Northern Ireland, regional governance and the European Union
in Northern Ireland and the European Union
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The stability and peace which Northern Ireland now enjoys has transformed life there and it has transformed politics too. Differences and division persist, but they are now better managed and controlled. The process of agreeing policy is not without its flaws, and it may not always produce optimal outputs, but it does allow for the gradual achievement of progress and a steady (if incomplete) normalisation of the political progress. The EU has played a supporting role. This, however, does not mean that the MLG model captures the full complexity and nuance of the dynamics and relationships which characterise the new Northern Ireland and its relationship with the EU. The model is certainly a useful tool with which to interrogate the experiences of a European region. However, not all MLG claims and pronouncements mesh fully with the empirical findings revealed in this study. Neither the EU nor devolution have occasioned a movement away from government and towards governance. The traditional mechanisms associated with the state may now have a different form, but their intensity and dominance survive. The influence of the EU at the regional level is mediated by the nature of state arrangements and the characteristics of the region itself.

Northern Ireland and the European Union

The dynamics of a changing relationship

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