The overall scientific aim of this research was to consolidate, upgrade and communicate the state of the art in theories, methodologies and insights concerning governance in Europe.
The process of how governing modes (GMs) in the European Union come into being and evolve over time has long been insufficiently understood, especially with regard to new modes without hard legislation. Comprehensive and reliable knowledge about the dynamics and factors behind the emergence and evolution of governing modes was needed to help political actors to respond successfully to both old and new challenges by adapting the different ways how the European Union is governed.
The ‘Emergence, Evolution and Evaluation’ cluster within NEWGOV aimed at closing this knowledge gap by adopting a systematic comparative approach to the study of how different modes of governance emerge and evolve in interdependence of each other and across a range of selected policy fields. The project drew on and combined a rich body of experts’ experience regarding the institution and development of ‘older’ modes of decision-making. It thus produced a synthesis of different theoretical approaches and a genealogy of EU governing modes. In sum, the scientific objective of the research institutions and scientists involved in this cluster was to draw on, synthesise and develop theoretical approaches of sociology, economics and law to:
- map, measure and classify governing modes and their transformation according to jointly defined criteria and indicators. On the basis of our findings, a database has been drawn up that classifies and measures governing modes across several dimensions, both quantitative and qualitative.
- explain why and under what circumstances and conditions new governing modes emerge. We produced papers for peer reviewed journals not only to answer these questions for the different policy areas but to take these findings to draw conclusions on which theoretical approach works best and/or how these approaches can be combined and synthesised.
- identify common patterns and theorise about how they interact and evolve to form new governing mixes and macro-systems. The findings of this area of the project also relied on the comparative analysis of different governing modes to test three theses about the evolution of governing modes, which will be elaborated in a tightly edited research monograph.
The primary methodology was comparative by focusing on the emergence, evolution and transformation of different governing modes over time, across and within policy sectors, and levels of governance. The selection was based on a comprehensive approach, covering all three pillars of EU problem-solving. Some members of the cluster focussed mainly on horizontal issues relating to the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) as an innovative governing mode, classifying and mapping, as well as exploring the legal dimension of changes in governance. The cluster partners sought to span a broad range of governing modes ranging from hierarchical decision-making and supranational law, over hard coordination to the soft, involving voluntary agreement between public and private actors outside of the legal framework of the European treaties. Studies included also the use of the Convention Method and the IGC as two modes of pre-treaty governance and constitutionalisation.