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The EU 'Partnership Principle' Revisited – A Critical Appraisal of its Integrationist Potential as a Governance Device Interconnecting Multiple Administrative Arenas

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Bauer,  Michael W.
Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Bauer, M. W. (2001). The EU 'Partnership Principle' Revisited – A Critical Appraisal of its Integrationist Potential as a Governance Device Interconnecting Multiple Administrative Arenas.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-6C9B-0
Abstract
This article analyses the ‘partnership principle’—which is of particular importance for multilevel governance interpretations of European integration—as it evolved in EU regional policy-making. After sketching the crucial analytical lines of the current debate on ‘partnership’ on the example of the implementation of the EU structural policy in Germany, I examine how it functions. A closer look at two important sub-fields of ‘partnership’—‘societal participation’ and ‘policy evaluation’—reveals that theoretical expectations regarding its transforming potential, in terms of pitting supranational and subnational actors against central state authority and thereby cir-cumventing the latter, have not materialised. On the contrary, recently rising resentment and out and out conflict between the European Commission and regional authorities so far point to theoretically unexpected limitations of ‘partnership’, calling into question whether it is an appro-priate and sustainable inter-administrative co-ordination device—at least when viewed from the perspective of the multilevel governance thesis. In the light of the reported insights into the prac-tice of ‘partnership’, this ‘new mode of EU governance’ thus needs to be reassessed.