Workshop: Troubling Multilevel Governance: Coordinating Spatial Interventions

OPEN DAYS 2012: European Week of Cities and Regions - Brussels, Belgium

Date and time

11th October 2012, 09:00-10:45


European Commission, DG REGIO C1 and the Regional Studies Association (RSA)


Professor Martin Jones, University of Aberystwyth, UK

The relevance of multi level governance today was about capturing key concepts and match the scale of governance to the scale of the problem presented and it was mentioned that multi level governance was a useful concept to be used by national powers such as the EU and the USA as it would encourage strategic engagement.


Mr. Peter Berkowitz, European Commission, DG Regio

Multi Level Governance: A Troubled Concept
This presentation showed the link between the concepts and partnership since the 1990s as well as the practices in policy of different levels and actors. It was argued that there was a shift in the paradigm where the importance of place was being recognised, together with the need to mobilise and involve local and regional knowledge and have place-based policy introduced. There was also a link presented between concepts of partnerships (horizontal and vertical) and multi level governance since the 1990s.

François-Gilles le Theule, Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA), France

This paper argued that there were too few European civil servants doing the job and alternatives had to be considered to try to get out of the crisis by using current available resources and multi level governance and apply a relational sense towards the logic of place (geographical location of the team makes a difference as the networks, hierarchy and scales must be understood). It was also argued that the strong actors needed to be political and policy aware but not bureaucrats. It was mentioned that regional policy was important for Human Resources management because it was ‘bottom up allowing the individual to express itself’ and there was a need to move away from a federalism system.

Dr. Paul Stubbs, The Institute of Economics, Croatia

Territorial cooperation and new Regionalism: a view from South East Europe
The concept of multi-level governance and the practice of regional co-operation, particularly from a vantage point of the ascribed European semi-periphery of South East Europe were presented. Building on earlier critiques of the abstract formalism and premature normativism of 'multi-level governance', a number of questions critical of objectivist or hyper-realist models of regions and regionalism were asked. It was argued that the relationship between regional policy and social policy was being lost and multi level governance was critiqued on the basis that levels were not ‘discrete’ and were territorially bounded. New regionalism was presented as a set of multi-actors, multi-dimensional, multi-scalar processes consisting of complex and variable geometries of interlocking networks.

Professor Charlie Jeffery, University of Edinburgh, UK

Multi-Level Governance in the EU (paper not available)
This paper presented both regional and state wide scale policies. It also showed that political science was impervious to understanding the new importance of regionalism and that the term ‘national scale’ was better understood following the Second World War. Regional policy was seen as subordinate to state scale policy despite a growth of regional authority and it was argued that people ultimately wanted to ‘get on’ with their lives and benefit from the results of policies. It was also mentioned that trust was seen to happen more often at smaller levels and that citizens were multi-level, putting an emphasis on the need to act a different scales, especially regional and national.

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