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Devolution, change and European union policy-making in the UK

Martin Burch, Ricardo Gomez, Patricia Hogwood and Andrew Scott

Regional Studies, 2005, vol. 39, issue 4, 465-475

Abstract: Burch M., Gomez R., Hogwood P. and Scott A. (2005) Devolution, change and European Union policy-making in the UK, Regional Studies 39 , 465-475. This paper explores the extent to which European Union policy-making in the UK has changed as a result of devolution. The paper draws on material concerning economic development and the structural funds, agriculture and rural development, and environmental policy. The extent to which there has been a change in the outcomes (content and impact) of policy is examined. Evidence from Scotland, Wales, the English regions and UK central government reveals that it is not yet possible to judge the magnitude of changes in policy outcomes in any comprehensive and definitive way. Consequently, the paper concentrates on changes in the way European Union-related policies have been handled post-devolution. An argument emphasizing continuity with pre-devolution is examined and found wanting. Changes in the handling of policy are evaluated in relation to notions of political 'potential' and 'opportunity space'. Consideration is given to changes in key participants, policy-handling networks, and the values and understandings underpinning policy-making. It is clear that in comparison with the English regions and regions in many other Member States, Wales and Scotland enjoy a privileged if dependent position in national European policy-making. They have applied new resources in a more focused way and have pursued a more territorial take on Europe, while still remaining insider participants in UK/European Union policy-making. The conclusion is drawn that in the emerging system of UK multilevel governance, the magnitude of change in the handling of European policy varies across territory and policy, but is especially significant in relation to Wales and Scotland. Moreover, these changes are beginning and will continue to impact on outcomes.

Keywords: UK/European Union policy-making; Change in policy; Devolveds; English regions; Structural funds/agriculture; Decisions Royaume-Uni/Union europeenne; Changement de politique; Decentralise; Regions d'Angleterre Fonds structurels/agriculture; UK/EU Parteiideologie; Richtungsanderungen in der Politik; Dezentralisierte; Englische Regionen; Strukturfonds/Landwirtschaft; Desarrollo de politicas en el Reino Unido/Union Europea; Cambio de politica; Descentralizado; Regiones inglesas; Fondos estructurales/agricultura; JEL classifications: R5; R58; Q18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005
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DOI: 10.1080/00343400500128515

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