EU environmental policy-making in Belgium: who keeps the gate?

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Series Details Vol.28, No.2, May 2006, p159-179
Publication Date May 2006
ISSN 0703-6337
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In the literature on European integration liberal intergovernmentalism and multi-level governance are often presented as competing approaches. In this article, the value of both approaches’ claims with respect to describing the involvement of the subnational level in European policy-making is put to a test. Empirical data are drawn from the Belgian practice of preference formation and representation in the environmental policy sector. Finding that the federal governmental level is less unitary and monopolistic than LIG would predict, but also that the subnational level has not become a second level player in its in own right - as multi-level governance would claim, the article concludes that neither approach can be fully validated. It is suggested that especially multi-level governance is amended with insights from institutional theory in order to grasp the observed joint processes of preference formation and representation.

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