This article assesses the role of administrative capacity in explaining the performance of eight Central and Eastern European countries (EU8) in managing and implementing Cohesion policy over the 2004-08 period. Drawing on a conceptual framework from the Europeanization literature, it explores whether pre-accession administrative adjustment to comply with the acquis continued in the post-accession period, against a backdrop of critical assessments about the state of administrative capacity for managing Cohesion policy. We conclude that administrative capacity was developed faster and more substantially than commentators predicted at the time of accession. The findings have important implications for our understanding of the post-accession compliance record of the EU8, challenging the contention that they fall within a ‘world of dead letters’. We argue that administrative capacity, as a rationalist mediating factor of Europeanization, has been underestimated and that insufficient attention has been given to the dynamics of capacity evolution and the role of learning.
- cohesion policy
- structural funds
- European integration
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Impact of research on the implementation of EU Cohesion policy on the European Commission's legislative proposals for the reform of the policy
Impact: Impact - for External Portal › Policy and legislation, Economic and commerceFile