Governance and Democracy katarsis survey Paper

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The original objectives of the project, located in Barcelona´s Metropolitan Region, are 

economic growth, employment, social cohesion and territorial sustainability. The actors 

involved have been city majors, trade unions, entrepreneurs, organizations of civil society, 

regional, and national governments as well as European institutions, a form of multi-level 

governance (García et al. 2004). Civil society has the opportunity to innovate both in terms of 

governance, social economy and job creation. But this governance system has also constrained 

the local creativity in many different aspects apart from the employment dimension. 

The employment pacts have widened the scope of employment policies, creating a framework 

based on local and regional development. In that sense the pacts want to create consensus 

around the economic model as well as social cohesion. The main interest of the research in 

terms of governance is on the transformation of the decision-making employment structures 

from a centralized model with regulated norms to decentralized and ad hoc policies based on a 

regional strategy. In that sense, we must investigate the relevance of the local level in policy-

making in comparison with the still remaining key role of the central state in employment 

policies. The importance of the local level can explain why and how different actors interact. 

In the multi-scalar perspective, it seems that local agency can implement active policies 

formulated at other scales but it is difficult to reformulate it at that level. In that sense, the 

employment pacts are being promoted following a more general development strategy based 

on the “knowledge society” discourse and competition between cities and metropolitan 

regions in attracting capitals and qualified employment. This general strategy affects not only 

employment policies at the local level but also the whole urban management. The Pacte del 

Vallès  was based on the coordinated action of all the municipalities of the county of Vallès 

Occidental. In that sense the regional perspective allowed the creation of a great diversity of 

programs that link job creation with other issues such as environment. Nevertheless this 

regional level created a more institutional perspective, what constrained opportunities of 

participation of civil society. The two main cities of the county, Sabadell and Terrassa, created 

local pacts for employment with broader engagement of civil society through participation of 

NPOs and social movements in the creation of a city pact. In fact, the local employment pacts 

were treated as a part of a more general city pact formed by more than 20 local agreements 

such as Agenda 21 or the scholar council. This generated a greater scope for participation for 

the civil society that must not face the old social dialogue structure at local level. 

A second element to take into consideration is the openness of the process in terms of 

participation. Traditionally, employment policies have been managed by the State, 

entrepreneurs and trade unions through social dialogue. These social actors have been 











legitimated through representative democracy, and represented the antagonist worlds of labour 

and capital that arrived at arrangements with the collaboration of the State.  

The new perspectives on employment policies which appeared in the nineties, being adopted 

by the EU with the European Employment Strategy, open the policy process to new actors, 

namely the third sector and civil society. The logic of this openness is linked to the idea of 

territorialization of employment policies in a general framework of urban governance. In that 

sense, the new management framework is aimed at establishing consensus between a wide 

array of actors from market, state and civil society. However, we must consider the fact, as 

some of the classic social actors argue


, that opening the process of participation is not 

necessarily leading to a more democratic form of governance if there is no democratic 

legitimisation of the actors. For that reason it is important to analyse also the relationship 

between actors participating in the process and society. In the case of the Pacte del Vallès, 

entrepreneurs and trade unions have had a central role, with critical views on major 

participation of third sector organizations. Trade Unions have experienced some difficulties 

participating in the process due to their internal organization based to a great extent on the old 

model of centralised social dialogue. On the other hand, entrepreneurs have their own local 

structures due to the peculiarities of the industrial tenure in the county


 (Hermosilla 2003).  

The need of coordination between trade unions and entrepreneurs with city councils and 

regional authorities has created a new institutional framework where employment is 

understood as a general objective that is only possible to achieve with the development of the 

whole county (Carmona 2006). In that sense the Pact created institutional mechanisms to 

launch general economic promotion policies aimed at improving employment levels. Although 

there is a lack of visible results in terms of employment creation, the pact has created 

opportunities for getting public funds to launch socially innovative strategies against 

unemployment. One example is the creation of programs aimed at the recuperation of the 

Ripoll River. The program included the improvement of the environment surrounding the 

river, and the creation of routes and information for users and tourists. The program was based 

in part on civil society implication and was aimed Civil society associations looking for an 

environmental action in the river, whereas the pact saw it as an opportunity to create a 

framework where new tertiary industries could emerge. This example brings us to another 

conclusion: the pact emerges as a new institutional actor that can look for the collaboration of 



   One of the main arguments of Spanish trade unions to constrain participation of third sector and civil society actors is their lack of 

legitimacy through representative democratic processes.  


  In fact, the industrial structure of Vallès Occidental, with small familiar enterprises as its main feature, has determined the existence of 

two main entrepreneurs associations linked to the cities of Sabadell (CIESC) and Terrassa (CECOT). 

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