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Who works in the local European laboratories? a comparative study of networks in Euroregions Clemens, Christian Conrad

Abstract

In Europe various policy areas have experienced transfers of authority to the supranational level of the European Union (EU) while subnational regions within countries have become more powerful under the principle of subsidiarity. The three traditional layers of European government are being transformed into a new form of network governance. The EU's multiple Euroregions that are funded by the INTERREG IMA program develop cross-border cooperation projects that are supposed to lead to policy network structures. The questions raised in my thesis explore how widespread these Euroregional networks are in practice, which organizations are included in the network and which actors are better linked than others. I conduct a comparative case study involving networks of two different Euroregions: The Euroregion Maas-Rhine (MRE), which embodies districts of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, and the Euroregion Pro Europa Viadrina, including Frankfurt/Oder and the region around the Polish city of Slubice. The empirical analysis consists of cataloguing all organizations that have established cross-border cooperation funded by INTERREG III A in the period 2000-2006. These organizations are grouped according to priority fields formulated by the respective Euroregion. It becomes clear that both Euroregions have established projects in multiple policy areas and that the amount of projects is very high. These projects are executed not only by local authorities or municipalities but several private organizations and societal actors cooperate. Therefore Euroregions can be seen as practical examples of network governance. Moreover, my findings reveal that the role of local authorities as system integrators is crucial. As the only actors which have partners in a large number of projects from different priority fields, they act as hubs connecting rather isolated subnetworks.

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