Edited by Patricia Kennett
Chapter 4: Transnational Governance and National Employment Regulation: The Primacy of Competitiveness
Otto Holman1 INTRODUCTION The concept of governance is a very versatile one. It is used in various (sub)disciplines to denote diﬀerent phenomena at diﬀerent levels of analysis. The burgeoning literature on ‘corporate governance’ in economics and the recent emphasis on ‘good governance’ in international development studies are cases in point. But even if we focus on European governance, we ﬁnd distinct uses of the concept and diﬀerent deﬁnitions (although the concept is more often bandied about than deﬁned). In the European Commission’s White Paper on European Governance, governance is deﬁned as the ‘rules, processes and behaviour that aﬀect the way in which powers are exercised at European level, particularly as regards openness, participation, accountability, eﬀectiveness and coherence’ (European Commission, 2001, p. 8). The normative underpinnings of this deﬁnition – that is, ‘better’ governance in terms of more eﬃcient and transparent rules, processes and behaviour is aimed at – resembles a common assumption in the so-called multilevel governance (MLG) literature that state sovereignty is in retreat – and with it state-centric or intergovernmental interpretations of European integration – and that a new and to a certain extent unique polity is emerging which is supposed to be ‘closer to the people’ and better equipped to enhance democratic legitimacy and eﬀective decision-making. In this respect, the descriptive value of bringing in sub- and supranational (non-state) actors and multiple levels of government turns into an apology of recent (political) attempts to substantiate the principles of subsidiarity...
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