The Catalan independence debate can be analysed from different points of view, and there are several endogenous and exogenous variables that could be considered in order to explain this unprecedented centrifugal impetus. Applying a two-level perspective and taking as a starting point the territorial organisation of Spain, we analyse the underlining reasons why the Spanish State of Autonomies failed to accommodate permanently the centrifugal demands in Catalonia offering an alternative to independence and why demands for independence have grown during the past few years. In this context two hypotheses are checked: (1) the independence move of the Catalan government has been based on the failure to guarantee the singularity of Catalonia within the Spanish State of Autonomies; (2) the increasing demands among public opinion for independence and the electoral salience of the topic has led to competition and radicalisation on this topic among regionalist parties.
The chapter examines ‘regional demarcation’ and ‘territorial alteration’, i.e., the mechanisms for the geographical configuration of constituent units laid down in the Italian Constitution. The mechanisms are then part of the ‘territorial constitution’. As they entail a close connection between land, community, and law, they are also the defining features of ‘legal geography’, which outlines the spatial relationship between a community and its territory. Within this theoretical framework, the chapter focuses on how regional demarcation and territorial alteration contribute in shaping the Italian territorial constitution. The chapter outlines the basic features of the territorial demarcation of the Italian regions and considers the mechanisms for the alteration of regional boundaries. Despite the presence of mechanisms for geographical reconfiguration, the Italian territorial constitution has not undergone relevant changes. As a consequence, the narrative of the Italian territorial constitution is one of durability rather than change.
Franziska Sielker and Dominic Stead
Ongoing processes of European integration and cooperation have come alongside a growing importance of spatially relevant policies and the development of numerous cooperation initiatives at the EU level. These influence the territorial development of Europe considerably. We claim that the key to understanding the nature of today’s EU spatial governance is the interdependence of the diversity of policies and initiatives and their embeddedness in the multi-level governance systems. Against this background, the chapter aims to analyse contemporary processes of scaling and rescaling in EU spatial governance resulting from EU territorial politics and territorial cooperation initiatives. We introduce a four-dimensional framework to analyse scalar construction and policy development, and take stock of policies and funds that shape EU spatial governance. We conclude that the nature of EU spatial governance can best be understood when viewing these various EU initiatives and territorially relevant politics as interrelated.
When the EU launched its first macro-regional strategy in 2009, it started to ‘experiment’ with a new governance tool placed at the interface of intergovernmental regional cooperation and cohesion policy which took account of the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) objective. EU macro-regional strategies constitute a territorial locus of governance, i.e., a ‘layer’ situated somewhere between ‘European’ and ‘national’ levels, and they constitute a mode of governance which can be captured best as an instance of experimental governance. The contribution of this chapter is twofold. First, it seeks to conceptualise macro-regions by placing them in the broader multidisciplinary discussion on macro-regional strategies; and, second, using the EU Strategy of the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) as a test case, it presents and explores EU macro-regional strategies as instances of experimentalist governance that ultimately aim to recalibrate regional cooperation and EU cohesion policy.
This chapter delivers a prospective reflection on the cultural dimension of macro-regions. It adopts a political geography and policy analysis approach. According to the operational and functional nature of the macro-regionalisation processes, and to the polysemy of the concept of culture, the objective of this research is not to demonstrate what a cultural dimension is, but rather what it can be and how culture can concretely contribute, as a policy domain, to the progress of EU macro-regional strategies. The analysis deals with both the existing macro-regional strategies and a potentially emerging macro-region, the Western Mediterranean. It opens perspectives on the role that territorial and cultural cooperation can play in European construction.
This chapter starts from the legitimacy crisis of the EU, defined as the incapacity to deal with the negative effects of its own market integration. It takes inspiration from the self-definition of the EU as a representative democracy to explore avenues to curb the lack of legitimacy. Building on a well-known but amended trilemma, this chapter proposes to reconcile market integration (necessary to create the wealth to redistribute) and national sovereignty (as the prime level to install democracy) with a politicisation of the EU in the national and regional parliaments. The establishment of a multilevel parliamentary system (e.g. through the introduction of an EU-level chamber with representatives of regional and national parliaments) or the collective European politicisation of national and regional parliaments are introduced as possible avenues to bring the EU closer to a substantive democracy.
Regional parliaments were for a long time neglected in EU policy-making. The main way for them to try to influence EU legislation was to try to control their regional executive, which - in many cases - had only limited influence itself. The failed Draft Constitutional Treaty and later the Treaty of Lisbon changed the situation by allowing regional parliaments to participate in the new Early Warning System (EWS). The introduction of the EWS provided regional parliaments with new opportunities to engage with EU legislative proposals, and is seen to have the ability to empower regional parliaments in a number of ways. This study analyses to what extent regional parliaments make use of the EWS in practice. On the basis of an analysis of the reasoned opinions of regional parliaments from four member states the chapter argues that the impact of regions on the parliamentarisation of the EU is still limited.
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.
Jan Battke and Gabriele Abels
This book takes stock of an emerging multilevel ‘Europe with the regions’, taking into account normative, theoretical and empirical dimensions of the ‘new regionalism’. Today, it is broadly acknowledged that the regional level has to be taken into account in addition to the national and supranational levels of European governance - especially with regard to the democratic quality of the latter. No one, neither scholar nor practitioner, should stay ‘federal blind’. Europe’s regions, understood as ‘soft spaces’, are here to stay and increasingly act across the EU’s multilevel structure, often jointly, with the goal of increasing their problem-solving capacities and shaping policies. Against this background of recent and multifaceted real-world developments and the intense debate on ‘The Future of Europe’ we propose a ‘more modest’ yet multidisciplinary notion termed ‘Europe with the regions’, which helps to adequately capture both the flexibility in today’s territorial politics in Europe and the ambiguity involved.