Re-visiting the Partnership Principle in Cohesion Policy: The Role of Civil Society Organisations in Structural Funds Monitoring
Journal of Common Market Studies
This article investigates the horizontal dimension of partnership arrangements in cohesion policy in three EU Member States: Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. The focus is on the practice of the monitoring committees (MCs), the primary institutional expression of partnership in the distribution of Structural Funds. The main findings are that in each country NGO participation in the MCs remained contentious, the working of the committees was rather formalistic, and the bodies' purpose and role conceptions were ambiguous. The implication is that partnership as currently practised does not live up either to normative expectations suggested by the EU regulation of the committees or to the expectations of civil society partner organizations themselves.