Why does the EU rely so much on policy networks to make its political system function? The policy network model of 1970 first highlighted the aspects of post parliamentary politics. With Europeanization of various policies implementing sectors, EU has increased their dependence on policy networks (Richardson, 2006, p.1014)…
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Policy changes have taken place only with the consent of the group. Interest groups have always favored state bureaucracies maintaining stable relationships with the groups. Hence policy networks have helped the policy makers fulfill their procedural ambitions and obtain a ‘negotiated order’ For this reasons even after decades of formulation, these policies for the functioning of political system continue to exist (Mazey & Richardson, 2001).The paper intends to trace out the possible reasons behind EU’s everlasting reliance on policy networks for managing the political system thereby addressing the background and importance of these policy networks. The European Union EU operating for 50 years possesses a unique background. Under the co-decision procedure the Council consisting of all member states works with the European Parliament for budget formulation and other decisions. Overall, the decision making body contains EU Council, Parliament and the European Commission. The legislations for EU comprises of Primary legislation influencing daily lives of member countries’ citizens and Secondary legislation containing directives, regulations and also certain recommendations. The decision based upon majority votes, can be simple or qualified, depending entirely on the addressed issue (Mazey & Richardson, 2001). It appears that the structure of the EU displaying behavioral traits and functioning is very different from the regular or traditional ones found in most other organizations (How does the EU work, 2008). State bureaucrats display efficiency in framing policies under the scope of their limited capacities and available information. The users who are served by these bureaucrats extend a high degree of external support to the political system on obtaining their desired benefits. Thus favoritism and institutional factors act behind decision making (Mazey & Richardson, 2001). Evolvement of European Political System: Horizontal and Vertical Over the years the European Union has developed a well governed and stable political system. An efficient government operates within the state with concentration of power at the center. Member countries like France, Britain and Sweden are known to possess an ideal political system. Decentralization has been the key to governance. It has always witnessed sharing of political power among large number of actors (Buxbaum, 1996, pp. 14-16). Policies framed under EU governance are concerned with regulation of markets. This has been noticed for environmental and social policies of EU which helps in preventing market failures. The budgetary policies have dealt with compensating potential losers who lose out in market integration. The adoption of a single currency has been aimed towards regulating markets. It has attempted creation and regulation of a single market. The Maastricht Treaty of 1993 has attempted to bring about economic and political union. Viewed form a vertical dimension EU can be termed as a regulatory state. From horizontal perspective it has acted as a hyper consensus government (Buxbaum, 1996, p. 16). The total policy making process has been divided between the governmental head in the European Council and Commission resulting in efficient allocation of power among the EU institutions. Political leadership has been rotational among the member countries. Such a governance framework has led to rising power of the European parliament. Under this multilevel EU framework, networks have helped to improve regulations in the areas of energy, transport and telecommunications. Background for policy networks
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