Falkner, Gerda. (1997) "Multi-level plus multi-actor: Co-operative governance in the European Union". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)
This paper aims to shed light on an area where particularly far-reaching changes in the participation of non-state actors occurred during the 1990s: EC social policy. There, we witness some signs of what was called neo-corporatism or 'social partnership' at the national level, i.e. a decision modus based on the collective agreement of organised interests and on their participation in governance and social guidance as co-responsible 'partners' (Schmitter 1981). This development is embedded in other changes in governance: the move towards cooperative public-private governance is only the most prominent aspect. The process of change in EC social policy concerned basically all characteristic elements of a 'system of governance' (Kohler-Koch). Thus, innovations occurred on the levels of: 1) belief systems about appropriate principles of action (shared responsibility between the European and the national levels with horizontal and vertical subsidiarity principles); 2) actor constellation (a few privileged interest groups are incorporated in EC decision-making on public policies); 3) decision-making routines (very specific processes are established); and 4) boundaries (territorial exclusion of the UK; functional exclusion of various aspects of social policy). This contribution will first outline the traditional patterns of EC social policy and briefly analyse failed efforts towards more co-operative governance patterns during the 1970s and 1980s. Only when a major change in EC social policy was believed inevitable during the 1991 IGC, the employers agreed to participate in a quasi-corporatist modus of governance. The changes in EC social policy governance brought about under the Maastricht Treaty will be outlined in detail before their practice shall be discussed . Subsequently, the changes will be put into the wider perspective of European governance.
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