The future of regional parliaments in the EU: two different perspectives on their role for European democracy

From the variety of subnational parliaments that exist in the European Union on the local, municipal or regional level, one group has received increasing attention over the last decade: regional parliaments with own legislative competences. Strengthening the role of these institutions in the EU’s multi-level political system comes with the hope or claim of improving the democratic legitimacy of the latter. The blog post proposes to distinguish between a democracy-extending and an autonomy-preserving perspective on the role of the regional parliaments. Separating the underlying, normative assumptions of these two perspectives helps us to acknowledge at least two fundamental problems in the scholarly and political debate: one pertaining to the compatibility of empowering regional parliaments with strengthening EU multi-level democracy, the other regarding the particular focus on regional parliaments with (constitutionally guaranteed) legislative powers.

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