The Oxford Handbook of Local and Regional Democracy in Europe

ISBN : 9780199562978

John Loughlin; Frank Hendriks; Anders Lidstrom
816 ページ
177 x 249 mm
Oxford Handbooks in Political Science and International Relations

The Oxford Handbook of Local and Regional Democracy in Europe analyses the state of play of democracy at the subnational level in the 27 member states of the EU plus Norway and Switzerland. It places subnational democracy in the context of the distinctive Anglo, the French, the German and Scandinavian state traditions in Europe asking to what extent these are still relevant today. The Handbook adapts Lijphart's theory of democracy and applies it to the subnational levels in all the country chapters. A key theoretical issue is whether subnational (regional and local) democracy is derived from national democracy or whether it is legitimate in its own right. Besides these theoretical concerns it focuses on the practice of democracy: the roles of political parties and interest groups and also how subnational political institutions relate to the ordinary citizen. This can take the form of local referendums or other mechanisms of participation. The Handbook reveals a wide variety of practices across Europe in this regard. Local financial systems also reveal a great variety. Finally, each chapter examines the challenges facing subnational democracy but also the opportunities available to them to enhance their democratic systems. Among the challenges identified are: Europeanization, globalization, but also citizens disaffection and switch-off from politics. Some countries have confronted these challenges more successfully than others but all countries face them. An important aspect of the Handbook is the inclusion of all the countries of East and Central Europe plus Cyprus and Malta, who joined the EU in 2004 and 2007. This is the first time they have been examined alongside the countries of Western Europe from the angle of subnational democracy.


1. The United Kingdom: Is There Really an Anglo Model?
2. Ireland: Halting Steps Towards Local Democracy
3. Belgium: a Tale of Regional Divergence?
4. The Netherlands: Subnational Democracy and the Reinvention of Tradition
5. Luxembourg: The Challenge of Inclusive Democracy in a 'Local State'
6. Germany: Varieties of Democracy in a Federal System
7. Austria: From Consensus to Competition and Participation?
8. Switzerland: Subsidiarity, Power-sharing, and Direct Democracy
9. Denmark: Between Local Democracy and Implementing Agency of the Welfare State
10. Finland: The Limits of the Unitary Decentralized Model
11. Sweden: Party Dominated Sub-national Democracy under Challenge?
12. Norway: The Decline of Subnational Democracy?
13. France: Between Centralization and Fragmentation
14. Italy: The Subnational Dimension to Strengthening Democracy since the 1990s
15. Spain: The Consolidation of Strong Regional Governments and the Limits of Local Decentralization
16. Portugal: Local Democracy in a Small Centralized Republic
17. Greece: A Case of Fragmented Centralism and 'Behind the Scenes' Localism
18. Malta: Local Government: A Slowly Maturing Process
19. Cyprus: Political Modernity and the Structures of Democracy in a Divided Island
The Visegrad States
20. Poland: Europeanization of Sub-National Governments
21. The Czech Republic: Local Government in the Years After the Reform
22. Hungary: Remarkable Successes and Costly Failures: An Evaluation of Subnational Democracy
23. Slovakia: Local Government: Establishing Democracy at the Grassroots
The Baltic States
24. Estonia: Challenges and Lessons of the Development of Local Autonomy
25. Latvia: Experiments and Reforms in Decentralization
26. Lithuania: Brave Enough to Implement Daring Democratic Reforms?
The Balkan States
27. Slovenia in Transition: Decentralization as a Goal
28. Bulgaria: The Dawn of a New Era of Inclusive Subnational Democracy?
29. Romania: From Historical Regions to Local Decentralization via the Unitary State
30. European Subnational Democracy: Comparative Reflections and Conclusions
Appendix 1 Structure of Sub-National Governments in Europe (2007)
Appendix 2 Sub-national Finances in Europe
Appendix 3 Trust, Importance of Local/Regional Government, and Levels of Corruption in Europe


John Loughlin is Professor of European Politics at Cardiff University. He also holds Visiting positions at Oxford, Cambridge, Umea University, and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques Aix-en-Provence as well as numerous other appointments. He is author and editor of over twenty books and numerous articles and book chapters on European territorial governance. He is an expert of the Council of Europe's Committee of Independent Experts on Regional and Local Democracy and chaired the Advisory Committee of Experts on Effective Decentralization of UN-Habitat. He has acted as advisor on territorial governance to the European Union, the UK government and other agencies. In 2009 he was invited by the French Senate to contribute to its reflections on reform of French subnational government. ; Frank Hendriks is Professor of Comparative Governance at Tilburg University, the Netherlands. He deals with cross-border comparison of policies and governance systems, including the comparative analysis of democratic and decisionmaking models at the national and the subnational level. He has conducted extensive research, partly commissioned by public bodies, on governance and democracy at the local, regional, national and European level. He is member of various (international) research networks and editorial boards. He has published in international journals such as Public Administration; Democratization; International Journal of Public Administration; Innovation; Local Government Studies; Administrative Theory and Praxis; GeoJournal; Dutch Crossing; Verwaltungsarchiv; Journal of Crises and Contingencies, International Review of Administrative Sciences.; Anders Lidstrom is Professor of Politics, University of Umea, Sweden. His reseach focuses on local politics and government, comparative politics, and education policy. This includes studies of local democracy and self-government, both within Sweden and in a comparative perspective. Current research includes comparative studies of local government systems, and studies of democracy and political participation in city-regions. He has also carried out research on education policy, with a particular focus on how this is shaped at the local level.