Roles and meanings of informality in transnational accountability: the EU migration crisis in the realm of transnational municipal networks
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This master thesis investigates the meanings and functions of transnational accountability by analyzing the informal means of organizing accountability in emerging transnational governance networks. In this regard, the study will shed light onto a transnational municipal network (TMN) named EUROCITIES to understand the new realm of transnational governance in greater detail and examine its potential for transcending accountability gaps among conventional state-based actors. Accountability will be construed as an institutional arrangement within a broader governance setting and investigated in terms of ‘to what’, ‘to whom’, and ‘by what means’. When transnationality enters the picture, new non-state actors earn presence on the one hand, while the three focal points of accountability relationship becomes obscured on the other, leading to the issue of accountability gap. In this conceptual framework, the project examines the accountability relationship of EUROCITIES as a single case study as an intersection of the concept, transnational realm, and real-life issue of the 2015/2016 migration crisis, utilizing a qualitative inductive analysis. It concludes that EUROCITIES operates based on a new, more emancipatory sense of accountability to outperform the formal accountability, which makes it, both the secretariat and its member cities, an adaptive partner for the EU to address the accountability gap and the crisis.