Governance and Intergovernmental Relations in the European Union and the United States
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Governance and Intergovernmental Relations in the European Union and the United States

Theoretical Perspectives

Edited by Edoardo Ongaro, Andrew Massey, Marc Holzer and Ellen Wayenberg

This book represents a major attempt to draw together two fundamental streams of research: intergovernmental relations and multi-level governance (MLG). Combining US and European schools of thought, this timely volume outlines key areas of convergence and divergence.
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Chapter 3: Multi-level Governance and Intergovernmental Relations: Integrating the Theoretical Perspectives

Theo A.J. Toonen


Theo A.J. Toonen1 INTRODUCTION 1. Multidisciplinary and cross-sectional institutional clusters and networked regions constitute the hotspots for the dynamics of the European ‘knowledge society’ (Toonen, 2007). Many consider the ability to collaborate in a varied and reticulate institutional context to be the key to modern government and public administration. The increased awareness of the phenomenon of multi-level governance (MLG) is due, in large part, to the gradual formation of a pan-European policy-making platform which deliberately uses member state, regional and local government institutions as partners and agents for joint policy-making and implementation (Hooghe and Marks 2001). It has much contributed to the attention for ‘networks’ and ‘governance’ in the European context, to a degree that it is becoming time to bring state structures, public law, and institutional government back in. MLG affects the relationships among the EU and its member states. It is also becoming increasingly characteristic – perhaps even more – of the ongoing development of interrelationships across levels of governance within and beyond the boundaries of the formerly sovereign European nation-states (Keating 1998). The emergence of MLG changes the comparative interpretation and meaning of ‘Classical Models’ of European intergovernmental systems, which after all constitute the building blocks of the emerging systems of European MLG. It affects the comparative current understanding of various European systems of MLG. The question of the complex interrelationship between Area and Administration is one of the all-time classics in mainstream academic Public Administration as well as in the practice of public administration (Fesler 1949). The notion...

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