Many measures and legal acts adopted by the European Union (EU) have a direct impact on the regional level or are implemented by it. However, these are mostly negotiated between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. What is the role of those affected, the regional political actors? Are they currently just bystanders or are they involved in shaping European policy? And what form of participation would they like to see in a newly constituted Europe?
Based on the finding that European integration has constrained the legislative competence and political scope of action of national and subnational parliaments in EU member states, research is increasingly focusing on the institutional adjustments and political activities of regional legislatures. REGIOPARL’ research was dedicated to both, the theoretical analysis of the (potential) role of regional parliaments and the empirical study of their activities in EU affairs. The research was oriented towards the following questions:
1. How do regional parliaments actually engage in EU affairs and why/under which conditions?
2. What (democratic) functions can regional parliaments fulfil in the European multi-level system, and should their role be strengthened?
3) How could the role of regional parliaments be strengthened – through institutional reforms and changing practices?
REGIOPARL addressed these questions by analysing the role of regional authorities in the current EU multi-level system. With its participatory research design, REGIOPARL incorporated the perspectives of regional actors on the ongoing debate on the future of the EU. The research agenda was structured by the modules (1) Empirical Research, (2) Normative Theory and (3) Participatory Research.