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François-Olivier Seys

In social sciences, and in particular in geography, the process of boundary delimitation has been discussed by many authors who agree that boundaries are by definition arbitrary and have effects on the reality of geographical units. In the EU, using the principles of spatial analysis, three processes of regional boundaries’ delimitation can be distinguished. This chapter tries to analyse the mutual relationships between the processes of regional boundaries’ delimitation and the level of competences, measured by the Regional Authority Index built from two main categories: self-rule and shared rule with the central/federal states. By crossing these types of regions with their disparities in terms of size and competences, the analysis shows that the reality of European regions is very diverse; yet three main types can be identified, with the most important disparity between large regions on the one hand and medium-sized and small regions on the other.