Regional Governance in the EU
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Regional Governance in the EU

Regions and the Future of Europe

Edited by Gabriele Abels and Jan Battke

The role of regions in the European Union has been frequently debated since the 1980s. This comprehensive book provides a thorough overview of the issue from a variety of perspectives, analysing regional governance and territorial dynamics in the EU and its member states. Focusing on the implications of the democratisation–regionalisation nexus, it argues that a ‘Europe with the regions’ may promote good governance and ameliorate the democratic deficits of the EU.
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Chapter 11: The EU’s multilevel parliamentary system: escaping from the trilemma of market integration, national democracy and national sovereignty

Peter Bursens


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.

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