This paper conceptualises European governance as a continuous series of collective action games among national regulators. European administration is theorized as a set of mutually beneficial relations among independent regulators, rather than as a hierarchy of supranational institutions, courts, and national administrators. The collective action approach highlights the importance of certain factors in fostering regulatory cooperation and enabling the common market to become an administrative reality: repeated interactions, monitoring and sanctioning by the Commission and the courts, reciprocity norms, and trust. It also suggests that one of the most significant challenges of enlargement will be to establish cooperative regulatory exchanges among old and new regulators. Regulators in the existing member states do not always trust the capacity of Central and Eastern European regulators to administer the acquis communautaire. Cooperation and trust among old and new regulators will also prove difficult because, after enlargement, their relations will gradually shift from ones of power to ones of mutually beneficial exchanges among equals. The solution lies in self-awareness of the structure of the collective action game, a more active role for the Commission and the Court in monitoring compliance, and strict adherence to a strategy of reciprocity in retaliating for non-compliance.
Francesca Bignami, The Challenge of Cooperative Regulatory Relations after Enlargement in LAW AND GOVERNANCE IN AN ENLARGED EUROPEAN UNION, (George A. Bermann and Katharina Pistor, eds., Hart Publishing 2004).