As a result of decentralisation, many regions have gained a directly elected form of political representation and have broadened the scope of their policy competences. The domestic empowerment of regions has spilled over state boundaries. Regions in federal systems have a tradition of ‘trans-sovereign contacts’ in a world of ‘perforated sovereignties’. In this sense, subnational units have long played a role in the international relations of federal countries. However, beyond merely federal states, regions have also become increasingly active across state borders in regionalised and decentralised states. The foreign relations of regions have hence stimulated research on ‘paradiplomacy’, understood as the diplomatic activities of regions conducted in parallel to those of their embedding state. This chapter discusses the rise of regional paradiplomacy. With a focus on the European continent, it outlines how regional actorness has developed over time and across levels of government, from the subnational to the supranational level. It then highlights three primary determinants of regional paradiplomacy and two secondary factors. These help us understand why regions mobilise supranationally, but also how this mobilisation unfolds.
The chapter discusses three questions: (1) Why do regions lobby? (2) On what issues and how do regions lobby? (3) Should we care about this lobbying activity? Elements explaining the why of regional lobbying have to do with the transformation of the architecture of government in Europe, the resulting supranationalisation–regionalisation conundrum, and the consequent overlap in competences between the regional and EU levels. Regarding the what and how question, the chapter distinguishes three types of lobbying objectives (institutional, regulatory, and financial) and two types of lobbying channels (intra- and extra-state). Regarding the so what question, the chapter outlines accountability and inequality challenges. It concludes on a more positive note, however, highlighting how the EU’s political system tends to share costs and benefits across wide coalitions of actors, and how greater output legitimacy tends to be achieved through a strengthening of input legitimacy.
Mark Callanan and Michaël Tatham
Different fields of research frequently conceive of the relationship between the EU on the one hand and regional and local government on the other as a two-way process. First, there is a ‘downloading’ component to the relationship, where EU policies, legislation, and financing impacts at the regional and local levels. Second, there is an ‘uploading’ component where regional and local actors mobilize at both domestic and EU levels seeking to influence EU decisions in these areas. This chapter reviews trends and new developments in both of these areas and identifies a series of avenues for future research.