Steering or Networking: The Impact of Europe 2020 on Regional Governance Structures

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Steering or Networking: The Impact of Europe 2020 on Regional Governance Structures


  • Frederic Maes Department of Sociology, University of Antwerp, Belgium, and Policy Research Centre on Governmental Organization - Decisive Governance, Belgium
  • Peter Bursens Department of Sociology, University of Antwerp, Belgium


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Abstract:  This article probes into how regions organize themselves to deal effectively with the Europe 2020 reform program. More specifically, it maps governance structures of regional policy-making and implementation of Europe 2020 and explains variation in these structures between policy domains and policy stages. The empirical focus is Flanders as this Belgian region possesses substantial legislative and executive autonomy and is therefore highly affected by the Europe 2020 program. The article distinguishes between policy-making (upload) and implementation stages (download) in education, energy and poverty policies. It is hypothesized that the varying impact of Europe 2020 can be attributed to the varying adaptational pressure of EU programs and a set of domestic intervening factors. Findings indicate variation between policy domains and policy stages on a continuum from lead-organization governed networks to shared participant governance networks. Overall, the extent to which Flanders is competent seems to be crucial. In addition, a substantial administrative capacity is needed to firmly steer and coordinate the governance structures that manage Europe 2020 policies. The level of integration further increases the extent to which Flemish Europe 2020 policies are steered.

Keywords:  Europeanization; Europe 2020; governance structures; social network analysis; subnational level

Published:   9 September 2015


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v3i2.404


© Frederic Maes. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.