Between compliance and systemic change ‒ Evaluation practice in eight CEE countries
This chapter describes the mechanisms and adaptations which were initiated by the transfer of the ‘idea of evaluation’ as part of cohesion policy management settings in public administrations of Visegrád and four other CEE countries joining the EU between 2004 and 2013. We look at the institutional arrangements and current evaluation practice established in response to EU requirements to find out whether they resulted in mere compliance adaptations or a permanent systemic change. Our observations suggest that although requirements concerning evaluation seem to be eagerly fulfilled in terms of building structures and conducting even an excessive number of studies, the practice has not trickled down to policy learning systems. Evaluation findings do not inform policy debate or decisions. As the potential causes of this situation we identify (1) the inflexibility of cohesion policy implementation system, leaving little space for learning, and (2) the fact that values characteristic for traditional bureaucracy still dominate in the administrations of studied countries.