Multi-Level Governance

With this theme, research space is created for investigating the consequences of growing interdependence of Europe with other countries and regions worldwide. Both the input and output-dimensions of the external/foreign policies of the EU and its member states are in focus, within an evolving international context. Specific topics of investigation include the underpinnings, performance and democratic legitimacy of external policymaking in international institutions towards partner countries or regions or in international crises, and internal policy diffusion among levels of governance in the EU.

Many of the research projects already described under the previous themes are closely linked to advancing understanding of democratic and policy processes in the context of multi-level governance. Several researchers work on the EU in an international context, with corresponding analyses of how policies are uploaded to the international level from the EU or downloaded from the international level, and on the quality of the EU’s external policies and policy-making. This work has also been closely related to a focus area on the performance of the EU in international institutions over the past decade, especially at the Institute for European Studies.

Our research also focuses on the Belgian political system, which is a complex and multi-layered set of institutions that are also embedded into the EU-system. The capacity of decision-making of the complex institutions, the degree of responsiveness in a fully split party system, the relation between territorial identities and voting behavior and the effect of the federal-type structures on policy choices – on migration and integration in particular -  have all been analyzed in the framework of EDGE.

Serena D’Agostino’s PhD research project investigates the Europeanization of Roma Women Organisations in Central and Eastern European Member States, namely Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria. Based on a bottom-up research design, this study mainly relies on an inductive and interpretative epistemological approach and applies a qualitative comparative case study methodology. Starting from the investigation of Roma women organisations in the four country case studies, Serena’s research explores the patterns of change that occurred in the Roma women movement in the light of the so-called EU “Eastern Enlargement”. Her study has an important fieldwork component, mainly focused on in-depth, semi-structured interviews with both State and non-State actors. Referring to Roma women organisations as a common denominator, this doctoral research mostly builds on theories of Europeanization, Social Movements and Intersectionality in order to comprehensively identify the interactions between domestic and European patterns. The project contributes to the study of EU enlargement and its implications as well as to the integration of “Romani Studies” in a wider and more multi-disciplinary study framework.