Spatial misfits in mulitlevel governance impacts on the small island state of Malta

Julia Roberta Kotzebue

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Approximately 99 per cent of EU law has been transposed into the national laws of the member states, but the enforcement and the practical implementation of the policies are often problematic. The EU27 member states are very different from each other, in characteristics such as their size, geographic location, economy, culture, and policies. As such, EU policy reflects a consensus of the member states about certain issues and does not take into consideration all the peculiarities of the different places in the EU. The large-scale “placeless” EU policies are often considered as a cause of spatial misfits in the local and small-scale policy implementation process. A spatial misfit is defined as the incongruence of the implementing policies, with the boundaries, nature, important functions as well as the cultural and other values of a place. This makes the measures inapt and/or inapplicable. This study investigates the phenomenon of spatial misfits in multilevel governance policy implementation processes in Malta. The analysis focuses on the implementation of large-scale policy in three EU policy sectors, and its spatial impact on the small-scale local place. The study uses place as an analytical concept to identify and explain spatial misfits. Further, by analysing the policy implementation process in five cases in Malta, the study seeks to clarify to what extent identified spatial misfits originate at the European policy level. The systematic content analysis of policy documents, newspapers and 45 interviews provides an inside look into Malta’s governance structure and policy implementing actors; their motivation, cognitions, and capacity and power as well as their interactions. The results of the study provides useful knowledge which can direct further attention to improvement of future national and local policies, as well as towards a greater sensitivity of EU policy to spatial differentiation in Malta. National, regional and local policy implementation processes can be guided through the use of the findings provided within these chapters.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Bressers, Hans T.A., Supervisor
  • O‘Toole, L.J., Supervisor
Award date28 Jun 2012
Place of PublicationEnschede, The Netherlands
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3388-1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2012


  • METIS-286612
  • IR-80658

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