Crisis, common sense and the limits to learning in EU external governance
In general, governance aims to coordinate relations of complex interdependence through continuing dialogue to promote negotiated consent, resource sharing, and concerted action without excessive reliance on markets or top-down command. Inside the European Union (EU), it mainly takes the form of multi-level governance based on continuing efforts to identify mutually beneficial joint projects from a wide range of possible projects, redefine them as circumstances change, monitor progress in relation to agreed objectives, mobilize resources controlled by different actors, and organize the material, social, and temporal conditions required to achieve them. In its external relations, EU governance occurs in the shadow of hierarchy in the sense that the relation is asymmetrical and EU institutions and member states hold the upper hand in setting the terms for inclusion of other economies or access to benefits from the EU. In many ways, the EU’s development has been a project to transform the geostrategic dynamics in post-war Europe by converting the troubled relations between rival states and economies from one of political enmity and zero-sum competition into forms of partnership. Two key steps in this regard concern transforming the domestic regimes in post-dictatorial Southern Europe and transforming the regimes in Central Eastern Europe following the fall of the Berlin wall. The key mechanism in both cases was conditional inclusion, i.e. integration based on meeting specific criteria and targets. The same public philosophy has underpinned the EU’s external policy - especially in its immediate “neighbourhood” - with a view to including external partner countries into the EU’s internal policy framework based on their commitment to, and implementation of specific reforms. This would be a stepwise process as partner countries are drawn more closely into concentric circles of EU governance (Zielonka, 2006). The policy umbrella for conducting relations between the EU and sixteen of its neighbours in Eastern Europe as well as in Southern Mediterranean, the European Neighbourhood Policy, became the most ambitious “external governance project” (Lavenex, 2004; Lavenex and Schimmelfennig, 2010) or “governance export” policy (Gänzle, 2009). Depicted in the famous phrase of “sharing everything but institutions” (Prodi, 2002), which in practical terms foremost refers to shared market space, shared regulatory framework and political dialogue. At the core of this form of relations remains the EU single market: the biggest carrot offered to partner countries being a stake in the common market, which implies trade liberalization while adopting the norms, rules and regulations of EU’s complex acquis communautaire (Buschle, 2014). Analogous to EU relations with other neighbouring countries, the bilateral relations between the EU and Ukraine envisioned a deep and comprehensive free trade area based on Ukraine’s adoption of norms and regulations of EU’s complex acquis communautaire. In this sense, “sharing everything but institutions” (Prodi, 2002) refers mostly to market liberalization: around 80% of the Association Agreement is formed by trade-related provisions (van der Loo, 2016) and the (legislative, human, financial and technical) resources dedicated to this area by far outnumber any other field of cooperation. Nonetheless, although governance is supposed to provide better ways of dealing with complex problems and to avoid issues of market and state failure, it is not immune to its own crisis tendencies. I illustrate this from the crisis in and/or of EU-Ukraine relations. This challenged the inherited policy approach to governance based on conditional, stepwise inclusion.
Novakova, Z. (2019). Crisis, common sense and the limits to learning in EU external governance. In The Pedagogy of Economic, Political and Social Crises: Dynamics, Construals and Lessons (pp. 244–262). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/113583