Launching the European Regional Democracy Map (ERDM)

In May 2022, REGIOPARL has launched the European Regional Democracy Map (ERDM) together with its partners at the University of Bergen. The ERDM is a novel digital platform that should be accessible to many users, sustainably updated, and deliver reliable information and original data on the politics and institutions of regional democracy in Europe. Introducing its main features, the blog post argues that the ERDM addresses several, contemporary problems of providing and communicating academic research and original data. In the mid-term, the ERDM has the potential to become a collaborative hub for sharing and visualising data on the dynamics and patterns of regionalisation in Europe.


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Regional parliaments’ participation in the Early Warning System

The Early Warning System (EWS) is the first instrument that guarantees regional parliaments at least indirect participation rights in the EU legislative process. However, to what extent and with what outcome regional parliaments make use of the opportunities provided by this instrument is highly under-researched. To this end, REGIOPARL collected data on the EWS activity of all 71 regions participating in the EWS in order to add to the understanding of how the EWS is used by regional parliaments. In this blog post, first insights from the analysis are used to put existing hypotheses on the regional EWS participation into perspective. Furthermore, an outlook on future research demands is given. Read more

Patterns of representation in the European Committee of the Regions

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) is often ascribed a dual role: first, as a guardian of regional interests at the European level, and second, as a link between the EU and its citizens to strengthen the Union’s democratic legitimacy. In his blog post, Gunnar Placzek illustrates how these attributions correspond to the actual composition of the CoR by mapping out patterns of representation. Read more

The Future of Europe through the Eyes of regional MPs: Committed Pessimism

Against the backdrop of the Conference on the Future of Europe the role of the regions within the EU’s future multilevel system has been raised once more. Based on the data raised through a survey to regional MPs carried out by the research project REGIOPARL in seven EU member states, this question will be examined more closely. This contribution will interpret the parliamentarians’ answers particularly focusing on Europe’s future. The analysis shows that in most member states approval for the current competences and structure of the EU prevails. At the same time, most respondents do not show an optimistic prognosis for a strengthened role for the regions in the EU. 

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Debating Europe – citizen dialogues in regions?

Citizen participation within the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe is nothing new. The EU has been using participatory instruments for several years. However, the conceptualization and implementation of these formats at European level is often being criticized and the success seems to be limited. Having participated in a regional citizen dialogue, the author reflects on the potential of these formats about the EU on a regional level. (Blog post in German)

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What can regional and local election results teach us for the study of populism?

After the Eurozone crisis and the so-called European refugee crisis triggered its rise between 2009 and 2015, electoral support for populist parties in Europe seems to have plateaued on a moderate level while scholars continue to debate its societal origins. In this blog post, Gunnar Placzek argues in favor of a stronger focus on regional and local election results in populism research. Examples from Germany and Spain highlight how this approach can contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon’s root causes.

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Regions and the European Green Deal

Droughts, floods, and a decrease in biodiversity: The effects of global warming on European regions are numerous, reflecting their diversity as well as the thereof resulting variety of necessary actions that regions will have to take to combat greenhouse gas emissions. From early on in her EU Commission presidency, Ursula Von der Leyen has pushed for the European Green Deal (EGD) to keep with the Paris agreement. As the deal aims to leave “no person and no place […] behind”, this blog post looks at how European regions may become involved in the EGD. It argues that a stronger participation of regional actors in the EGD could help to better align regional and local needs with strategic investment decisions and improve acceptance among regional population for the challenging transformations ahead of us.

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Regional elections in France – the latest example of the crisis of the French democracy

Looking at the striking degree of abstention in the latest French regional elections, this blog post analyzes possible causes for this phenomenon. Taking into account pandemic related circumstances and specific characteristics of regional elections, this contribution argues that ultimately the prominent position of presidential elections is the core issue causing a structural threat for the French democracy.

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European politics through the lens of members of the Austrian Landtage

What significance do European issues have for members of the Austrian Landtage, what possibilities to exert influence do they see and which cooperation networks do they use? Regarding these questions, this blog post presents first results from the REGIOPARL-survey conducted among members of the Austrian Landtage. (Blog post in German) Read more

Regional actors – spectators or players in the “Brussels Game”?

EU legislation has a strong impact on the member states which is after decades of European integration not surprising. EU laws are negotiated and adopted between the three central actors of the EU, the EU Commission, the European Parliament and the Council and have to be implemented by the member states. What is sometimes overlooked is that sub-national actors such as regions and municipalities often have to implement EU laws. This leads to the question of what role subnational actors (can) play in European policy affairs. This contribution asks whether these subnational actors are only spectators of European integration or whether they actively shape EU policies. Read more