The Governance of the European Union: The Potential for Multi-Level Control

21 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2002

See all articles by Colin Scott

Colin Scott

University College Dublin (UCD)


In its White Paper on the Governance of the European Union the European Commission has adopted a narrow concept of governance which focuses almost exclusively on public institutions exercising legislative and executive power (in other words institutions of government). The article suggests that a theory of multi-level control in the EU would attend to greater variety both in the available governance institutions and the techniques of control. The deployment of an analysis grounded in theories of control suggests that the European Commission is substantially holding to a long-held preference for instruments of government premised on the exercise of hierarchical power. This reform path sits uneasily with revived concerns to render the governance of the EU more democratic. Equally it inhibits the generation of more efficient governance arrangements which place greater dependence on communities, competition, and design as alternative bases of control to hierarchy. Control theory suggests that the assertion of different reform agendas and institutional structures by other actors can check the more wayward (and arguably illegitimate) tendencies within the Commission plan, whilst drawing in alternative bases of control which, when combined, may yield technically superior governance solutions.

Suggested Citation

Scott, Colin David, The Governance of the European Union: The Potential for Multi-Level Control. Available at SSRN:

Colin David Scott (Contact Author)

University College Dublin (UCD) ( email )

Dublin 4

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