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Partnerships in EU cohesion policy: effective and efficient?

Dorine Boumans

This paper is part of a PhD research, which examines partnership working in the implementation of public policy and its performance, with a specific focus on EU cohesion policy. In relation to the principle of partnership within EU cohesion policy and the move towards more partnership based approaches in public policy implementation in general, this research will examine the conditions of partnership needed for effective and efficient policy implementation within EU cohesion policy. General within public policy, and more specific in EU cohesion policy, there has been a move towards partnership-based approaches regarding implementation. This emerged due to the reforms in management of government functions and the ‘rescaling’ of regional policy. In addition, recent analyses on network governance argue that ‘embeddedness’ and ‘centrality’ of the actor in the network has significant effect on the performance of public policy implementation. The paper will therefore examine partnership within implementation of EU cohesion policy from a network governance perspective. The paper will define partnership within EU cohesion policy, and analyse the aspects of partnership working. Also a measurement of performance of EU cohesion policy projects is proposed, which will be followed by the proposed framework for assessing the implications of network structure and what effect that has on the performance of partnership.

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