Marius Niculae

The Lisbon Treaty stipulates that the EU functions as a representative democracy . Furthermore, the Treaty considers that “in order to promote good governance and ensure the participation of civil society, the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies shall conduct their work as openly as possible”( 2009: art. 16). Consequently, good governance appears as one of the main drivers for the ETC to fulfill its raison d’être. In addition, the Europe2020 Strategy sees territorial cooperation as playing a key role for reaching economic and social growth across the continent.

However, despite this obvious correlation in terms of general goals between the Lisbon Treaty and the Europe2020 Strategy, one can notice the absence of a clear definition for good governance. The Strategy narrows down its meaning to economic governance while the Lisbon Treaty encourages the promotion of good governance without defining it.

Thinking of good governance in terms of economic governance was the initial approach of the World Bank (WB). Nonetheless, certain limitations of this perspective were soon to be recognized by the WB in its study from 1989 on Sub-Saharan Africa – from crisis to Sustainable Growth[i]. Back then, the WB analyzed the development problems encountered by countries from Sub-Sahara Africa as a way to fight back the continuing economic crisis from this region. In the 80’s, the economic performances of the countries in the region have worsen, despite the implementation of the Bank’s structural adjustments programmes. From this moment, scholars and experts started to outline good governance as more comprehensive concept than the economic governance. Thus, good governance became the art to govern for the common interest and for the provision of public goods.

Soon everyone realized its multifaceted character. Like governance itself, good governance proved to be in strict correlation with the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development (cf. Santiso 2001: 3). In their intention to emphasize the grim situation of these countries, the authors of the WB Report wrote about the failure of public institutions as the main cause for weak economic performance. More exactly, they argue that the “private sector initiative and the market mechanism must go hand in hand with good governance – a public sector that is efficient, a judicial system that is reliable and an administration that is accountable to its public” (World Bank 1989: 18).

In other words, if they want to succeed, decision makers must shape their policy making capacity in terms of exercising and obtaining what Joseph Nye called “smart power, i.e. power not exercised over, but with others in order to more effectively achieve desired policy outcomes” (Inge Kaul, 2013: 41). In our perception, this relationship between the ruler and the ruled is central to the concept of good governance. Thus, one can conclude that good governance and smart power are interconnected in such a way that the former cannot be achieved in the absence of the later and vice-versa. From this perspective, good governance appears to be defined by “an effective, efficient and reliable set of institutions and actors engaged in a process of dealing with a matter of public concern” ( H. Anheier, 2013 : 13)

Along with Carlos Santiso we also argue that well – institutionalized border regions are more capable “to produce, in the long run, effective, efficient and sustainable economic, social and territorial cohesion, due to the fact that they are capable to generate in-built mechanisms to negotiate and induce change and reduce disparities” (2001: 7).

Social, economic and territorial disparities among regions can be reduced only if the EU starts to consider the distribution of structural and cohesion funds in terms of resources capable to create public goods. By the latter we understand a measurable positive impact on the life of people living in the border area. In terms of specific indicators this means that we prefer to connect the provision of public goods with constructive and measurable outcomes and context indicators and not with the input and output indicators.

ANHEIER, Helmut, STANIG, Piero, KAYSER, Mark, Introducing a New Generation of Governance Indicators, The Governance Report 2013, Oxford University Press, 2013

SANTISO, Carlos, Good Governance and Aid Effectiveness: The World Bank and Conditionality, ed. Georgetown Public Policy Review, Volume 7, Number 1, Fall 2001

KAUL, Inge, Meeting Global Challenges, Assessing Governance Readiness, The Governance Report 2013, ed. Oxford University Press, 2013


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