Lost in the system? Civil society and regional development policy in Poland

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This article discusses the issue of EU-oriented attempts to empower the role of civil society in the realm of public policy in new Member States. The process of including the Third Sector in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of public policies is analysed using the case of civil society organizations in the role of social partners in the field of regional (development) policy in Poland, supported by EU structural funds. On the one hand, provisions provided by the framework of structural funds constitute an opportunity for political–administrative elites to increase the efficiency and legitimacy of the policy by admitting in its perimeter actors representing the Third Sector. On the other hand, it turns out that Polish civil society organizations have difficulties both in playing the role of social partners and in taking advantage of this opportunity to articulate and pursue their interests. Because of several external blockages and internal weaknesses, both their legitimacy and capacity as social partners vis-à-vis the other stakeholders included in the arena of regional development appears limited.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/ap.2009.24

Affiliations: Department of Political Science, University of Rzeszów, Poland, Moniuszki 10 street, 35-015, Rzeszów, Poland

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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