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Role of the Core Executive in the Europeanization of the Regional Policy: The Case of Bulgaria

Alexander Yanakiev

The paper gives background information on the Bulgarian regional development policy settings and explores the changes in the system made during the preparation for accession to the EU. In order to show how these changes were made, and what is the role of the central government in these changes, paper explores the overall system of the EU affairs coordination in Bulgaria, because the programming related to the implementation of the EU regional development policy are among the issues that fall within the scope of this system and all the programming documents (National Strategic Reference Framework and the operative programs) need to be approved by the Bulgarian central government. The paper also gives an answer from the point of view of multi-level governance theory to the question why Bulgaria chose administrative-statistical regionalization in response to the adaptation pressures coming from Brussels during the preparation for accession to the EU. The paper also attempts to explain the role of the core executive in the making of this choice (was the government attempting to preserve the role of a gate keeper between and were there any other characteristics of the existing situation with a gate keeping effect.)

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