It has become apparent that a clear gap exists between European Union (EU) level policymaking and Member State implementation. Previous research has neglected to fully define factors that encourage or prevent implementation processes and instead focused on upstream decision making processes or downstream effects of policy. Simona Milio here proposes a shift in analytical focus towards policy-implementation since this constitutes a crucial common pathway that determines whether a policy actually becomes effective or not. EU implementation deficits appear to be influenced by problems related to the multi-level structure of European policy making. Successful implementation will only occur if relevant policy actors at national and sub-national levels are persuaded to co-operate with EU policy goals. Furthermore, this co-operation is not possible unless all parties manage the complex policy networks and implementation regimes responsible for putting European policies into force. Within this framework, this book answers three important questions:1 Is the EU multi-level governance system weakening the implementation of policies?2 Are national and sub-national governments capable of dealing with the challenges imposed by multi-level governance?3 Which factors account for differences in implementation performance among Member States? In order to answer these questions, Simona Milio's research explores the influence of two variables on implementation processes: Administrative Capacity and Political Stability. Cohesion Policy is chosen as the focus of this study since it has demonstrated a dramatically different implementation pace among EU Member States over the past 20 years. Three EU Member States are chosen to test the hypothesis. Italy appears to be a pertinent example, given its constant struggle to conform to EU directives and to implement Cohesion Policy. Spain is chosen since, in contrast to the Italian scenario, it represents the best performing Member State in terms of implementation. Finally Poland is studied, as a case where a shift from centralization towards decentralization has occurred in order to implement Cohesion Policy and integrate the multi-level governance system.
From Policy to Implementation in the European Union
The Challenge of a Multi-level Governance System