Paraphrasing an expression commonly used in English, "the devil is in the detail" in a recent article in West European Politics, Ian Bache noted that "the history of the instrument of partnership for regional policy EU discusses policy that the devil lies in the details of which actors are involved, in what circumstances and for what objectives "*. This essay aims to provide more empirical evidence on this 'detail', investigating in particular the horizontal aspect of the partnership. The article emphasizes that a large part of the emphasis on the concept of partnership as an instrument of policy actually overstates a phenomenon that has certainly been very important in the context of European cohesion policy, with a dynamic expansion during the relevant time and pin effects on other policies, both European and Member States but also at the same time varied in intensity and concreteness, and often impeded by obstacles that are not visible in the current regulatory framework as in the past, effective responses. The paper examines the experiences of horizontal partnerships in 15 countries in the EU27 ERDF programming, seen in the context of the experience gained in the past programming period (2000-06). We analyze, first, the practices of partnership programs ERDF programming period, with particular reference to the role of partnership as a means of 'responsiveness', effectiveness and accountability. We then discuss the barriers that still hinder the effective enforcement of regulations in terms of partnership, some initiatives in place to counter these barriers. The article ends with a series of reflections on the actual weight, actual and prospective, the horizontal partnerships in Community regional policy.
- European cohesion policy