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The Role of Local and Regional Authorities in the Europe 2020 National Reform Programmes

The Role of Local and Regional Authorities in the Europe 2020 National Reform Programmes

Analysis of 2011 National Reform Programmes

The Europe 2020 Strategy sets the goal for the European Union to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive community by 2020. The 27 EU Member States must provide the European Commission with National Reform Programmes (NRPs) demonstrating how they are implementing the Europe 2020 goals and targets. This study is a review of all 27 NRPs regarding the role of local and regional authorities (LRA). The study is available for download.

The main objectives of this study are:

  1. Analyse whether and to what extent local and regional authorities (and their representatives) were involved in the drawing up the NRPs. Were the LRAs involved? If so, were they consulted, or have they had a say in the decisions taken? Will this involvement continue to take place in the implementation phase of the NRPs?
  2. Examine whether the NRPs have fulfilled the request made last year by the European Commission stipulating that their NRPs “should indicate how the national authorities plan to involve/have involved local and regional authorities and relevant stakeholders in defining and  implementing the NRPs and how they communicate/plan to communicate an Europe 2020 and on their own NRP, and what the results have been. They will also be invited to report on their experiences with collecting, sharing and implementing good practices”.

To meet these objectives, the present study examined all 27 NRPs on a set of 12 questions and a cumulative score.

These results indicate that the majority of countries submitted NRPs that fulfil many but not all of the aspects that would achieve a vertically integrated Europe 2020 Strategy with solid links and collaboration across different levels of government. There are also substantial differences between the countries with the most comprehensive NRPs and those with the least informative programmes in terms of the LRAs' role in drafting, implementing, coordinating and monitoring the NRP actions.

On the other hand, nearly all NRPs state that LRAs were in some form or another involved during the initial drafting stage and LRAs are mentioned frequently as having implemented the actions outlined in the NRP. The level of influence and/or control that LRAs have in this process appears to be more heterogeneous. In some cases, LRAs are given merely consultative roles while, in the cases of the highest scoring countries, LRAs contribute to decision-making throughout the entire process in at an institutional level.


Srebotnjak, Tanja; Annemarie van der Westhuysen and Markus Hametner 2011: The Role of Local and Regional Authorities in the Europe 2020 National Reform Programmes.

Markus Hametner Institute for Managing Sustainability (RIMAS)
69 pp.
Project ID
Table of Contents

Executive Summary
1. Introduction
2. Data and Methodology
2.1 Data Source
2.2 Methodology
3. Analysis
3.1 Clear statement of who represented the viewpoints of local and regional authorities in the NRP
3.2 How did LRAs contribute to the drafting of the NRP?
3.3 Does the NRP state to what extent LRA input has been taken into account?
3.4 Written contribution from LRAs annexed to the NRP
3.5 Is any mention made of Territorial Pacts, equivalent approaches (even if given another name, such as regional pacts, territorial contracts, etc.) or multi-level cooperation agreements other than Territorial pacts?
3.6 Number of relevant paragraphs or even separate sections
3.7 Is any mention made of the role of local and regional authorities in implementing the NRP?
3.8 Is any mention made of the role of local and regional authorities in monitoring the NRP?
3.9 Is there any mention or clarification of the role of LRAs in mitigating economic and financial crises?
3.10 Is a clear description provided of the financial aspects of activities concerning local and regional authorities?
3.11 Administrative capacity of local and regional authorities
3.12 Are there any additional relevant issues that appear in the NRPs?
3.13 The National Reform Programmes and the 7 Europe 2020 Flagship Initiatives
3.13.1 Smart growth:
3.13. 2 Sustainable Growth
3.13.3 Inclusive Growth
4. Results of the NRP Assessment
4.1 Conclusions
4.2 Limitations

Multilevel governance, Committee of the Regions, Europe 2020, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom