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 the rise 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 of regions 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 meaning of democracy across member states and there are variations even within a single state depending 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 of pressure 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 of responding to the challenge and opportunities facing it today
`Review from previous edition ... the book contains a wealth of material and is certain to prove a handy source of reference... An intriguing thesis which makes a timely contribution to the debate.'
Journal of Common Market Studies
`This book is of great value for all those interested in further research on the development of subnational democracy in the ongoing process of European integration. In addition, it can be used as a comparative introduction to regional and local politics in Europe'
Regional and Federal Studies
`.. the nation-state is [being] significantly transformed, this ... is a challenge to representative democracy. ... not so much has been written about the consequences for democracy at the subnational level. [This] book makes an important contribution to filling this gap and is both very interesting and very useful as a text for courses on comparative politics and administration.'
`The chapters are all informative and well written - and provide a valuable introduction to each of the systems covered. It will make interesting reading for all those interested in regional and local government - in Europe and beyond - and will certainly be useful in undergraduate teaching on European politics.'
Paolo Dardanelli, University of Kent
`... this book will be a useful reference work for teachers and students of politics and political geography, and for those with an interest in the role of governance structures in regional and local development.'
Notes on Contributors
List of Tables
List of Figures
1: John Loughlin: Introduction: The Transformation of the Democratic State in Western Europe
Part 1: The Anglo-Saxon Tradition
2: John Loughlin: The United Kingdom: From Hypercentralization to Devolution
3: John Loughlin: Ireland: From Colonized Nation to 'Celtic Tiger'
Part 2: The Germanic Tradition
4: Udo Bullmann: Germany: Federalism under Strain
5: Udo Bullmann: Austria: The End of Proportional Government?
6: Frank Hendriks: The Netherlands: Reinventing Tradition in Local and Regional Democracy
7: Frank Hendriks: Luxembourg: Change and Continuities in the Local State
Part 3: The Napoleonic Tradition
8: John Loughlin and Daniel-L. Seiler: France: Between Centralization and Fragmentation
9: John Loughlin: Italy: The Crisis of the Second Republic
10: Eliseo Aja: Spain: Nation, Nationalities, and Regions
11: John Loughlin: Portugal: The Difficulties of Regionalization
12: John Loughlin: Greece: Between 'Henosis and Decentralization
13: Frank Hendriks: Belgium: Federalism and Subnational Democracy in a Divided Country
Part 4: The Scandinavian Tradition
14: Anders Lidström: Sweden: The End of the 'Swedish Model'?
15: Anders Lidström: Denmark: Between Scandinavian Democracy and Neo-Liberalism
16: Anders Lidström: Finland: Geo-Political Changes and Europeanization
Part 5: Conclusions
17: John Loughlin: Conclusions: The Transformation of Regional and Local Democracy in Western Europe