Area-based partnerships in rural Poland: The post-accession experience

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  2. Dr Nicola Thompson
Author(s)Furmankiewicz M, Thompson N, Zielińska M
Publication type Article
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
ISSN (print)0743-0167
ISSN (electronic)1873-1392
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The paper examines the characteristics of area-based partnerships in rural Poland. It is based on the study of partnerships created after the accession to the European Union in 2004. Partnership structures have been rapidly adopted in rural Poland due to opportunities provided by the LEADER+ Pilot Programme. However, the research showed that partnerships are frequently subject to elite domination by local authorities and hence fail to fully engage a range of community and private sector actors. Funding rules for LEADER, most notably the condition that money will only be paid on the completion of projects, has been particularly significant in perpetuating the domination of partnerships by organisations with existing access to financial and human capital. Hence funding arrangements can undermine the ability of Polish partnerships to operate in ways which harness the endogenous capacities of local communities. To date power differentials between notional ‘partners’ have been experienced to a greater extent than in advanced liberal democracies. The research found that overt domination of partnership structures by state agencies limited the possibilities for community led development initiative in rural Poland.
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