European cities have built cooperative relations through transnational municipal networks (TMNs). Most of the dedicated literature has relied on the multi-level governance (MLG) framework, claiming that the establishment of TMNs has been favoured by the multi-tier and multi-actor system of governance developed within the European Union. While MLG can help to illustrate the characteristics and functions of TMNs, it does not enable to explain the engagement of European cities in these organisations. This article therefore identifies and discusses the analytical and operational limitations of the MLG approach. It is claimed that the MLG framework does not provide a suitable analytical approach to shed light on the economic, political and institutional drivers of the participation of European cities in TMNs. By way of contrast, an urban approach hinging on the urban level may address the MLG’s analytical and empirical shortcomings.
Multi-level governance, Transnational municipal networks, European Union, Local government
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.Material published in the JCER is done so under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence, with copyright remaining with the author.
- Articles published online in the JCER cannot be published in another journal without explicit approval of the JCER editor.
- Authors can 'self-archive' their articles in digital form on their personal homepages, funder repositories or their institutions' archives provided that they link back to the original source on the JCER website. Authors can archive pre-print, post-print or the publisher's version of their work.
- Authors agree that submitted articles to the JCER will be submitted to various abstracting, indexing and archiving services as selected by the JCER.