Europeanisation of regional and agricultural policy in the Czech Republic and Poland
This thesis applies a 'europeanisation' perspective to the analysis of the adoption of European Union (EU) regional and agricultural policy in the Czech Republic and Poland during the pre-accession period. EU regional and agricultural policy in the pre-accession period potentially challenged both the sectoral institutional arrangements and the wider executive structure in the Czech Republic and Poland. However, the degree of prescription varied between policy sectors. Temporal factors and policy factors meant that in the regional policy cases the challenge to the executive structure was largely mediated. On the other hand, EU agricultural policy had a high level of prescription. In the case of a fundamental 'misfit' between the EU requirements and the domestic set-up, the research, following neo-institutional perspectives, expects limited adaptation on the sectoral and executive levels. This is the case in Polish agriculture. In the case of Czech agriculture, sectoral reform should be seen in the context of agricultural policy reform started in 1997. In regional policy, the neo-institutional perspective works less well. Here, the thesis proposes an actor- based perspective to explain sectoral adaptation. This sectoral adaptation, such as the alignment of administrative procedures, remains within the range permitted by the national executive structure. The effects can be found mostly on the sectoral level. The main effect of the EU pre-accession process on executive structure is the institutional enhancement of certain national executive actors. Only, the Polish case shows an unexpected change of the executive structure. This change can be explained by endogenous reform of the institutional configuration. This research makes two main contributions to the literature. First, it is one of the first studies to apply systematically a 'europeanisation' perspective to the Eastern enlargement. Secondly, empirical evidence on East and Central Europe, based on the 'europeanisation' perspective, has been limited. In this way, the thesis will contribute to extending 'europeanisation East' and hope to produce a better conceptualisation of the EU preaccession process and domestic factors mediating the impact of the EU.