IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Governance approaches in European territorial cooperation programmes and the implications of macro-regional strategies


  • Arno van der Zwet


  • Irene McMaster
  • John Bachtler


Historically, cooperation across borders was an area of activity dominated by central government actors. However, in the EU some of the earliest institutionalised forms of territorial cooperation are based on bottom-up initiatives involving border municipalities. Current territorial cooperation arrangements continue to be strongly based upon local and regional institutions and actors. Theoretical work on Europeanisation, multi-level governance and new regionalism highlights the increased role of sub-national actors in driving economic development and participating in external networking and cooperation activities. However, the scope and diversity of programmes mean that the opportunities for local and regional partners in terms of influencing the outcomes of programmes are equally varied. There have been significant differences in governance dimensions of programmes. Key questions this paper explores are to what extent bottom-up or top-down approaches are used as well as differences in terms of centralised or localised management or implementation structures. The first part of this paper explores which actors influence key processes in the territorial cooperation cycle at which stage and how these can vary across programmes in order to assess the existence of governance dimensions. The second part of the paper builds on the first section and will specifically focus on the impact that macro-regional strategies have had and can expected to have in the future. These strategies have the potential to significantly affect established territorial cooperation programmes (such as INTERREG). However, its full implications are not fully understood. This section will also explore how these macro-regional strategies may lead to changes in governance approaches and have an impact on the types of partners that European territorial cooperation attracts. The paper’s overall aim is to assess to what extent the multi-level governance paradigm extents to the operationalization of territorial cooperation programmes and how future developments will affect it. The paper focuses INTERREG A and B strands of European territorial cooperation but its findings can be applied more broadly. It draws from data collected in relation to a major ESPON study (ESPON TERCO). The paper makes use of data from 8 broad case studies that are based on 224 in depth interviewees as well as 5 in-depth case studies that examined issues of governance, coordination, management and implementation of territorial cooperation. For these 5 in depth case studies a total of 35 respondents were interviewed.

Suggested Citation

  • Arno van der Zwet & Irene McMaster & John Bachtler, 2012. "Governance approaches in European territorial cooperation programmes and the implications of macro-regional strategies," ERSA conference papers ersa12p337, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa12p337

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brenner, Neil, 2004. "New State Spaces: Urban Governance and the Rescaling of Statehood," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199270064.
    2. James Wesley Scott, 1999. "European and North American Contexts for Cross-border Regionalism," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(7), pages 605-617.
    3. Tanja A. Bürzel, 1999. "Towards Convergence in Europe? Institutional Adaptation to Europeanization in Germany and Spain," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(4), pages 573-596, December.
    4. Markus Perkmann, 1999. "Building Governance Institutions Across European Borders," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(7), pages 657-667.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa12p337. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gunther Maier). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.