Political Uses of European Governance: Looking Back on a White Paper

The term 'governance' and the way it has been used by European institutions have elicited much interest in the academic world. However, the notion and its uses have often been studied only in terms of intellectual development or network analysis. Such research leaves us in the dark on a key question. What meaning does this concept actually hold for the actors involved? To what degree do they have a shared definition of the term? Does European governance work as a self-fulfilling prophecy, structuring the space of the EU and the practices of its actors? This book examines these questions. The book focuses on the White Paper on EU Governance, launched by the European Commission (EC) in 2001. It explains the different positions on governance, as well as on the series of new policy tools promoted by the EC and taken up by Member States, EU institutions, and stakeholders. Shedding some new light on these currently dominant instruments, it explores the meaning of governance and how EU consultations really work.