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The Commission White Paper and European Governance

Wincott, Daniel and Metcalfe, Les and Everson, Michelle and Armstrong, Kenneth A. (2001) The Commission White Paper and European Governance. [Review Essay]

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    [Introduction by Mark A. Pollack, series editor]. FIRST PROPOSED BY COMMISSION President Romano Prodi in February 2000, the Commission's White Paper on European Governance was designed to examine and make proposals about the concept of European governance, which was taken to encompass "rules, processes and behavior that affect the way in which powers are exercised at European level" (Commission 2000: 4). As Daniel Wincott recounts below, the White Paper itself was drafted by a "Governance Team" within the Commission, which in turn consulted widely among academics as well as government experts and civil society. For many observers, the White Paper promised a fundamental reconsideration of the aims of European governance; the respective roles of EU, national, and subnational institutions; the role of civil society in EU policymaking; and the possible development of new forms of governance including self-regulation, co-regulation, the open method of coordination, and independent regulatory agencies. After extensive consultation outside the Commission, and debate within it, the White Paper was finally released on 27 July. As per its mandate, the 35-page document discusses five principles of good governance-openness, participation, accountability, effectiveness, and coherence-and offers broadly formulated "proposals for change" in four areas: better involvement; better policies, regulation, and delivery; the EU's contribution to global governance; and refocused policies and institutions (Commission 2001). As Les Metcalfe points out in his essay below, the White Paper is less specific in its proposals than previous White Papers (such as Lord Cockfield's famous 1985 White Paper, Completing the Internal Market), but rather presents a broad analysis and calls for a period of public consultations, to continue through the end of March 2002, on the principles and proposals of the White Paper. Unfortunately, the timing of the White Paper's release, just before the August holidays, has meant that the public debate on its contents has begun slowly, with little press coverage or public debate. The Forum section of this issue of EUSA Review is therefore devoted to a preliminary analysis of the White Paper, with essays by Daniel Wincott, Les Metcalfe, Michelle Everson and Kenneth A. Armstrong. The first two of these essays examine the drafting and content of the White Paper against the political background of the Commission and the EU in recent years, while the last two examine two of the most important substantive issues raised by the White Paper (executive agencies and civil society, respectively). It is hoped that these essays-together with the on-line symposium established by the Harvard Jean Monnet Program (Joerges, M. and Weiler 2001; Scharpf 2001) and other scholarly contributions-will stimulate an active academic debate on the contents of the White Paper and the reform of European governance.

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    Item Type: Review Essay
    Uncontrolled Keywords: "European Governance: a White Paper."
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > governance: EU & national level
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > European Commission
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > governance: EU & national level > subnational/regional/territorial
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > European Union Studies Association (Pittsburgh) > EUSA Review Fora and Essays
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2003
    Page Range: p. 10
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:14

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