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Chapter

Mark A. Pollack

This chapter examines various theories on European Union policy-making and policy processes. It begins with a discussion of theories of European integration: neo-functionalism, intergovernmentalism, liberal intergovernmentalism, the ‘new institutionalisms’, constructivism, and realism. It then considers the increasing number of studies that approach the EU through the lenses of comparative politics and comparative public policy, focusing on the federal or quasi-federal aspects of the EU and its legislative, executive, and judicial politics. It also explores the vertical and horizontal separation of powers in the EU and concludes by looking at the ‘governance approach’ to the EU, with emphasis on multi-level governance and EU policy networks, Europeanization, and the question of the EU’s democratic deficit.

Chapter

This chapter examines theories of European Union governance. As European integration progressed, the academic focus began to shift from explaining the integration process to understanding the EU as a political system. As such, EU scholars increasingly drew on approaches from the study of domestic and comparative politics. This chapter surveys a number of approaches that focus on the EU as a political system. These approaches are quite varied and include new institutionalism, governance, and policy network approaches. At the end of the chapter attention is turned to some of the overall characterizations of EU governance that also offer valuable insights: supranational governance; new intergovernmentalism; and differentiated integration.

Chapter

10. Cohesion Policy  

A New Direction for New Times?

Ian Bache

This chapter examines the European Union’s cohesion policy, aimed primarily at reducing the social and economic differences between EU regions. Academic analysis of cohesion policy has generated insights that have framed wider debates about the nature of the EU as a whole, particularly through the concept of multi-level governance. Moreover, while cohesion policy has taken up a growing share of the EU’s budget, its purpose, effectiveness, and durability have been increasingly challenged. Before analysing these issues, the chapter provides an overview of the emergence of cohesion policy, taking into account the Cohesion Fund and policy reform in the 1990s, 2006, and 2013. It then considers the implementation of cohesion policy and discusses five variants of the modes through which the policy handles day-to-day policy-making: the classical Community method, the regulatory policy mode, the distributional policy mode, policy coordination, and intensive transgovernmentalism.

Chapter

10. Cohesion Policy  

Doing More with Less

John Bachtler and Carlos Mendez

European Union cohesion policy accounts for a major share of the EU budget and aims to reduce economic, social, and territorial disparities through investment programmes and projects aligned with EU strategic objectives and implemented under a unique model of multi-level governance. This chapter reviews the evolution of cohesion policy over successive reform phases, how the policy is implemented, and the evidence for its effectiveness. It also discusses the different policy modes encompassed in the policy, and it reviews recent political developments relating to politicization, Brexit, the sectoralization of EU spending, and the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic. The chapter concludes that the resourcing, priorities, and governance of cohesion policy for 2021–27 represent a new turning point in the prospects for the policy, following the strategic turns of 2006 and 2013 (Bachtler et al. 2013). While the budget for cohesion policy remains substantial, the policy’s importance is diminishing as a result of greater centralization of political decision-making within the Commission, a fragmentation of the political constituencies for cohesion policy, and the dominance of non-spatial EU policy priorities with centralized delivery mechanisms.