Regional Democracy and the EU
This session started with three presentations by leading experts who drew on recent findings from research projects that specifically investigate the challenges and opportunities of regional democracy in the EU multilevel governance system. The presentations discussed the conditions which make regional democracy work and claims for regional involvement in EU policy making expressed by members of regional parliaments.
Arjan Schakel --Director of the Centre for Regional Democratic Governance at the University of Bergen-- kciked-off the meeting by illustrating the trend of increasingly authoritative regional government and how regions are impacting multilevel democracies.
Alexander Verdoes - PhD candidate at the University of Bergen - presented an innovative and novel dataset on regional institutions and discussed how regional electoral systems impact regional party systems.
Sarah Meyer - Head of the REGIOPARL | Regional Parliaments Lab research project at the Danube University Krems - discussed arguments for regional involvement in EU policymaking, based on a series of workshops with members of regional parliaments in four EU Member States.
The discussion with the audience focussed on regions' impact on Europe's multilevel democracy.
Take away message
Regions are on the rise and regions have a significant impact on Europe's multilevel democracy. The empirical evidence arising from the speaker's research projects strongly indicates a fundamental change in multilevel democracy in Europe, both in the EU and in the EU's Member States. It is important to account for the increasing importance of regions in Europe and politicians need to think carefully about what they expect from regional actors and how they design regional institutions.