Our expert from the Academic Council of the Assembly of European Regions, Pekka Kettunen, spoke about the decentralisation conference that took place in Croatia.
There was an international conference on Decentralization policies: Reshuffling the scene, 7-10 May 2015, in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The conference was organized by the Institute for Public Administration, Croatia, in collaboration and with the support from Research Committee 5 Comparative Studies on Local Government and Politics (IPSA), Research Committee 32 Public Policy & Administration (IPSA), the Croatian Political Science Association, the Faculty of Law, Study Centre for Public Administration and Public Finance, the Faculty of Political Science University of Zagreb.
In the beautiful city of Dubrovnik, tens of papers by both PhD-students and senior scholars were presented and discussed during the four-day conference. The discussions proved that regional development, and more generally the sub-national development, varies a great deal in the various parts of Europe, some countries being EU-members and others perhaps in the process of negotiating to have a closer relationship with the EU. It also was clear that in some cases regional institutions are seen more as from the representation viewpoint, i.e. how to ascertain a fair representation of the sub-regional interests, while in other cases regional institutions are seen from an instrumental perspective asking the best ways to deal with, say, coordination, service provision and networking in the European arena. Of course the two perspectives are connected. It was also noted that sub-national politico-administrative architecture is usually historically rooted and hence lessons to learn have to be taken with caution.
Pekka Kettunen, Dr. Abo Akademi University, Finland