Universiteit Maastricht

Montesquieu Institute Maastricht University

Administrative Governance

The Montesquieu Institute Maastricht and several of its research fellows are working together within the context of the Administrative Governance research programme at Maastricht University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

The Administrative Governance research programme seeks to study bureaucratic organisations that are established to facilitate trans- and supranational policy coordination and integration. It is strongly motivated by theoretical, empirical and normative-political questions concerning these international secretariats and the officials working within them. Of particular interest are the conditions under which international civil servants are able to exert substantial influence on the content, scope and execution of decisions and policies that formally result from the negotiations among democratically elected political actors.

Within the research programme, the (multi-layered) administrative structures of the European Union are of a central concern. Yet the Administrative Governance programme has a broader focus as it also examines also the historical role of bureaucracies in the development of modern nation states, their role and functions in the emerging system of global governance, and the international bureaucracies that form the administrative infrastructure thereof.

Of particular interest to the Montesquieu Institute is the research done by the European Public Policy-making section of this programme focusing on administrative players and procedures in the making of European public policies. This implies attention to both the role of the European and national administration in the policy-process, as well as the interaction between administrative and other logics (e.g. representative, participatory and diplomatic) within the institutional dynamics of the European Union. Special consideration is being paid the more general lines of investigation of the research programme mentioned above, namely the need to open the ‘black box’ of European administrative governance by looking in-depth at the politics of information within and across the various administrative systems in Europe as well as investigating the role of expertise and peer review within and around international organisations and agencies. Beyond such empirical study, an emphasis of the work being done is on normative aspects of administrative governance, and especially on degree to which public administration in the EU meets key criteria of accountability and transparency. Finally, projects also pay attention to the longitudinal evolution of European administrative governance, for example through the use of approaches such as historical institutionalism.

For more information on the research programme, its conceptual background, current projects and events, please visit the Administrative Governance programme website.