44th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Regions and Fiscal Federalism", 25th - 29th August 2004, Porto, Portugal
Based on the review of literature and our own conceptual considerations, we show that absorption problems regarding the EU Structural Funds may be important. Our brief covering of some general macroeconomic aspects of absorption problems brings us closer to the central topic of our paper, namely, the question of how to measure the administrative capacities of particular Candidate Countries for Structural Funds. First, we describe a suitable methodology for calculating the administrative absorption capacities of Candidate Countries. We then turn to some of the Candidate Countries’ institution-building activities in preparation for the EU’s Structural Policy. This shows that the process of preparing programming documents was the central point of the overall institution-building exercise. At the end of this chapter we present calculations on administrative capacities in five Candidate Countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Estonia and Slovenia, respectively. These calculations are based on previous calculations by the European Commission and on the strategic documents negotiated between the Commission and these Candidate Countries before the end of 2003. By calculating the key indicators of administrative capacity, we offer some preliminary statements regarding the present administrative capacity in a particular prospective new Member State and provide additional information on the overall absorption capacity of the countries in the 2004-2006 programme period.