The Europeanisation of Local Social Cohesion Policy
Work Package Leader: PAM
In WP05 LOCALISE analyses the Europeanisation of inter-organisational, every-day practices in the governance of integrated social cohesion policies on the local level. For achieving the European targets in employment and welfare policy, outlined in the Lisbon strategy, by OMC, the EU builds on an innovative approach of coordinating Member States’ policies (Citi and Rhodes 2007, Héritier 2003, Radaelli 2003, Begg and Berghman 2002). Throughout these processes, the concept of ‘subsidiarity’, and local delivery of services and cohesion policies has taken a crucial role. For example, the Commission suggested to “encourage local and regional authorities to develop strategies for employment (…) and promote partnerships” because “all actors at the regional and local levels, (…), must be mobilised to implement the European Employment Strategy” (European Commission 2001). In order to support the regional and local implementation of these European policies, structural funds (€347 billion from 2007 to 2013) are now concentrated on the objectives defined by the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (Mai¬rate 2006, European Commission 2005, 2006). The EES guides the European Social Fund (ESF), which spends more than €75 billion in 2007-2013, facilitating integrated social cohesion policies particularly on the regional and local level. For Member States with lower capacities, structural funds have been an important incentive for institutional reform (cf. Zirra 2010, Mailand 2009, López-Santana 2006). However, while the Europeanisation of national employment and welfare regimes has attracted much research in recent years (cf. Heidenreich and Zeitlin 2009), the local usage of OMC processes, aligned programmes and structural funds, has rarely been analysed to date. Not accounting for the local usage of European resources one may underestimate the positive dynamics for social cohesion created by Europeanisation. LOCALISE will close this gap in answering three questions in particular:
• Do EU socio-economic cohesion and employment policy tools, mutual learning processes and resources affect the local governance of social cohesion?
• If so, how do these programmes and processes contribute to changing the local and regional worlds of social cohesion?
• Do regions most in need profit or do we see a ‘Matthew’s effect’? That is to say: are there any institutional and capacities that serve as prerequisites for these policies, programmes and resources (e.g. OMC, ESF and PROGRESS) to be successfully used by local actors?