Democratic governance in Europe has dramatically changed over the past four decades. The institutions of the European Union have accumulated important policy-making powers in areas such as the monetary and fiscal policy, agriculture and fisheries, the common market, external relations, and immigration. With the accumulation of powers at the European Union level there was a commonly felt need to give citizens a say in EU policy-making and since 1979 citizens of the EU members states can vote representatives into the European Parliament. During the last European elections of 2014, voters elected 751 members of European Parliament who represent 510 million citizens across 28 member states. A similar but often less noticed development has been a rise of electoral democracy at the regional level. Today 23 out of 37 European states hold elections for regional assemblies which rule over 423 million out of a total of 510 million citizens (83 percent). This is also a recent trend. Since 1970, no less than 18 out of these 23 states introduced regional elections and powers for regional assemblies have increased in 19, remained stable in two, and decreased in only two states (Dandoy and Schakel 2013; Schakel 2017). Regions decide upon and implement vital policies such as culture, economy, education, environment, health, hospitals, and integration. Subnational government within the European Union accounts for a third of public spending, two thirds of public investment expenditure, and more than half of public employment (Dexia 2011).
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Dr. Arjan Schakel is the Chair of the Standing Group on Regionalism and Federalism (European Consortium of Political Research, ECPR) and Associate Director of the Bachelor European Studies (Maastricht University, Netherlands).
To read the entire article on think EU Budget Post 2020 check out the 2017 Report.
The Report on the state of Regionalisation in Europe.
More than 40 experts contributed to this work, by delivering detailed reports about the state of regionalisation and multilevel governance in chosen European countries. The study covers 41 countries, and each country report is based on a similar structure, thereby allowing a comparative approach among all studied countries.
- The first part of the report gives the political impetus from the main European stakeholders
- The second part of this report entails a summarised version of the country reports. The objective is to provide interested readers with a short overview of the main features of regionalisation in various European countries. The complete versions of the country reports are available on the AER website, under LINK
- The third part provides a thematic approach based on the main findings delivered by the country reports and the current state of regionalisation in Europe. The trends and outlooks lead to open questions on the future of the regions in the European landscape, and more broadly on the role of subnational authorities in the shaping of the continent.
- The fourth part gives the floor to the actual regional decision-makers in Europe, across a series of interviews and statements by Presidents, Vice-Presidents and elected representatives of the European regions.
Over the next months, we will be focusing on a different European country’s approach to regionalisation. During these months, look out for #RoR2017 on Twitter and/or Facebook and follow us at @europeanregions.
Strong European regions are a pathway to a stronger Europe.