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The European Commission’s White Paper Governance: A ‘Tool-Kit’ for closing the legitimacy gap of EU policymaking? ZEI Discussion Papers: 2001, C 94

Höreth, Marcus (2001) The European Commission’s White Paper Governance: A ‘Tool-Kit’ for closing the legitimacy gap of EU policymaking? ZEI Discussion Papers: 2001, C 94. [Discussion Paper]

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    Abstract

    [Introduction]. Reflecting on European Governance and its problems is in fashion these days. Given that the European Commission has a double function as a European executive in the "heart of the Union" and as a promoter of new ideas and concepts it is not surprising that the Commission recently contributed to the intense academic and political debate over this problem. Romano Prodi himself announced at the outset of his new 2000-2005 Commission its purpose of "promoting new forms of European governance" as one of the key strategic objectives. Obviously, given the scandals of the previous Santer Commission, this goal setting was motivated by, and was a necessary reaction to, growing concerns for the legitimacy of the Union’s framework of governance. Besides Neil Kinnock’s institutional reform programme, which is concentrated on the Commission’s internal problems, the provisional result of these broader inter-institutional reflections on governance is the publication of the White Paper. Unfortunately, for many reasons, the White Paper’s contribution towards understanding and towards closing the legitimacy gap of European governance is not very helpful. In this paper I try to figure out the shortcomings and probably unintentional negative implications of many proposals the Commission made on the subject. It can be demonstrated that the Commission’s good intention to reinforce its role in European policy-making, both in preparing policy actions and implementing them, could do serious damage to the fragile institutional set-up of the Union. Moreover, it is likely that adopting its governance proposals could lead to an even deeper legitimacy crisis in the future than the EU is already suffering today. I will develop my argument in three steps. First, I will give an overview on the multifarious aspects of European governance and its legitimacy problems in the shadow of the imminent enlargement. Against this background, it is easier to evaluate the usefulness of the Commission proposals culminating in the advice to "revitalise the Community method" (p. 29). Secondly, I will introduce the Commission’s approach, its problem perception and its proposed solutions. In a third step I will highlight some analytical shortcomings and overlooked negative implications of the proposals made by the Commission.

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    Item Type: Discussion Paper
    Uncontrolled Keywords: White Paper on European governance.
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > governance: EU & national level
    EU policies and themes > Treaty reform > enlargement
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > legitimacy
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series: UNSPECIFIED
    ["eprint_fieldname_eusries" not defined]: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > University of Bonn, Center for European Integration Studies > ZEI Discussion Papers
    Depositing User: Peter Zervakis
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2003
    Page Range: p. 31
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:14
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/198

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