We consider whether transnational networks that softly discipline Member States (such as the OMC or regulatory networks that oversee national discretion in implementing broad EU frameworks) mark a significant turn in European integration or merely a transitional step towards centralization (agencification) and formalization (subjecting to law). We suggest this requires a closer reading of the institutional changes necessary to bring about centralization/formalization, and ask particularly whether change might be partially attributable to the very institutional-agents operating inside Europe's networked modes of governance. Supplementing functional-political explanations, we propose an endogenous model of institutional change that incorporates the independent role transnational networks play in shaping their own institutionalization, which may make this mode of governance more resilient and even self-reinforcing. We test the plausibility of this model with a case-study detailing the institutional entrepreneurship of transnational networks in the telecoms sector.
- EU modes of governance
- European integration
- Institutional path-dependence
- Transnational networks