Module 2: Elected and non-elected political actors in denationalized policy-making
Democratic states these days are experiencing strong pressures driven by denationalization, a political process in which the decision-making authority is shifted "upwards" from the national to the international level, "sideways" to transnational fora and mechanisms, or "downwards" to the regional and local levels. These developments restrict the manoeuvring space of national politicians. Citizens also have less possibility to influence political decisions as many increasingly are taken at the international level. Moreover, the growing complexity of policy-issues has in many cases led to the delegation of regulatory authority to independent agencies at the transational level that are largely immune to political control. At the local level, too, decisions are taken and implemented by complex policy-making networks that may lack transparency and dilute responsibility.
Module 2 examines how Western democracies deal with these pressures and how they adapt in order to meet the new challenges. The overall research questions of the module are: How does denationalization affect the role and the strategies of elected and non-elected political actors? What are the implications for accountability and legitimacy of policy-making?
While the research in Phase I concentrated on institutions and procedures, the research projects now have shifted their focus to political actors at different levels of policy-making (international, transnational and regional):
IP 4 examines how civil society groups (non-governmental organizations and business groups) and government representatives interact in global environmental policy making;
IP 5 studies how denationalization affects the efficiency and legitimacy of regulatory agencies which are often part of transnational networks;
IP 6 examines the role of elected and non-elected actors in the new regional decision-making arenas that have emerged in European metropolitan areas as a response to the regionalization pressure stemming from international competition between cities.