Cohesion Policy as Learning: The Planning Process and Administrative Responses

  • Robert Leonardi

Abstract

From the very beginning cohesion was conceived as a dynamic policy process that was not only interested in certain “outputs” (the expenditure of money and administrative undertakings) as has been the case with the agricultural policy’s guarantee section but rather with “outcomes” (the impact of the policy on socio-economic levels) in the less developed regions. For cohesion the primary policy outcome is defined as the reduction of regional disparities between the less and more developed areas of the Community. Cohesion policy, therefore, has a territorialized socioeconomic impact; it was never designed to achieve the reduction of disparities between social groups.1

Keywords

Europe Posit Sine Arena Librium 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See the discussion by Liesbet Hooghe, “EU Cohesion Policy and Competing Models of European Capitalism”, Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 36, No. 4, December 1998, pp. 457–477 of the two different socio-economic models in contention with the implementation of the EU’s cohesion policy.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Eneko Landaburu, “The reform of the Structural Funds: the first year of implementation” in Achille Hannequart (ed.), Economic and Social Cohesion in Europe, London: Routledge, 1992, pp. 77–86 and Elvira Urzainqui and Rosario de Andres, “The implementation of the reform of the Structural Funds in the lagging regions of the Community” in Achille Hannequart, Ibid., pp. 87–98.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Guy Peters, Institutional Theory in Political Science, London: Pinter Publishers, 1999, p. 33.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Where these institutions do not exist we have seen that the consultation process is much less extensive and involves fewer actors. This is abundantly clear in the discussion presented by John Sutcliffe, “Subnational Influence on the Structural Funds: The Highlands and Islands of Scotland”, Regional and Federal Studies, Vol. 12, No. 3, Autumn 2003, pp. 102–127 who describes the shift of policymaking and implementation from the Scottish Office to the Scottish regional executive once devolution had taken place. This is also the result arrived at in the ADAPT project (see special issue of Regional and Federal Studies, August 2004) which looked at the consultative process and institutional networks involved in the formulation and implementation of cohesion policies in Ireland, Portugal and Greece. Institutions do matter, and they matter particularly in structuring the policy process. Therefore, centralized governmental systems tend to produce centralized network patterns of consultation and implementation.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    The regulations governing the use and therefore the implementation of the Structural Funds are usually passed one year before the new CSF cycle begins. However, in 1996 a new regulation governing the use of ERDF funds was adopted to tighten the rules and make the use of funds more transparent. These objectives were later reinforced by the 1999 Regulation. See European Commission, Structural Actions 2000–2006, Commentary and Regulations, Luxembourg, Office of Official Publications of the European Communities, 2000.Google Scholar
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    Edward A. Parson et al., “Understanding Climatic Impacts, Vulnerabilities and Adaptation in the United States”, Climatic Change, Vol. 57, 2003, pp. 9–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See Maria-Angeles Diez, “Evaluating New Regional Policies: Reviewing the Theory and Practice”, Evaluation, Vol. 8, No. 3, 2000, pp. 285–305. The practice of the EU’s cohesion policy during the first two stages — 1989/93 and 1994/99-have shown that member states have not been capable of fully spending their initial allotments of Structural Funds.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Our “negation” response is similar to what in the literature on operational management is called “resistance to change”. See Antonio Giangreco, Resistance to change of middle managers, Milan, Franco Angeli, 2001, pp. 122–123.Google Scholar
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    See Giuliano Bianchi, “The IMPs: A Missed Opportunity? An Appraisal of the Design and Implementation of the Integrated Mediterranean Programs” in R. Leonardi (ed.) The Regions and the European Community: The Response to the Single Market in the Underdeveloped Areas, London: Frank Cass, 1993, pp. 47–70Google Scholar
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    See Fabrizio Barca, “Il ruolo del Dipartimento per le Politiche di Sviluppo e di Coesione-DPS” Le istituzioni del federalismo, 2001, March-April, pp. 419–446.Google Scholar
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    See Sergio Fabbrini and Marco Brunazzo, “Federalizing Italy: The Convergent Effects of Europeanization and Domestic Mobilization”, Regional and Federal Studies, Vol. 13, No. 1, Spring 2003, pp. 100–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See Heather Grabbe, “Europeanization Goes East: Power and Uncertainty in the EU Accession Process”, in Keven Featherstone and Claudio Radaelli (eds) The Politics of Europeanization, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, pp. 302–327.Google Scholar

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© Robert Leonardi 2005

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  • Robert Leonardi

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