Normative policy coherence for development and policy networks

EU networks in Vietnam

in Regions and Cohesion
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  • 1 Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC), South Africa sandra.habel@outlook.com
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Abstract

The European Union (EU) is often understood as a normative power. However, based on a case study of European policy networks in Vietnam, this article shows that despite the EU's commitment to norms and transformative development, norms are not a priority in the implementation of development policies. Rather, norm promotion is delegated to political and diplomatic representatives, whereas development and trade representatives are responsible for technical work. Consequently, policy networks created around these four sectors tend to operate separately from each other, undermining the spillover of norms from diplomatic and political networks to development and trade networks. As a result, this article shows that the structural–institutional separation of sectoral policy networks is one of the EU's systemic characteristics that restrict normative policy coherence for development.

Resumen

La Unión Europea (UE) es considerada un poder normativo, comprometida con las normas y el desarrollo transformativo. En cambio, usando un caso de estudio de redes europeas políticas en Vietnam, este artículo demuestra que las normas no son prioridad en la implementación de políticas de desarrollo. Al contrario, la promoción de normas se delega a representantes políticos y diplomáticos, mientras que los representantes del desarrollo y comercio se hacen cargo del trabajo técnico. Consecuentemente las redes políticas de estos cuatro sectores tienden a aislarse, dificultando la transferencia de las normas de redes políticas y diplomáticas a redes de desarrollo y comercio. El resultado demuestra que la separación estructuro–institucional de las redes políticas sectoriales es una de las características sistémicas de la UE que restringen la coherencia normativa de políticas para el desarrollo.

Résumé

L'Union européenne est souvent considérée comme une puissance normative. Cependant, sur la base d'une étude de cas de réseaux de politiques publiques au Vietnam, cet article montre que, malgré son engagement normatif et de développement réformateur, les normes ne sont pas une priorité dans la mise en œuvre des politiques de développement. Au contraire, leur promotion est déléguée aux représentants politiques et diplomatiques, tandis que les représentants du développement et du commerce sont responsables des travaux techniques. Par conséquent, les réseaux politiques créés autour de ces quatre secteurs ont tendance à fonctionner séparément les uns des autres, ce qui compromet le transfert des normes des réseaux diplomatiques et politiques aux réseaux de développement et du commerce. Ainsi, cet article montre que la séparation structuro-institutionnelle des réseaux sectoriels de politiques publiques est l'une des caractéristiques systémiques de l'UE qui restreint leur cohérence normative en matière de développement.

Contributor Notes

SANDRA HäBEL holds a doctoral degree in political science from the University of Luxembourg and a doctoral degree in social science from the University of Helsinki. She is currently a RISC Fellow and has won grants for postdoctoral research at the Instituto de Ecología in Xalapa, Mexico, and at the National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan. Email: sandra.habel@outlook.com

Regions and Cohesion

Regiones y Cohesión / Régions et Cohésion

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