Chapter 39: The Changing Nature of European Regulatory Governance
Paul James Cardwell Membership of the European Union (EU) has had a profound impact on the political and legal systems of the member states. No other system of regional integration has been as successful in producing a system of regulatory governance with the aim of legislative and policy harmonization across national boundaries. The growth of the EU from six states in 1957 to 27, with more waiting in the wings, is a testament to the EU’s success but also brings new challenges as integration adapts to the 21st century. Governance through regulation, which has always been at the very heart of the means of pursuing the European integration project, is facing increasing challenges and political choices brought about by both internal and external circumstances. As noted in Chapter 1, regulation is a contested concept – and EU regulation is no exception, since it forms the basis of a supranational political project to forge ‘an ever closer Union among the peoples of Europe’.1 EU regulatory governance is faced with (some of) the competing interests which exist at nation state level too, including over the nature of administrative agency and the effect of ‘soft’ as well as ‘hard’ legal methods. The purpose of this chapter is to trace the development of the EU regulatory framework, to explore the changing nature of regulatory governance and to explain the emergence of new features and actors on the EU’s regulatory horizon. Regulatory governance at the EU level has traditionally been understood to focus on regulations and...
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