Administrative capacity-building as the solution for effective Cohesion Policy performance? The Case of the Operational Programme ‘Technical Assistance’ in Poland
Julia Walczyk (2021)
Online Paper No. 3/2021
Notwithstanding the importance of cohesion policy in boosting the economic growth, it was marked by some implementation problems across the European Union (EU). Particularly, those problems concern Member States’ weaknesses in their administrative capacity, for example, administrative burden. Thus, the question arises whether cohesion policy investments contribute to regional development in and between the EU countries or it is impeded by administrative burden. During the programming period 2014-2020, a strong prominence was given to Member States’ administrative capacity-building in cohesion policy with a view of maximizing the impact of available European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds. Nevertheless, little research has been done to interrogate the use of administrative capacity-building tools, such as via TA, to boost Member States’ implementation performance in cohesion policy. Additionally, the existing literature has been marked by scholarly ‘fault-lines’ in the role of the shared management in cohesion policy implementation. This contribution has two objectives. First, it focuses on the particular administrative capacity-building policy tool, OP TA 2014-2020, to analyse its role on improving cohesion policy implementation in Poland. Poland constitutes a relevant case for this research due to being a primary beneficiary of ESI Funds as well as a complex architecture of cohesion policy implementation. Second, it examines how a multi-level, decentralized system of cohesion policy implementation, the shared management, influences cohesion policy implemented via the OP TA concerned. The findings show whether OP TA effectively contributed to administrative capacity-building in Poland, reinforcing cohesion policy implementation.