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Partnership as an EU Policy Instrument: A Political History

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Partnership is an idea whose time has come. It has been a prominent instrument of EU regional policy since 1989, requiring as a condition of funding that member states establish partnerships in each assisted region to oversee spending decisions. Over time, the requirement has become more precise to ensure the participation not only of state actors from various territorial levels, but also non-state actors. Using the political sociology approach to policy instruments, this article considers the creation and development of the partnership instrument and analyses the key debates and issues that have informed its evolution. It argues that while partnership has been generally presented as a technical device aimed at improving decisional efficiency and policy effectiveness, it is a highly political instrument with very different purposes and effects in different contexts.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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