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Steering or Networking: the Impact of Europe 2020 on Regional Governance Structures

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Maes, Frederic; Bursens, Peter

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Abstract This article probes into how regions organize themselves to deal effectively with the Europe 2020 reform program. More specifically, it maps governance structures of regional policy-making and implementation of Europe 2020 and explains variation in these structures between policy domains and policy stages. The empirical focus is Flanders as this Belgian region possesses substantial legislative and executive autonomy and is therefore highly affected by the Europe 2020 program. The article distinguishes between policy-making (upload) and implementation stages (download) in education, energy and poverty policies. It is hypothesized that the varying impact of Europe 2020 can be attributed to the varying adaptational pressure of EU programs and a set of domestic intervening factors. Findings indicate variation between policy domains and policy stages on a continuum from lead-organization governed networks to shared participant governance networks. Overall, the extent to which Flanders is competent seems to be crucial. In addition, a substantial administrative capacity is needed to firmly steer and coordinate the governance structures that manage Europe 2020 policies. The level of integration further increases the extent to which Flemish Europe 2020 policies are steered.
Keywords Europeanization; European integration; open method of coordination; governance; European Policy; regional policy; Belgium; educational policy; energy policy; social policy
Classification European Politics
Free Keywords Europe 2020; subnational level
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages p. 100-116
Journal Politics and Governance, 3 (2015) 2
ISSN 2183-2463
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution