Edited by Klaus Detterbeck and Eve Hepburn
Chapter 19: Regions beyond the state: external relations and paradiplomacy
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.
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