'Smoothing' Eastern Enlargements: Independent Regulatory Agencies and Non-Hierarchical Steering

Research director: Dr. Charalampos Koutalakis
Funding: 6th Framework Programme of the European Union - EU-NEWGOV
Duration: 2 years


The project examines the role of independent regulatory agencies (IRAs) and non-hierarchical steering in the process of adopting and adapting to EU policies in Central Eastern (Poland, Hungary) and Southern European member states (Greece). It is part of the EU-Integrated Project "New Modes of Governance" funded under the 6th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development of the European Commission. The aim of the project is to evaluate the extent to which new forms of governance with the systematic inclusion of non-state actors in non-hierarchical modes of decision making are able to render accession "smoother" by reducing the risk of implementation-conflicts in "weak" countries during the pre-accession phase and after accession. It analyses the cases of pharmaceuticals and environmental harmonization as examples of positive and negative integration where IRAs owe varying degrees of decision-making power (i.e., information or regulation). By explicitly focusing on questions of effective policy implementation in so-called "weak" states during different phases of accession, our research seeks to identify the domestic scope conditions such as a minimum of political and administrative resources (shadow of hierarchy) and systems of interest intermediation (civil society, corporatist business-government relations), under which new modes of governance emerge and serve as effective mechanisms of conflict resolution with regard to legal and policy harmonization in new member states.


  • Forthcoming, Regulatory Effects of Participatory Environmental Networks. The experience from the Seville Process, in Thomas Conzelmann, Brigid Laffan and Randall Smith, What Future Shape for the EU? Reflections on Multi-level Governance.
  • 2006, 'Smoothing' Eastern Enlargement through New Modes of Governance?  in Gunnar Folke Schuppert (ed.) Europeanization of Governance - The Challenge of Accession, Nomos-Verlag: Baden-Baden (Schriften zur Governance-Forschung), with Heiko Prange
  • 2005, Conceptualising the Role of Independent Regulatory Agencies and Non-Hierarchical Steering in Pre-accession Negotiations, Project report paper, New Modes of Governance, project 14, Smoothing Eastern Enlargement through New Modes of Governance.
  • 2004,  Environmental Compliance in Italy and Greece. The role of non-state actors, Environmental Politics, vol. 13, no 4, (Winter 2004), pp.755- 775.