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Governance and Political Entrepreneurship in Europe

Promoting Growth and Welfare in Times of Crisis

Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Charlotte Silander and Daniel Silander

The economic crisis has had severe and negative impacts on the EU over the last decade. This book focuses on a neglected dimension by examining European political entrepreneurship in times of economic crisis with particular emphasis on EU member-states, institutions and policies. The main focus is on the role that the political entrepreneur can play in promoting entrepreneurship and growth. It is argued that the political entrepreneur and political entrepreneurship can positively influence the conditions for entrepreneurial activity and business.
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Rob Atkinson and Karsten Zimmermann

Since the early 1990s the European Commission has launched several urban initiatives that were considered to be part of Cohesion policy. Initiatives such as URBAN I and URBAN II are widely accepted as successful urban programmes that helped cities to cope with challenges such as social exclusion and regeneration of deprived areas. The authors e argue that although the notion of Integrated Sustainable Urban Development is prominent in the current Cohesion policy programmes and a predefined share of each member state’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding must be invested in urban areas, the urban dimension has become somewhat blurred. It remains to be seen whether the new instruments that are thought to provide for better coordination of sectorial policy and more ‘focused urban spending’ are implemented by the member states.

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Marcin Dąbrowski and Paolo R. Graziano

The aim of this chapter is threefold. First, it aims at taking stock of the different strands of research analysing European Union (EU) Cohesion policy through the lens of Europeanisation as an analytical tool. Second, it endeavours to offer a critical overview of what this body of research tells us about the substance of EU Cohesion policy, its influence and spillover effects on the domestic regional policies, administrative systems and governance patterns in various EU countries. Third, the chapter addresses the remaining gaps in our knowledge on Europeanisation in the field of regional policy and suggests avenues for future research on the topic.

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Eve Hepburn

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Riccardo Crescenzi and Fabrizio De Filippis

This chapter looks at the relationships, conflicts and synergies between European Union Cohesion policy and rural development and agricultural policy of the European Union. The chapter analyses the genesis and evolution of these different areas of European policy in order to shed light on their evolutionary patterns, points of contact and reciprocal coordination (or lack thereof) with reference to territorial cohesion. The chapter suggests that relevant policy lessons for territorial cohesion can be learned from all these policies. Different approaches to policy design and implementation may need to co-exist in order to effectively earmark resources to boost economic development in less-developed regions.

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Andrea Lenschow and Jörg Baudner

This chapter traces the evolution of the environmental dimension – operationalised as programmatic change, policy integration and environmental actor participation – in European Union (EU) Cohesion policy over time. While in the early years Cohesion policy was closely tied to an economic growth agenda without explicit consideration of environmental policy, the green dimension emerged in the late 1980s in order to support (costly) compliance with EU environmental policy in economically lagging regions and states. After a temporary dropping of the agenda in the early 2000s, the environmental dimension was revived in the context of the post-Lisbon strategy. The authors argue that the economic framing of environmental spending, as implied in the term ‘green economy’, and the special emphasis on climate change, created a window of opportunity for some policy and procedural reforms in the direction of environmental or climate policy integration in the latest generation of Cohesion policy. These reforms now have to stand the test of implementation.

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J. Andres Faiña, Jesús López-Rodríguez and Paulino Montes-Solla

This chapter discusses infrastructural investment policy in the European Union (EU), both under the rubric of Cohesion policy and under that of EU transportation policy and, in particular, of investment in Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) infrastructure. Investment projects in transportation and public infrastructure (telecommunications, energy, water, sanitation, and so on) play an important role in European regional development policy, so much so that they have been mostly financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF). Unfortunately, there is no conventional wisdom regarding transport infrastructure and regional development, nor is there a clear theory to ascertain how much infrastructure helps a region’s development chances. The focus of this chapter is therefore on the main conceptual tools for designing and evaluating, usually on a region-by-region basis, the right mix of infrastructure and other development goals in the current state of regional development theory and policy in the EU.

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Rocco L. Bubbico, Angel Catalina Rubianes, Eugenia Kazamaki Ottersten and Maria K. Sioliou

This chapter looks at the relationships between Cohesion Policy and the evolution of European Union (EU) economic governance and to the connections between Cohesion Policy and the European Investment Bank. In the crisis years Cohesion policy has been operating in a complex macroeconomic context that has limited its effectiveness. The reinforced EU economic governance in response to the crisis generated a considerable impact on the 2014_2020 policy reform, based on the idea that a healthy macroeconomic environment underpins sustainable regional development and convergence. In this context, the chapter looks at the increased relationships between Cohesion policy and the European Investment Bank, analysing the increased operational interlinkages between grants and financial instruments and the augmented consistency across the implemented instruments resulting from this integration

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Ilona Pálné Kovács

The chapter deals with the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries which joined the European Union (EU) between 2004 and 2013. The nature of regional disparities, the use of Structural and Cohesion Funds and the governance aspects exhibit many CEE features behind the phenomenon of Europeanisation and conditionality. These aspects are emphasised in the chapter. The author concludes that CEE countries have started to catch up, and differences among the member states have decreased. The regional gap is, however, growing within these countries due to their lower competitiveness and lower governance capacity in management of EU funds; raising the question, ten years after the enlargemen, of the fit or misfit of EU Cohesion policy to the Central and Eastern European context.

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Jörg Balsiger

This chapter provides an overview and analysis of the role of Cohesion policy (CP) in seven of the wealthiest member states of the European Union (EU): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Although CP funding is negligible and decreasing relative to national gross domestic product, the chapter shows that CP has nonetheless influenced regional and national trajectories during the past 25 years. The trajectories also confirm what cross-national and country studies have long suggested, namely that uniform CP procedures have never been achieved and that CP implementation has varied considerably throughout the EU. Despite significant differences between the seven countries, they are all highly industrialised, have used more Objective 2 than Objective 1 funding, are for the most part coordinated market economies, and have been net contributors to the Community budget with a strong interest in efficient and effective CP spending. Three common problems these countries face in CP implementation relate to partnership, absorption and administrative procedures. Overall, because CP funding is very small in relative terms, it generally does not achieve the critical mass of funding necessary to really change administrative procedures. On the positive side, this means that CP programmes and projects are implemented relatively smoothly. On the negative side, it means that innovative approaches, especially in evaluation, are often slow to make inroads.