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Title: When Europe meets the local level : a fusing multilevel compound?
Author: Guderjan, Marius Martin
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores to what extent the fusion approach can explain the role of local government in the European integration process. It assesses the efficacy of the fusion approach for the study of local government and subsequently offers insights how to advance the approach by giving it a local government perspective. Among the existing research of local-supranational relations, hardly any attempts have been made to provide a comprehensive, albeit differentiated, theoretical perspective to understand how the local level links into the macro-trajectories of the EU’s governance system. Fusion assumes that the transfer of competences from the national to the European level reflect a ‘third way’ integration between supranational integration and intergovernmental cooperation. In the fusion account, public resources and policy instruments are ‘fusing’ under a sub-optimal multilevel compound. Existing integration theories focus primarily on the state level, whilst concepts such as multilevel governance and Europeanisation do not explain the evolution of the EU’s polity. The thesis shows that the fusion approach accounts for both multilevel realities and for Europeanisation processes in the context of European integration. The thesis assesses whether the fusion approach is able to explain a) systemic linkages between European integration and changes at the local level; b) a fusion of competences and accountabilities for policy outcomes in Europe’s multilevel compound; c) the attitudes of local actors towards the integration process. For the purpose of applying and testing the fusion approach for the study of local government, the study deduces five empirical indicators from the fusion literature and investigates their relevance at the local level in the North West of England and North Rhine-Westphalia. The indicators assess 1) the absorption of European legislation and policy by local government; 2) the Europeanisation of local actors’ attention towards supranational policies and legislation; 3) institutional and procedural adaptation processes at all relevant levels of government; 4) vertical and horizontal, as well as direct and indirect, action of municipal authorities in relation to EU policies; 5) local actors’ attitudes towards European policies and governance. The empirical findings are based on qualitative elite-interviews, secondary literature and primary documents. Although there are limitations to the efficacy of fusion for explaining local-supranational relations, as an advanced version of the approach, the thesis delivers insights into the systemic linkages between European integration and changes at the local level; the fusion of local government and the attitudes of local actors towards the EU.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available