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Linking EU and National Governance$
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Beate Kohler-Koch

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199252268

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0199252262.001.0001

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Policy‐Making in Fragmented Systems: How to Explain Success

Policy‐Making in Fragmented Systems: How to Explain Success

(p.135) 7 Policy‐Making in Fragmented Systems: How to Explain Success
Linking EU and National Governance

Hubert Heinelt

Tanja Kopp‐Malek

Jochen Lang

Bernd Reissert

Oxford University Press

Over the last decades, the European structural funds have undergone a series of wide-ranging reforms. The history of the funds, thus, does not confirm the ‘joint decision trap’ hypothesis that is often associated with policy-making in the EU multi-level system. Instead, the reforms of the structural funds can be evaluated as a success story, which calls for explanation. In contrast to some of the previous literature, empirical evidence and theoretical reasoning presented in chapter 7 show that it is difficult for the capacity for reform to be related to the existence of a closely-knit network of relevant actors in a single policy community. It is rather the ‘loose coupling’ of elements in a fragmented decision-making structure that keeps the system manageable and explains continuous reform.

Keywords:   institutional reforms, loose coupling, multi-level governance, policy networks, structural funds

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