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Blurred Lines: Cohesion Policy in the Netherlands

Is there a Situation of Good Accountability?

Maaike Damen–Koedijk

This article assesses the accountability situation of ERDF in the northern part of the Netherlands (OP Noord) in the 2007-2013 period. Based on academic literature on accountability, a framework for ‘good accountability’ is put forward consisting of four criteria. This framework is used to assess the relationships in the policy framework between the European Commission, the responsible national ministry (EZ), the audit authority and the managing authority against four criteria. Moreover, an outlook will be given on changes in the 2014-2020 period. The conclusion is that only one of the criteria, the existence of accountability relationships in the system, is present. However, some blurredness is seen in some of these relationships. The criterion referring to the existence of transparency, democracy and legal constraints within the system is partially present, and the remaining two criteria are assessed to be absent. These last two refer to the presence of the elements of the policy process chain within the system, which are economy, efficiency and effectiveness, and to the absence of an accountability overload or deficit. It is concluded that the rules of the new 2014-2020 period are likely to contribute to better accountability. However, still not all criteria are expected to be present.

Maaike Damen-Koedijk MA is PhD candidate at the Institute for Innovation and Governance Studies and Centre for European Studies at the University of Twente. She is also working for Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland (SNN), managing authority for ERDF and responsible for OP Noord in the Netherlands. The views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the position of SNN.


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