This study of regional development and institutional changes in central Europe examines the impact of EU structural funds in Lower Silesia, Poland. The system designed by the Polish government for distributing these funds is assessed by focusing on the origin and relevance of institutional arrangements and possible changes therein. Attention is paid both to the institutional adjustments made in Poland before the introduction of the EU's regional policy and to the process whereby the administrations responsible for distributing these funds and beneficiaries learn through practice. The reform of territorial management that was supposed to prepare an administrative framework for managing the structural funds (an EU requirement) ran afoul of Polish centralization and other legacies from the Communist past, which are still deeply rooted in the administrative system. As a result, central authorities still oversee the management of regional policy - a tendency reinforced by the reassertion of control by the very state that had designed the system for distributing structural funds so as to restrict the role of regional authorities. As the analysis of Lower Silesia shows, persisting centralism and formalism hamper the system's effectiveness. However collective learning at all levels has helped develop the administration's capacities while gradually rationalized procedures made it easier to absorb structural funds. Furthermore, the regionalization of the management of the structural funds during the 2007-2013 period could turn out to be a vector for reinforcing regional authorities despite persisting supervision by the central government. These two phenomena might weaken the centralization that has deeply shaped territorial administration and the system for distributing structural funds.
|Number of pages||25|
|Journal||Revue d’Etudes Comparatives Est-Ouest|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|
- EU cohesion policy
- Central and Eastern Europe