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Best practice lessons in managing the rural and agricultural transition following EU membership
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Dr Carmen Hubbard
Dr Matthew Gorton
Hubbard MC, Gorton M
3 September 2010
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This deliverable presents examples of good practice from selected regions in the established EU Member States (EU15). It aims at a deeper understanding of previous transitions, learning lessons for managing rural development. Findings are verified using a policy Delphi approach. It also evaluates the barriers to implementing these lessons in the New Member States (NMS). It draws on two stages of work. The first phase centred on case studies of five regions in the EU15 that have undergone, at least in some respects, successful rural development post-accession. The case study regions are: The Borders, Midlands and Western Region (Ireland) (Hubbard and Ward, 2008), Navarra (Spain) (Iraizoz, 2007), Tyrol (Austria) (Hubbard and Kaufmann, 2008), Skåne (Sweden) (Copus and Knobblock, 2007) and Altmark (Germany) (Wolz and Reinsberg, 2007). The period covered for regional analysis is from the time of accession of each member state (i.e. Ireland 1973, Spain 1986, the new German Bundesländer 1990, Austria and Sweden 1995) up to 2006. The case studies involved desk-research and (face-to-face and telephone) interviews with 39 experts across the five countries. Lessons of best practice in implementing rural development were drawn from interviews and supporting documentation. The importance of creating appropriate national and regional structures to implement EU funded projects, capacity building, decentralisation, social capital and networking, human capital and the role of “institutional memory” were identified as important themes. In the second phase of the analysis, the lessons drawn were verified and refined using a policy Delphi exercise, which involved a systematic collation and analysis of expert judgments from both EU15 and NMS. The involvement of experts from the latter countries allows for an assessment of whether lessons drawn from the EU15 can be transferred easily to the NMS.
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