Multi-level governance and European Regional Policy: The case of post-devolution Wales.
This thesis examines how the implementation of the European Union's (EU) Regional Policy supports the concept of multi-level governance in post devolution Wales, a concept that implies the dispersion of the powers of central government and sharing of its competences among multiple actors. The examination involves the critical analysis of the Structural Funds and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), two of the Union's flagship policies. Wales is chosen as a case study for the analysis of the implementation of the CAP and the Structural Funds for the period 2000-2006 because the 'national-region' has been empowered under the devolution process in the United Kingdom (UK) to implement EU programmes. The choice of Wales is an obvious one since choosing a strong identity region is the most appropriate way to test the reality of multi-level influences. Moreover, our case study of Wales facilitates comparison of regions in the wider EU environment. Empirical data is drawn from extensive empirical fieldwork in Wales and Brussels, as well as from case studies of how three Welsh Local Authorities implemented the Structural Funds from 2000-2006. The thesis concludes that the potent mixture of devolution and EU Regional Policy has indeed produced a new form of multi-level governance in Wales and has enhanced the role of sub-national authorities at both national and EU levels.