How the EU affects domestic institutional capacities: the Europeanisation of Greece’s administrative system in the context of the EU’s Regional Policy

Cite as: Chardas A (2011) How the EU affects domestic institutional capacities: the Europeanisation of Greece's administrative system in the context of the EU's Regional Policy. European Policy Research Papers No. 79, European Policies Research Centre, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

This paper aims to explain the institutional impact that the European Union’s Regiona Policy (EURP) had on Greece, by adopting a conceptual framework based on the theories ofEuropeanisation and implementation. The four principles that govern the operation of the programmes – partnership, programming, concentration and additionality – as well as themanagement tools that are implicit in those principles provided the stimulus for the changes in the domestic institutional system. However, it seems that despite the significant changes that have taken place in the patterns of policy-making in this particular policy area, the previously established characteristics of the Greek political and administrativesystems have changed very little. The argument is that the introduction of the mechanisms for the governance of the EURP has led to partial and superficial reorganisation of the institutional authorities involved. In particular, the centralising tendencies of the Greek state and the reluctance of the central government to devolve any significant responsibilities to lower levels of government are postulated as the main factors that have impeded more substantial institutional changes from taking place. Thus, although there has been undoubted progress in the fields of policy orientation, the institutional structures that were supposed to promote the effective use of the Structural and the Cohesion Funds continue to follow old practices. Hence, the country seems to have adapted the requirements set out by the principles that govern the EURP in a selective and formalistic manner.

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