The regional Europe concept
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There has been talk of a «regional Europe», and the concept has been used without inhibition when it has been a question of describing European development. But, what does the concept really mean? Is it a Europe with regions where regions are state controlled instruments, or a Europe of regions on a level with a Europe of nation-states. Or is the concept both of these things? The different theories concerned with the question can be classified according to whether they are idealistic or realistic/pragmatic. Central to their analyses is the new role played by the national states in a Europe coming closer together, and where the European Union is a supra-national unit. But the European Union is also a supra-regional construction, and this means that the regions must be allocated a position on the European political arena. The shared laws behind the European Union are steadily granting greater legitimacy to regional power. European Commissioners may also seek to by-pass national governments, and deal directly with regions. In consequence, Euro-federalists tend to support an increased role for the Commission and its corollary «A Europe of Regions», while anti-federalists and cynics argue that what is really being proposed is that region authorities should become the agents of Brussels, i.e. «A Europe with Regions». The Regions form the background for the post-modern position. Postmodernity places a strong emphasis on «difference» and cultural manifold. The manifold in types of community has the effect of strengthening the move towards European regionalisation and the building of regions. Regionalism is strengthened, while state nationalism connected to the modern is weakened. A model for a «regional Europe» is a Europe of and with regions, consisting of functional regions side by side with national actors and other actors. Such a Europe has been called «multi-perspectival», «multi-layered» and «multi-leveled».
PublisherHøgskolen i Lillehammer