Using partnership to ameliorate regional policies? The case of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
European urban and Regional Studies
GB : SAGE Publications
398 - 415 p.
European Union cohesion policy, Germany, governance, partnership principle, place-based approach, regional policies
The partnership principle in the European Union has often been examined in the context of the emergence of a multilevel type of governance. Recently, a number of studies have focused on the implementation of the European Cohesion Policy in the new member states. They have listed the numerous obstacles to its functioning effectively. However, given the shortfalls, they were not in the position to question the entire range of effects of partnership when it does indeed work. Complementary to this approach, this paper starts from the example of a best-practice, looking at the concrete results of the use of partnership to ensure a place-based approach to regional policies. It uses the example of the East-German Land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, a NUTS II region that benefits from structural funding under the convergence objective. After a brief description of how the partnership principle works on the ground, it examines the conditions of its success. It then analyses its contribution to “good governance”. Lastly, it examines whether this form of partnership rises to the challenge of implementing a place-based approach as defined in the Barca Report. It argues that it neither offers all individuals a chance to become informed and contribute their knowledge or express their preferences about the delivery of projects, which involve the very technical issues of regional development and the disbursement of the structural funds. Nor does it allow control and pressure on policy makers by the citizen. The findings show that, as a consequence, the kind of policies promoted fail to fulfil both the objectives of efficiency and equity.