The project analysed the role of independent regulatory agencies (IRAs) and networks in rendering the adoption of and adaptation to EU policies in Central Eastern European (CEE) and Southern member states smoother i.e. reducing the risks of implementation conflicts in ‘weak’ countries already during the pre-accession phase and after accession. Delegation of regulatory competencies to IRAs and networks lies at the core of current innovations in EU governance and experimentation with novel modes of governance that depart from traditional command-and-control uniformly binding regulatory approaches. While the aim of the project was to identify the conditions under which the departure from traditional modes of conducting pre-accession negotiations is a viable alternative in order to secure effective and efficient internalisation of legal and policy requirements emanating from the acquis communitaire in candidate member states, it also raised questions related to the emergence of delegation to participatory networks in different policy areas.
This project worked on an interdisciplinary basis employing governance approaches from economics and political science. In terms of empirical focus the project covered politically and economically important areas such as environment and pharmaceuticals. The territorial dimension of our empirical studies focused on old and new member states. It compared CEECs, Poland, Hungary, with one Southern European member state, Greece. As there had been no systemic comparative study of this field, the project strongly enriched our current knowledge and understandings about new modes of governance in the process of EU enlargement.