New-ish Governance and the Legitimacy of the EU

24 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2007 Last revised: 29 Oct 2014

See all articles by Colin Scott

Colin Scott

University College Dublin (UCD)

Date Written: July 2007


The way the EU is governed and the way such governance is perceived contributes centrally to the legitimacy of the European enterprise. This legitimacy underpins both the acceptance and the effects of EU activity. Legitimacy is a product of the way in which decisions are taken and the nature of quality of such decisions. Pressures created by concerns about both forms of legitimacy affecting EU decision making partially explain the turn in legal scholarship away from the more traditional preoccupation with the analysis of legislative instruments and case law towards a more broadly based conception of governance which involves the examination of a more diverse range of processes and instruments. This paper offers an analysis of the parameters of newness in governance. The overall argument is that some of the more innovative governance modes are not so new, whilst more recent and celebrated modes, although displaying elements of newness are, perhaps, not that innovative. Hence the suggestion that we are experiencing only 'new-ish governance'. The paper asks whether a limited conception of new governance is inevitable given the legitimacy constraints within which the EU operates, or is their potential for developing a broader conception of governance, which through broader participation and involvement of non-governmental governing capacities, might bolster legitimacy through both better processes and better outcomes.

Keywords: EU governance, legitimacy, modes of governance

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Scott, Colin David, New-ish Governance and the Legitimacy of the EU (July 2007). CLPE Research Paper No. 17/2007, Available at SSRN: or

Colin David Scott (Contact Author)

University College Dublin (UCD) ( email )

Dublin 4

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