Studies in EU Reform and Enlargement series
Edited by Udo Diedrichs, Wulf Reiners and Wolfgang Wessels
Chapter 6: Cohesion Policy in the New Member States: Unfolding New Modes of Governance?
Kálmán Dezséri and Krisztina Vida INTRODUCTION This chapter analyses briefly the governance modes of cohesion policy at the European Union level and, in more detail, its implementation in eight new member states, putting special emphasis on the existence of new modes of governance in this policy field.1 At the European level the elements of ‘new’ (or rather alternative) modes of governance complement the classical modes by providing for a ‘learning path’ before sovereignty is ceded to the EU level, and for more efficiency, democracy and legitimacy after sovereignty has been ceded. Thus it seems justifiable to speak of ‘mixed modes’ of governance, pointing to the combination of old, or classical, and new methods, showing the signs of continuous evolution in both the horizontal (EU institutions’ interactions) and the vertical (involvement of regional and local partners) dimensions. As regards national implementation of cohesion policy, the EU has created a framework of legal, procedural and financial conditions that actually initiate a kind of decentralization and involvement of the regional and local governments, civil society and other stakeholders in policy formulation, implementation and monitoring processes, with a view to enabling EU structural assistance to be efficiently absorbed. Although there are no EU rules binding member states to decentralize and maximize participation, effective utilization of the different funds does call for compliance with these principles (Lakatos, 2007: 178). Thus, through the design and implementation of cohesion policy, new, multi-level and multiactor types of governance modes can be identified. This chapter sheds...
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