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Über dieses Buch

This book examines new member states’ problems with the absorption of EU funds. Since accession, many new member states from Central and Eastern Europe struggle to access their billions of development funds from Brussels. While existing research mostly emphasizes the role of states’ administrative capacities to account for absorption problems, this study adds the so far neglected role of politics as party politicization to the equation. The argument is tested using a combination of fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) with two detailed process tracing case studies. This book will appeal to scholars interested in EU cohesion policy, post-accession compliance, and post-communist politics.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. EU Funds in the New Member States

Abstract
This chapter gives an overview of the contents of the book and its structure. It introduces the puzzle of absorption problems in Central and Eastern Europe, discusses potential explanations for these problems, and then highlights the approach of analysis. After briefly introducing the main themes of party politicization and patronage, pre-accession reforms, and financial and economic crisis, it gives a brief summary of the framework for analysis and of the following chapters.
Christian Hagemann

Chapter 2. The Puzzle of Absorption Problems in Central and Eastern Europe

Abstract
The second chapter introduces the process of cohesion policy implementation and links its different phases to the steps of formal implementation, application, and enforcement of EU rules typically applied in EU policy studies. It then summarizes new member states’ implementation performance during the 2007–2013 financing period and discusses the variation of absorption problems. There is no obvious explanation for the observed patterns: A lack of EU enforcement after accession is an unlikely explanation for absorption problems as the use of EU funds is strongly in the interest of the new member states. Also, looking only at poor absorption capacities in the region is not fully convincing as there are instances of high absorption in low capacity contexts and as other studies found new member states relatively well prepared in the preceding 2004–2006 financing period.
Christian Hagemann

Chapter 3. Absorption of EU Funds in a Post-communist and Post-accession Context

Abstract
This chapter builds on existing theories’ failure to account convincingly for the patterns and dynamics detected in CEE countries’ absorption performances. It therefore introduces a contextualization of the implementation process in order to identify further relevant influences. The chapter discusses in detail: the region’s disposition to party politicization and patronage in the central state administration; the EU’s attempts of depoliticization and capacity building during the accession process; and the process of post-communist economic reform and its relevance in the context of the global financial and economic crisis, which happened during the period under investigation. The chapter closes with an overview of the framework for analysis and an introduction to the methods applied.
Christian Hagemann

Chapter 4. The Conditions for Absorption Problems in Central and Eastern Europe

Abstract
This chapter contains a fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) of 17 operational programmes (OPs) in the new member states. The chapter introduces the cases and then presents the operationalization and calibration of the outcome and the causal conditions applied in the analysis. It includes a detailed discussion of different administrative capacities in the region, the structure of EU fund management systems, and the development of party competition in the new member states after democratization, focusing specifically on the alternation of parties in control of EU funded programmes during the financing period. It then conducts an analysis of necessity and sufficiency to account for the outcome of absorption problems as well as its complement. The chapter closes with a detailed discussion of results and their contribution.
Christian Hagemann

Chapter 5. A Causal Mechanism for Absorption Problems

Abstract
This chapter presents two detailed case studies of operational programmes with absorption problems from the 2007–2013 financing period. It builds on the combination of conditions detected in the fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis in chapter four to formulate a causal mechanism for absorption problems, and then specifies empirical observations to test this mechanism. The mechanism is tested in two process tracing case studies, the Czech OP Environment and the Romanian OP Transport. The chapter closes again with a detailed discussion of the findings and their contribution.
Christian Hagemann

Chapter 6. Conclusions and Implications for the Region and Beyond

Abstract
This chapter summarizes the results of both the fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis as well as the two process tracing case studies. It discusses the plausibility of the findings against the backdrop of competing hypothesis. It then specifies the contribution of the results to the field of Europeanization studies, post-communist transformation, and pre-accession reforms. It closes with the potential transferability of the findings to the context of the old member states and hints and interesting avenues for future research in this field.
Christian Hagemann

Backmatter

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