Gemeinschaftsaufgabe: Verbesserung der regionalen Wirtschaftsstruktur (GRW) (German Edition)

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To link different versions of the same work, where versions have a different title, use this form. Note that if the versions have a very similar title and are in the author's profile, the links will usually be created automatically. Distinguishing between the 'supranational' and the 'domestic' spheres and asking what sorts of 'pressure' are exerted upwards or downwards i. The very limited empirical evidence presented above suggests that an approach is needed that goes beyond this distinction and seeks to conceptualise EC influence as an integral part of domestic policy-making rather than understanding it as a pressure exerted 'from the outside'.

The central notion of the multi-level governance literature is that within the emerging Euro-polity, "[p]olitical arenas are interconnected rather than nested. The clear separation between domestic and international politics The central point here is that although the political arenas of "the nation state" or "Brussels" are still there in a formal sense i.

Hence, there is a growing gap between "government" in the Weberian sense of formal state structures endowed with legitimate and unchallenged authority over a territorially defined society, and "governance" in the sense of the production of collective goods.

Joint task for the improvement of the regional economic structure | Eurofound

The notion of multi-level governance seems to mirror on a theoretical level some of the empirical observations made in the previous chapter. Yet, while the idea of a multilevel political system may render a relatively good description of policy-making within the Community, its analytical and explanatory powers are limited Pierson The limitations of conventional policy-analytical approaches are of a different sort.

While their explanatory power is greater due to a clear identification of the variables driving policy change, the point of reference traditionally is the nation state. Ten years ago, Manfred G. Schmidt criticised main stream policy-analytical approaches for usually starting from a "domestic politics hypothesis", according to which international factors have only very limited influence on domestic policies Schmidt , Although nowadays there is much more awareness of the relevance of international factors e.

Again, while this may be true in a formal sense i. A pragmatic way of linking the explanatory strengths of policy-analytical approaches with the descriptional accuracy of the multi-level governance literature is to ask how the presence of multi-level governance may influence the variables considered crucial by conventional policy-analytical literature.

Two major approaches towards policy change dominate the discussion, namely conflict- based and knowledge- or learning-based approaches Heclo , Hall , Hall , Hood , Parsons , Radaelli These approaches see two major sets of variables as crucial for the explanation of policy change, namely power and preferences on the one side and knowledge and information on the other. The idea that variables such as the preferences and relative power of actors and the knowledge and ideas upon which policy design rests, are susceptible to international influences, is, of course, not new.

For instance, the exchange of knowledge and ideas across borders, and processes of cross-border policy learning are much discussed phenomena e. Yet, this literature derives its hypotheses mainly from the facts of increasing international movements of capital, goods and technology and an increasingly fast dispersion of new knowledge across borders.

The question whether the presence of a supranational redistributive policy has comparable effects on domestic policies, i. In the remainder of this article, I will discuss power- and knowledge-based approaches towards the question of policy change in the context of the European system of multi-level governance. Pluralist, marxist and elitist models of policy-making have argued that policy-making can be portrayed as a matter of reconciling the conflicting preferences of rational actors, each of them striving for an outcome that will best serve his interest.

If one accepts such a view, one should roughly be able to explain the shape of policy as a result of the different directions in which actors or coalitions of actors are pulling, and how much force each of these coalitions can bring to bear. Hence, a change of policy can either be explained by changing preferences of single actors this will normally apply only to central actors with the capacity to enforce and implement a change of policies unilaterally , or by the emergence of new actor coalitions, which alters the distribution of power within the policy domain.

To some extent, the distinction between a change in actor constellations and a change in preferences is arbitrary, because the formation of new coalitions will normally be the product of a convergence of individual preferences. Yet, it is heuristically useful to keep changing preferences and changing actor coalitions apart. The German experience suggests that the role of the EC is different for both processes.

As regards changing actor constellations , the EC context seems to matter both through the mobilisation of previously unorganised actors, and through the formation of new coalitions within the national policy domain. The European funds present an opportunity for hitherto marginalised actors to gain financial support for projects of particular interest to them, and to increase their salience in the regional policy field in general Kohler-Koch In the context of GRW reform in Germany, the clearest example are those previously uninvolved actors that have entered the regional policy domain, such as the federal transport and environment ministries.

Two EC-related explanations can be found for the emergence of that new actor coalition: Although the independent capacities of the Commission to upset existing structures and policies must not be over-emphasised, it seems to have played a role in mobilising previously uninvolved actors and in aggregating their demands. The mobilisation of previously unorganised actors i. The previously uninvolved actors mentioned above may have been interested in shaping regional policies before, but obviously have chosen not to do so because of the limited resources available.

Yet, as soon as Brussels began to support environmental and large-scale infrastructure projects, and as soon as money started to flow into East Germany, the stakes to be gained were much higher. Hence, influencing how ERDF money and national co-financing funds were spent became a much more rewarding option.

GRW-Förderung: Investieren in Berlin

To the extent that the GRW framework restricted the possible uses to which the funds could be put, it seems plausible that a change of these restrictions was demanded. A change of preferences can also be observed in the position of the Federal Economics Ministry, which finally gave up its opposition to changes. One important explanation is that with the advent of European funds after unification, and their huge increase in , the control over ERDF spending became a greater priority than the coherence of the domestic policy framework, which had traditionally been highly valued Tetsch , Anderson The actors demanding a change of the GRW criteria were able to redress the balance between the conflicting goals of preserving the coherence of the GRW policy framework and the facilitation of financial transfers from Brussels Die Zeit, In sum, the presence of an additional supranational layer of regional policy in Germany seems to have had three effects: Actors that have previously taken little or no interest in the policies for supporting investments and infrastructure developments have become involved in the GRW reform discussion.

Second, and partly as a result, new actor coalitions have formed along pre-existing lines of conflict. Third, there has been a however limited EC-induced shift of preferences on the side of Bund policy-makers. Taken together, all three trends point to a decreasing possibility of unilateral control over domestic policies in the context of multi-level governance.

Knowledge-based models of policy change do not dismiss the basic idea of power-based approaches that policies can be seen as the product of the preferences of self-interested actors and the power resources that these actors or coalitions of actors can command. They hold, however, that by assuming self-interested behaviour of each actor, the theoretically and empirically important question of how preferences come to be defined in the first place is bracketed Heclo , Hall Policy change therefore may result not only from changing preferences and the dynamics of actor coalitions, but also from changing perceptions of how the policy problem in question is to be defined, and what the appropriate solutions are.

An emerging consensus on appropriate solutions can also decrease the level of conflict between different actors, so that the explanatory value of power and preferences is qualified. Seen in the light of GRW reform in Germany, the relevance of the EC context for changing problem perceptions, or the formation of an ideational consensus upon which new policies can be built, seems to be limited. In this respect, EC regional policy has served as a laboratory, in which new and unconventional approaches to regional policies could be tested out before they were suggested as alternative courses of action in the national policy debate.

The system of supranational co-funding and the principle of multi-annual development programmes in EC regional policy have a double significance here. First, due to the involvement of a variety of actors in the implementation of EC regional policy, numerous players can assemble experiences with new forms of policy.

The need to devise and implement pluri-annual programmes entails a continuous discussion of policy goals, policy criteria etc. The result may not only be a discussion of implementation problems, but also of supranational and domestic policies themselves Heinelt Second, the system installs a direct competition between supranational and national approaches towards regional development policy. The EC with its multiple meetings of policy-makers and experts has created a hothouse for processes of 'lesson-drawing' from other countries Rose If programmes in industry, employment, transportation, or other fields appear more effective, then a national government must ask: Could that programme work in our country?

It is quite obvious that for some of the dissatisfied actors in East Germany the ERDF approach seemed to be more appropriate to tackle the economic hardship in the East.

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Empirically, however, it is extraordinarily difficult to show that the EC context actually induced processes of policy learning and questioning the ideational basis of domestic policies cf. The aim of this article has been mainly theoretical. Starting from the experience of regional policy reform in Germany, I have suggested different ways of assessing the significance of supranational factors for the development of domestic regional policy.

As suggested by the literature on multi-level governance, the presence of EC regional policy should be seen as an integral part of domestic policy making rather than as an external constraint. Yet, the ability of conventional policy-analytical approaches to take account of such multi-level political processes seems to be limited.

The second part of the article suggested that it is not necessary to devise completely new analytical concepts. Rather, the existing approaches towards the question of policy change need to be refined against the background of multi-level governance. Drawing from the experience of GRW reform in Germany, it has been argued that the EC context may dynamize domestic politics and may matter for policy development 1 through changing preferences of actors involved in regional policy-making e. Because these thoughts have been developed against the background of just one episode of domestic policy change, the general validity of my arguments is limited.

There are several peculiar features of the German polity and of the institutional structures within its regional policy domain that were conducive to the processes observed above: Such conflicts were dynamized by the increased flow of resources into East Germany, and the economic hardship experienced by the East German regions.

Although there has been some active policy entrepreneurship of the Commission regarding the GRW scheme, it seems unlikely that such involvement could be successful in the absence of pre-existing conflicts. Second, the federal nature of the German polity and the tradition of departmental policy-making Ressortprinzip has meant that strong diverging interests and powerful contenders for control over the use of ERDF aid were present. Because its function is not just the distribution of a given amount of resources, reforms of the GRW framework entail tricky questions about power and competence in the regional policy domain.

Hence, the changes of the GRW in remained relatively minor, given that it was also discussed to abolish the scheme completely. As a result of such peculiarities, further cases of regional policy change both in Germany and in other EU member states have to be researched before the level of speculation can be left.

Yet, the reservations about the possibility to abstract from the episode of GRW reform in Germany do not necessarily invalidate the explanatory patterns discussed above. Rather, they are a reminder that the institutional context of policy-making in individual member states has to be taken into account when discussing the question of domestic policy change under the influence of supranational factors. First, the challenges posed by the presence of EC regional policy are likely to be rather different, according to the respective country-specific variables Conzelmann In contrast, the EC requirement to draw up schemes on a pluri-annual basis and in partnership with subnational actors sits uneasily with the more centralist tradition of British regional policy Bache The different challenges posed by the EC context are rooted in different institutional and cognitive contexts at the national level, and these contexts also matter.

Domestic institutions 28 can partially explain what goals actors pursue, and which coalitions they are likely to enter; hence any analysis asking for the effects of the supranational context on actor preferences and coalition formation must not neglect the effect of existing institutional contexts on these variables. Furthermore, not only institutional, but also cognitive contexts may be important in shaping the way in which supranational factors come to be felt in domestic politics. Hence, all three of the explanatory patterns discussed above are likely to be fractured according to national context.

A third effect of domestic institutional contexts is that they are likely to determine the way in which alternative policy conceptions are used in the national debate. Where a government possesses the institutional powers to address economic problems without regard to entrenched interests and distributory consequences of policy decisions, the function of EC regional policy as a source of inspiration may bear a relatively larger significance.

Joint task for the improvement of the regional economic structure

Yet, as distributional consequences are likely to enter the considerations in multi-actor settings, policy change is less likely on the basis of assumptions about the greater effectiveness of an alternative policy alone. Accordingly, the influence of the supranational context on preferences and coalition building is likely to have a stronger effect, and the impartial and unbiased use of knowledge is unlikely.

Fourth, and partly linked to the last argument, the trajectories of policy change are likely to differ between countries. Policies may fulfil different roles in different national settings; e. Consequently, a refurbishing of the existing scheme may be more likely than its complete abolishment. The discussion over the appropriateness of policy schemes tends not to be confused with debates over power and influence.

As a result, schemes may be refurbished or abolished more easily, and ERDF funds may be channelled into alternative policy schemes with lesser political conflict. With the Community getting more involved into spending programmes for research and development, transport infrastructures, and, possibly, employment, it is not unlikely that processes reminiscent of the ones described in this article may be found in a variety of policy areas.

The goal of this article has been to present a heuristical model with which processes of policy change under the influence of supranational factors may be analysed. In any case, it seems important not to see the EC solely in terms of an external constraint on policy development.


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Rather, the influence of supranational factors may be felt both in terms of a context that dynamizes political processes, and in terms of an active involvement of the Commission and, possibly, other supranational actors in the domestic policy-making arena. Cohesion and structural adjustment; in: Policy-Making in the European Union ; Oxford, pp. Skeptical refelections on a Europe of the Regions. Pluralism, Corporatism, and Economic Crisis ; Cambridge. Germany and the Structural Funds: Unification Leads to Bifurcation; in: Cohesion Policy and European Integration.

Building Multi-Level Governance ; Oxford, pp. The European Union and the regions ; Oxford, pp. Building Multi-Level Governance ; Oxford. The lessons of learning: Reconciling theories of policy learning and policy change; Policy Sciences 25 2 , pp.


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  • Gemeinschaftsaufgabe "Verbesserung der regionalen Wirtschaftsstruktur": DGB Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund , Who Learns What from Whom: Bringing the State Back In ; Cambridge. Ewringmann, Dieter et al. National Styles and Policy Sectors: The Second Image Reversed: Policy Paradigms, Social Learning and the State. The Political Power of Economic Ideas. Keynesianism across Nations ; Princeton. Modern Social Politics in Britain and Sweden.