Unlocking Green Potential: Assessing the Performance of Governance Networks in EU-funded Eco-Innovation Policy Projects
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Existing literature on networked governance recognises the significance of multi-actor arrangements in shaping political mechanisms, such as policy and project implementation. Empirical evidence in this regard is, however, rather limited. With the aim of contributing to existing studies in this field, this thesis attempts to empirically assess network performance in the European multi-level governance system. Specifically, this study draws on previous theories and findings on governance networks to construct a comprehensive analysis of the impacts of network-specific attributes on performance in policy project implementation. The analysis focuses on the pivotal role of governance networks in executing EU-funded projects established to support SMEs’ green entrepreneurship and to advance EU policy development for environmental sustainability. By collecting empirical data through semi-structured interviews, this research uncovers interesting insights regarding the crucial calibration of collaborative dynamics, the cultivation of trust, the alignment of goals and the promotion of integrated relations within networks. In particular, the findings highlight how the interplay of these factors is essential to successfully maximise the potential and performance of governance networks in political processes. Addressing collaboration imbalances and ensuring alignment with regional, national, and supranational policies become a necessity for multi-actor configurations aiming to successfully implement EU initiatives and fully enhance their socio-political impact.