Publications of Sara Svensson
Diversity and Development: Policy Entrepreneurship of Euroregional Initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe
The article builds on the authors' research into the formation of Euroregions in Central and Eastern Europe, addressing questions that may also be relevant on a broader European scale. Based on our empirical findings, in previous research we demonstrated why some local governments join Euroregions while others abstain. This article takes a further step and aims to discuss what happens once local governments become involved in them. How do motivations and expectations of local governments, as well as the power asymmetries between them, determine the capacity of these small-scale local cross-border collaborative initiatives to act as policy entrepreneurs? We take the three different Euroregional initiatives present in the Komárom–Esztergom region at the Hungarian–Slovakian border as illustrative examples. The empirical data were collected through personal interviews with the representatives of the Euroregions and with the highest political representatives of all local governments that are members on the Hungarian side. We find that differences in membership structure and in the motivational background influence their capacity to act as policy entrepreneurs operationalized as organizational development, diversification of resource base and appropriation of cross-border cooperation activities. We thus rely on a modified version of Markus Perkmann's theoretical framework built around the concept of policy entrepreneurship, but apply it to cases where we are able to control for variations in underlying macro-level conditions, such as politico-administrative or ethno-linguistic settings. The paper, therefore, highlights the differences in the internal dynamics of these initiatives and also challenges the perception of Euroregions as homogeneous institutions.