Public Release: 

The Johan Skytte Prize to Professor Fritz W. Scharpf

Uppsala University

The Johan Skytte Foundation at Uppsala University, Sweden, has awarded Professor Fritz W. Scharpf at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany, the Johan Skytte Prize for 2000.

According to the Prize Committee, Professor Scharpf has been awarded for "having analyzed key concepts of political science with theoretical clarity and empirical thoroughness during an era of transnational change".

This is the first time a researcher placed in Europe receives the award. In his earlier writings Professor Scharpf studied the problems of multilevel governance in the German federation. Later he approached similar problems within the European Union, recently published in the eminent work Governing in Europe. Effective and democratic? (1999). Professor Scharpf has also made distinguished contributions to the use of game theory and explanation by rational choice.

The legitimacy of the European Union depends on its capacity to solve problems of importance to the citizens. At the same time the majority is hostile to continued federalistic development. The solution is not to democratize the European Union, according to professor Scharpf. That would lead to more majority decisions, demands on economic re-distribution between the member states, and because of that, frequent conflicts. Without a common identity and willingness to accept majority decisions, the union is in danger of being torn apart.

The suggested alternative is to limit the federal authority to questions of market and currency. By keeping the money, demanding questions of social, educational, and employment policy within the national sovereignty - but coordinate these policy areas through parallel national decisions - the union will be more effective, and thereby increase its legitimacy.

The Johan Skytte Prize of 400 000 Swedish kr (approximately 50,000 US dollars) is one of the largest in the world within the social sciences. The prize ceremony is to be held in September in Uppsala, Sweden.


For more information, please contact Professor Leif Lewin, Uppsala University, telephone number +46 (0)18 471 34 12, or visit the Johan Skytte Prize Homepage at

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