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Department of Culture and Global Studies

Invitation to pre-defence by Katarzyna Pelc

“Who holds the cards in EU Cohesion Policy? The clash of Multi-Level Governance, Agency and Path Dependency with Institutional Entrepreneurship. The case of Interact, Interreg and cross-border funds.”


27.01.2017 kl. 10.00 - 12.00


Pre-defence by Katarzyna Pelc

Problems of Multi-Level Governance and the role of national and sub-national actors in shaping Cohesion Policy have been discussed for many years. With this PhD thesis I would like to contribute to this debate by supplementing it with in-depth discussion based on a particular case, namely developing cross-border financial instruments in Interreg programmes 2014-2020. The basic idea is that Interreg programmes can use EU funds in a revolving way, where funds are invested – repaid – reinvested – repaid – etc. and ultimately help programmes achieve greater impact compared with grants. A cross-border financial instruments scheme in Interreg is an innovation and the European Commission and the European Investment Fund offered to support Interreg programmes with developing and implementing a pilot. One programme volunteered to try it out, and again, for the third time, this process has failed.

Why it is so difficult to develop financial instruments in Interreg? This PhD thesis addresses this question by analysing the process of developing transnational North West Europe Innovation Fund 2014-2020. Elements of several theoretical perspectives are used for this purpose, including Multi-Level Governance, Europeanization, Historical Institutionalism, Principal-Agent and Institutional Entrepreneurship. Based on these theories several theoretical assumptions have been formulated and tested empirically. Poor definition and institutionalization of cross-border funds in EU Cohesion Policy regulations, complexity of Cohesion Policy multi-level and multi-country governance structure and its inability to respond swiftly to innovation, micro-management style of Interreg programme’s stakeholders and their fear of losing oversight over funds invested in a financial instrument managed by a fund manager, Interreg path-dependency and fear of unintended consequences, failure of the European Investment Fund to act as the European rather than just an investment fund, and lack of coherence within the European Commission about financial instruments in Interreg – have been identified as some of the key reasons holding up innovation in Interreg.

Through this PhD thesis, I also aim to elaborate propositions about the minimum conditions necessary for incubation of cross-border funds in Interreg, which may be of practical relevance for those working in the field.


Marianne Høgsbro (hoegsbro@cgs.aau.dk) by 24 January 12.00.


Wolfgang Zank, Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University


Lise Rolandsen Agustin, Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University


The pre-defence starts with a presentation by Katarzyna Pelc followed by the discussant's comments and an open discussion. The pre-defence will be in English.


CGS PhD programme, Department of Culture and Global Studies


Kroghstræde 3 room 1.202

Registration Deadline

24.01.2017 kl. 12.00

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Department of Culture and Global Studies
Kroghstraede 1
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Phone: +45 9940 9208
Email: contact@cgs.aau.dk 

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