Use of Scientific Evidence in EU Policy-Making: Better Accountability for EU Decision-Making?

    • IMG_6959
    • Presentation speakers
      • Edina Ocsko, Central European University

    It was often argued in the past that lessons offered by policy evaluations rarely had a real impact on subsequent policy-decisions in the EU and elsewhere. However, important changes are taking place that influence the nature of EU decision-making.The Better Regulation agenda (launched in 2002) threw new light on policy-assessment research, and it is now the stated aim of the European Commission to better utilise programme evaluation and impact assessment results in policy-making. Data collection and the methods used for programme evaluation have also improved considerably over the past years, and increasing attention is now paid by academics and practitioners alike to what extent various methods can be utilized in programme evaluations. The paper aims to explore such changes in EU decision-making in the context of rural development policy. Rural development policy has traditionally been a policy-field dominated by political (farmers’ representations) interests in the EU. However, relevant rural stakeholders exert an increasing deliberative pressure on policy-making, and call for more accountability in decision-making.Data collection and quantitative methods are also used more extensively in rural development policy evaluations. This process may result in a combination of factors (other than political and interest group pressure) that impact on policy decisions, such as scientific/research findings and wide-scale stakeholder consultations. The paper particularly aims to explore these issues at national (Hungary) and European Commission levels with a view to the development of EU rural development policy for the programming period of 2014-2020.