to answer two questions: 1) How does the cooperation between the Belgian (federal) and Flemish (regional) government work within the field of multilateral policy?; 2) How is the multilateral policy of the Belgian federation and the Flemish government received at the multilateral level (especially within the CoE en the WTO)? The Belgian constitution has foreseen a system in which all governments (federal en regional) are equal. This has important consequences for Belgian delegations in multilateral fora: in 'mixed' dossiers, no government has decisive power. Thus, all Belgian governments are objective allies in guarding the externally projected image of the federation. Nevertheless, this seems to be a 'grey area' in the cooperation among the various Belgian governments.

Timon Bo Salomonson

David Criekemans

    This article deals with the consequences of an increased number of levels of political decision-making, on the way in which political careers are built. In the traditional bottomup perspective, political careers started at the municipal level. The best were chosen to represent the party in regional assemblies, first, and eventually in the national parliament. In this perspective, a mandate of Member of European Parliament was the highest obtainable office. Evidence from the 1979-99 period shows that the importance of 'local political experience' in recruiting MPs is decreasing. However still, the Belgian figure remains high in comparative perspective: in 1999 no less than 70 % ofthe members of the federal House of Representatives and of the regional Flemish Parliament have previously been local councillor. Moreover, still 60 % combines a mandate as local councillor with their parliamentary mandate. Only a limited number ofpreviously regional Flemish MPs became federal MPs in 1999, so that one could not speak of frequent level-hopping, nor of a hierarchy among these offices.

Stefaan Fiers

Access_open Wie dient er tussen te komen?

De vraag naar het legitieme gezag bij het gebruik van militair geweld in het voormalige Joegoslavië (1991-1995)

Authors Carl Ceulemans

    This contribution to the MLG-debate wants to focus on the question of legitimate authority for the use of military force in the framework of international interventions. More in particular, it is the main objective of this article to verify whether the international intervention in Former Yugoslavia (1991-1995) was characterised by a sufficient legitimate authority quality. The analysis itself will be developed in two steps. In a first step, we will describe the three main approaches to the concept of the legitimate authority in the post Cold War literature. Secondly, it is our intention to apply these three legitimate authority approaches in the context of the international intervention in Former Yugoslavia. The final results of this study allow us to formulate a rather remarkable conclusion from an ethical point ofview. Due to the reluctance of the international community to use military force, the central issue concerning the legitimate authority debate no longer seems to be "who among the many candidates has the right to intervene?", but rather 'who has the duty to do so?".

Carl Ceulemans