Project #Governance, Policy Paper §9: The New European Commission – Concentric Responsibilities, Normative Leadership and Translocal Epistemic Reflexivity

Project #Governance, Policy Paper §9: The New European Commission – Concentric Responsibilities, Normative Leadership and Translocal Epistemic Reflexivity

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The new president of the EU Commission revealed yesterday the composition of her team, which with some contentious appointments from the Baltic region are much oriented towards functionality and resolution of imminent challenges. Some include, for example, the Irish border question, which on the EU side will have the backup of DG Trade, the potential Serbian swing with the Eurasian Union, which will have as its counterpoint the conservatively resonating Hungarian side, as well as countering the possibility that the Greek economic renaissance will have much to do with the Eurasian giants. Another interesting development is two-fold – the replication of the administrative management portfolios, aimed at better delivery, as well as the inclusion of three novel directions related much to the values and the normative dimension of the EU.

Thirdly, the new Commission boasts a rearranged governance setup that marks a transition from an imposed horizontal flat hierarchy that by far has aimed to counterweight the perceived importance of different portfolios to one of concentric, experience-weighted circular checks and balances, whereby the VPs oversee several DGs and each DG is overseen by several VPs. Albeit this macroconentrism is meant to resonate with the replicability of the interdisciplinary integration globally, it reveals little of the previous ambitions for normative and regulatory externalization.

This has also much to do with the currently feigned Anglo-Saxon cordon, which albeit traditionally a culprit in the laissez-faire deregulation, was with the Urheimat England, influenced by the European legislative corpus. When we are to weight up the externalities of the novel supranational construct, the positive externality of an imbued security integration is the perception in the East that EU has taken its affairs in its own hands, however, the EU’s biggest challenge – setting the new global standards in governed trade have failed to induce change both due to the non-ban on commodities endangering carbon sinks, as well as to induce hybridization, resp. separation of powers that can counter dictatorial growth-legitimized populism in its counterparts globally.

What would be then the next novel governance arrangement, if not trade as a mechanism to induce regulatory approximation, esp. in times when GDPR, the best example of exported law, is seen as restrictive for the uptake of global digital multinationals with a social mission? The European Union’s achievement has been three-fold – an ability to uphold cores state powers on the walls of their origin in the member states, the amorphous grouping of public policies into strategic and technocratic portfolios, which ultimately constitutes the third one – an inherent coordination of multiple arrangements. As the digital realm is an autopoietic networked governance system in lieu with blockchain and as hierarchical, sovereignty oriented subsidiary systems would mean a transition to a network of urban-led development, where the global cities of US, China, India, Nigeria, Brazil would take the lead, the Commission has opted for a non-hierarchical, concentric ecological governance of overlapping responsibilities resulting in multiple checks and balances, as well as in a system of execution unintelligible to the rest of the world, which is led by presidential direct orders.

Thus, EU’s most pronounced achievement – the construction of a complex web of institutions, rules, norms and responsibilities redefines regionalism and regional integration with this new commission, but must also not lose the precarious momentum of transforming institutional regionalization into the driving force behind constituting the nature of sovereignty. „With the EU-ASEAN, EU-AU and EU-MERCOSUR trading blocks ahead much work is to be done to replicate the modality of intertwined institutions through a locally adjustable pattern that preserves its normative core and regulatory ability.” Going back to the roots of integration, neofunctionalism, resp. setting the ball in motion in multiple regulatory arenas, preserving top-down levers of normative instigation, empowering bottom-up activism and maintaining multiple horizontal platforms for addressing strategic planetary challenges is bound to be the way to preserve the momentum of regional integration as the implementing modality of multilateral aspirations related to sustainable development.

Science, in lieu with the principles of, is the way towards growing the roots of a technocratic beginning in the democratic revitalization of sustainability through curbing sector-specific epistemic networks that maintain the overlapping sectoral dependencies, which in turn ensure resilience of progress against misinformed decisions. For an optimal cross-fertilization, one ought to combine the missions approach towards addressing the planetary challenges with challenging the stiffness of jurisdictions hinging on a conservative pre-modern interpretation of sovereignty. The concentric hierarchy of overlapping sectors of the commission reminds much of an ecological governance scheme and it is only natural that the parallelism between the internal and external dimension of policy making results in the creation of hybrid research-policy epistemic networks that have a double purpose – on one hand they can serve as a testing ground for the applicability of governance attainments elsewhere, and on the other – as a mechanism for reflexivity over the accumulated evidence.


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