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Journal Article

Regieren im europäischen Mehrebenensystem: Ansätze zu einer Theorie


Scharpf,  Fritz W.
Problemlösungsfähigkeit der Mehrebenenpolitik in Europa, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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Scharpf, F. W. (2002). Regieren im europäischen Mehrebenensystem: Ansätze zu einer Theorie. Leviathan, 30(1), 65-92. doi:10.1007/s11578-002-0011-8.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-5296-0
The complexity of the multi-level European polity is not adequately represented by the single-level theoretical concepts of competing “intergovernmentalist” and “supranationalist” approaches. By contrast, empirical research focusing on multi-level interactions tends either to emphasize the uniqueness of its objects, or to create novel concepts — which are likely to remain contested even among Europeanists and have the effect of isolating European studies form the political science mainstream in International Relations and Comparative Politics. These difficulties are bound to continue as long as researchers keep proposing holistic concepts that claim to represent the complex reality of the European polity as a whole. It is suggested that the present competition among poorly fitting and contested generalizations could be overcome if European studies made use of a plurality of simpler and complementary concepts, each of which is meant to represent the specific characteristics of certain subsets of multi-level interactions. The paper describes four distinct modes of multi-level interaction in the European polity — “mutual adjustment”, “intergovernmental negotiations”, “joint-decision making”, and “hierarchical direction” — and discusses their characteristics by reference to the criteria of problem-solving capacity and institutional legitimacy.