Subnational Democracy in the European Union Challenges and Opportunities

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2001-06-07
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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This book is the result of a research project carried out for the Committee of the Regions and analyses the 'state of play' of democratic practice at the subnational level in all of the European Member states. Its initial hypothesis was that liberal democracy is closely associated with therise of the nation state in the 19th century. The nation state, however, has been significantly changing under the impact of various forces including globalization and regionalization, internal reforms of the public administration system such as privatization and deregulation, and the emergence ofregions and local authorities as actors in their own rights. these changes pose challenges for the practice of democracy and , in particular, for its expression at the regional and local level.The book deals with the theoretical implications of these changes in terms of the changing nature of the state and new regionalism. However, one of the key findings is that there is no one uniform of the meaning of democracy across member states and there are variations even within a single statedepending on whether the national or subnational levels are considered.Each country chapter gives the historical and philosophical background to the concept of democracy in each country. There is also an exposition of the institutional expression of democracy at the different levels. With regard to the practice of democracy at the subnational level, the role ofpressure groups and policy networks is examined as well as the role of political parties. There is a survey of critiques of subnational democracy. Finally, there is a survey of innovative approaches to improving regional and local democracy through a variety of mechanisms and reforms as ways ofresponding to the challenge and opportunities facing it today.

Table of Contents

Introduction: the Transformation of the Democratic State in Western Europe, John Loughlin
The anglo-saxon tradition
The United Kingdom: from Hypercentralization to Devolution, John Loughlin
Ireland: from colonized nation to 'Celtic Tiger', John Loughlin
The germanic tradition
Germany: Federalism under strain, Udo Bullmann
Austria: the end of Proportional Government?, Udo Bullmann
The Netherlands: Reinventing Tradition in Regional and Local Democracy, Frank Hendriks
Luxembourg: Change and Continuities in the Local State, Frank Hendriks
The napoleonic tradition
France: between Centralization and fragmentation, John Loughlin
Italy: the Crisis of the Second Republic, John Loughlin
Spain: Nation, Nationalities, and regions, Eliseo Aja
Portugal: the difficulties of regionalization, John Loughlin
Greece: Between 'henosis' and decentralization, John Loughlin
Belgium: Federalism and Subnational Democracy in a Divided Country, Frank Hendriks
The scandinavian tradition
Sweden: the end of the 'Swedish Model'?, Anders Lidstrom
Denmark: between Scandivnian democracy and neo-liberalism, Anders Lidstrom
Finland: geo-political changes and Europeanization, Anders Lidstrom
Conclusion: the Transformation of Regional and Local Democracy into Western Europe, John Loughlin
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