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Regulation, the regulatory state and European politics

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For the past 15 years or so, the claim of a rise of the regulatory state in Europe has been a dominant theme in public policy research. This paper critically reflects on this claim and the associated scholarship by considering four key questions. First, what is the significance of the supposed rise of the regulatory state for the state in Europe and how can this trend be explained? Second, what insights have been gained from the study of phenomena associated with the regulatory state, both in terms of EU and national levels of government as well as in terms of process and organisational understandings of policy analysis? Third, does the regulatory state represent a stable arrangement or does it suffer from its own peculiar dilemmas that fundamentally affect the nature of European states? Fourth, and finally, this article develops three scenarios - those of withering away, plodding along, and rejuvenation - for the future of the (study of the) regulatory state in Europe.

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