A Comparative Analysis of Environmental Policy Integration
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Alessandra Goria, Alessandra Sgobbi and Ingmar von Homeyer
Chapter 4: The Transformations of Regional and Local Governments: Implications for Environmental Policy Integration
Bruno Dente 4.1 THE EVOLUTION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN WESTERN COUNTRIES The aim of this chapter is to present a possible scenario for the evolution of local government systems in developed countries and draw some consequences about the possibility of Environmental Policy Integration (EPI). The underlying assumption is that linking the two terms of the equation is really essential in order to avoid major mistakes. Local government systems – as all political institutions – have been evolving over a long period of time, and are the result of the superimposition of different principles and values. Furthermore they are quite different from one another for different reasons. First of all they have different starting points (Hesse and Sharpe, 1991): • In most Napoleonic states (by and large the bulk of continental Europe) they were a substantially weak part of the machinery of government, entrusted with regulatory policies (for example land use) and the provision of public services with low externalities (street lighting, refuse collection, and so on) as well as with a substantial amount of activities in which they acted as representatives of central government. The result was a low level of local government autonomy, partly compensated by their political relevance according to the structure of political parties. • In Anglo-Saxon countries the tradition of self-government made the importance of local governments in service provision much bigger, and the level of autonomy much higher, even if, mostly in the United Kingdom, their political relevance was limited by the principle of parliamentary sovereignty. These different traditions...
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