Image: Alexander Wegmaier
Flags of Germany, Europe and Bavaria in front of the Bavarian State Chancellery.

Research into regional and state-level history in Europe is increasingly looking at topics and periods that have seen European bodies play a role alongside national and regional stakeholders of historically longer standing. Starting in the 1950s, the European Communities acquired extensive competences in agricultural, economic, and structural policy that intersected with the powers of subnational entities including, notably, the German Länder. The Council of Europe became an influential driver of cultural policy, and intergovernmental organizations such as CERN and the European Patent Organisation became more significant in research policy.1

Individual works of history, in particular regional studies, have drawn on the concept of multilevel governance as a descriptive category to characterize the new situation—at times tacitly, by highlighting how the emergence of new stakeholders at various levels created new possibilities for shaping states’ policies,2 and in other instances by invoking the concept directly.3 Historians appear to regard the concept as meaningful to the point of being virtually self-explanatory4 and either refrain from defining it or make reference to contributions from political science, a discipline that has been using the concept of multilevel governance since the mid-1990s.5

In their political science research on European structural policy, Gary Marks and Liesbet Hooghe highlighted the roles of subnational authorities, experts, and pressure groups as participants involved alongside member state governments in making and delivering policy decisions.6 This led them to reappraise the assumption that member states are consistently able to control policy outcomes and conclude, instead, that the influence of actors at the different governance levels varies considerably across and sometimes even within policy areas.7

Although historians were well aware of the influence of domestic politics on foreign policy in the wake of controversial discussions of the supposed “primacy of domestic politics”8 since the late 1960s, considerable time passed without any attempts being made to connect this insight with the role of subnational entities in European politics. In political science, however, researchers have embraced the concept of multilevel governance—especially in the context of examining the role the regions played following the Maastricht treaty and how regional and local authorities delivered structural policy on the ground.9

Applied more broadly, however, the insights of this approach can also prove helpful for analyzing pre-Maastricht European integration. Guido Thiemeyer recently pointed this out in his description of the emergence of the European multilevel governance system from the 1950s to the 1980s as a process of “trial and error” involving bodies at the European, national, and state or regional levels that was substantially characterized by unofficial structures and had “no legal basis.”10 Burkhardt-Reich and Hrbek/Wessels used the term “multilevel system” as early as the beginning of the 1980s—and not without reason—“to account adequately for the complex structures and processes in the Community,”11 even as political scientists at the time were otherwise still largely cleaving to a two-level approach based on the assumption that national governments were fundamentally “gatekeepers between the domestic and international levels.”12

Including these perspectives from political science undoubtedly opens up new horizons for the discipline of history as a whole and especially for regional studies.

Fundamental aspects of the multilevel system

Multilevel governance systems arise when “power or competences are distributed between territorially delimited organizations” but “political processes” simultaneously “encompass more than one level” because “tasks are interdependent.”13

Interdependent tasks sometimes crop up because—in an increasingly “denationalized” world—the spaces in which problems arise tend to diverge from the spaces within which individual nation-states have the sovereign authority to bring their problem-solving expertise to bear on them.14 International financial crises or environmental problems, for instance, demand solutions that do not stop at national borders.

Interdependencies also arise—especially in the political system of the EC/EU—because of the ways in which competences are distributed between multiple actors at multiple levels. These range from agenda-setting (e.g., the European Commission has a right of initiative to propose new legislation, often based on proposals from experts) and negotiating decisions (the Council of Ministers with national government representatives who need each state’s respective backing for their decisions, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the country; since 1992 especially and increasingly the European Parliament) to the actual implementation of new policies (national and subnational authorities such as federal states, regions, and local authorities, often in cooperation with non-governmental actors).15

The ability of each level to autonomously exert control is thus limited, necessitating coordination and management across various levels. German federalism research has a word for this: Fritz W. Scharpf’s coinage of Politikverflechtung,16 literally “interwoven politics” but translatable in a number of ways, for example as a framework for joint decision-making or even a joint decision trap. But the same essential mechanisms are also found in unitary states with their voluntary or imposed cooperative relationships between government agencies at different territorial levels.17

The terms “systems of multilevel governance” and “multilevel systems” are common in scholarship within the field. Germanophone research makes especially extensive use of the “multilevel system” (Mehrebenensystem) concept. Conceiving of multilevel governance in this way may appear to evoke a hierarchical system with a “top” and a “bottom,” but neither element is essential. This is especially clear in the case of federally organized states: in Germany, for instance, the Länder (as partially sovereign constituent states) retain a distinct “statehood that is not derived from the federation but is, at the same time, limited.”18 The federation and the constituent states “are not principally superior or subordinate to each other” but are “within their sphere of action … fundamentally independent of one another, albeit bound to mutual loyalty (and under certain circumstances also obedience).”19

Even in regionalized or decentralized states in which the subnational units have only limited self-government rights or have been conceived of as decentralized administrative units, chains of hierarchical command do not work automatically: despite the presence of formal hierarchical structures, the “lower” levels typically are “powerful enough to evade the ‘reach’ of the central level” and can use the threat of non-cooperation to open up coordination channels to the “top”—informally if not officially.20

Using the term “system” possibly promotes a tendency to think in terms of hierarchies and may imply the existence of regularized mechanisms for achieving the necessary cooperation. Such formal relationships are, in fact, given in some cases, for instance when a second parliamentary chamber secures the participation of the subnational level in the formation of national policy or when institutions like mediation committees or constitutional courts resolve conflicts between levels.21 In addition, however, cooperation can take countless informal routes that are mostly not constitutionally defined or capable of generating legally enforceable agreements. The term “multilevel governance”—frequently encountered in Anglophone research— captures the fluid nature of many such cooperative relationships more clearly.

The concept of governance was originally applied to international relations in an effort to clarify that the relationship between states is not organized hierarchically and that satisfactory outcomes can, as a rule, only be achieved through a range of negotiation processes conducted between sovereign states. This was the usage context invoked by Ursula Lehmkuhl with her suggestion that the concept could also provide a productive analytical perspective for historical scholarship.22 Since then, however, the concept of governance has shifted to encompass policy production in its entirety and not only international relations.

“Governance” represents a “counterpoint to ‘government’—understood as control of society exercised in an étatist and hierarchical way”23—and this promotes a shift in perspective that leads away from envisaging “the state as a monolithic subject that is sovereign in its dealings with the outside world and hierarchical in its internal workings.”24

Instead, “governance” foregrounds the substantial autonomy enjoyed by various subdomains in society in modern constitutional states, the large influence non-state pressure groups exert on politicians and policy-making, and the obsolescence of the idea that authority can be exerted smoothly from the top down along hierarchical chains of command.25

At the same time, the governance approach also seeks to avoid the danger inherent to “forgetting, or at least trivializing, multiple phenomena that are empirically evident and involve state control of societal processes in hierarchical form.” It therefore conceives of the hierarchical organization of political processes as only “one of several patterns of managing interdependence between states and between state and societal actors.”26

One of the other control mechanisms27 (apart from hierarchy) is negotiation. It comes into play when a cooperation partner cannot be compelled to take a certain course of action, but interdependence makes reaching a joint solution desirable. Direct communication between the parties creates opportunities for barter, brokering compromise, or seeking concessions, although each party can also break off talks at any point and block progress towards a solution.28

The Association of Alpine States (Arge Alp, short for Arbeitsgemeinschaft Alpenländer) supplies an example case for horizontal negotiations in the European multilevel system. It was founded in 1972. Participating states, cantons, and regions sought to reach joint positions on spatial planning issues and on environmental, cultural, and transport policy that they could advocate vis-à-vis their national governments and at the European level. The desire to cooperate arose out of the conviction of those involved that problems in these policy fields do not stop at national borders and often affect the Alpine region as a whole.

Despite this insight, the partners chose to work in an organization with only minimal institutional structuring that afforded opportunities for coordinated discussion of matters, but allowed for decisions to be reached only when it was possible to do so unanimously—and even these took the form of jointly formulated recommendations addressed to the relevant agencies of the national governments in each country.29

Negotiations between subnational actors can also take place vertically between actors at different hierarchical levels, as the Kramer/Heubl talks on the composition of German delegations to European committees demonstrate. The nub of the problem was that committees had come into existence at the European level in which the German Länder wanted to be represented because the matters addressed fell within the scope of responsibility of the Länder in Germany. In some cases, the relevant committees played merely coordinating roles (this was, for instance, true for the Advisory Committee on Vocational Training). In others, they had substantive decision-making powers (examples included the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the Committee on Regional Policy).

This desire on the part of the Länder clashed with the federal government’s insistence on its primacy in the realm of foreign policy, although the federal government also conceded that the expertise of the state administrations in certain areas was helpful. Resolving the dispute via the Federal Constitutional Court was not an option, as the political cost of losing was too high for both sides. Instead, after protracted talks, the federal government and the states arrived at a negotiated arrangement facilitating the involvement of Länder representatives on a case-by-case basis. Both sides could live with this arrangement, and neither side had to formally cede an inch of its respective legal position.30

The outcome produced by the Kramer/Heubl talks remained a loose agreement, however, essentially “a declaration of intent made by both sides with each side hoping that the other side would respect it.”31 Its interpretation repeatedly proved controversial, but the negotiations had nevertheless produced a passable outcome of sorts, albeit never codified in legislation or used to refine the constitutional order.

Networks are another steering mechanism in the governance concept. They are “more or less institutionalized, stable communication and action systems of connections [between autonomous actors] with an interest in sets of shared development issues and problems.”32 By fostering mutual trust and establishing routine processes of negotiation and decision-making, regular communication between actors in networks may reduce or even avert potential for conflict at an early stage in decision-making. While such networks often emerge between specialist administrative agencies at different levels that are concerned with the same specific policy fields, network links can also develop that connect such specialist agencies with external experts.

The emergence of the EEC mountain and hill farming program in 1974 is a case in point. Right from the beginning of the common EEC agricultural policy, both the Bavarian Farmers’ Association and the Bavarian state government had been opposed to the agenda advocated by agriculture commissioner Sicco Mansholt that favored rapid structural change and a shift to larger and more efficient farms.33 The alternative “Bavarian Way” envisaged the continued coexistence of full-time, part-time, and sideline farmers and aspired to preserve small-scale agriculture as practiced in the Bavarian Alps with state support.

The state government repeatedly appealed to the European Commission to consider agricultural structural policy in a regionally differentiated way, but it was probably the work of agricultural economist Paul Rintelen that was ultimately decisive for the Commission’s decision to recognize, for the first time, the existence of areas or forms of farming for which specific supports could be justified (and to put these supports in place in the form of the EEC hill farming program). Rintelen, a professor at the agricultural faculty of the Technical University of Munich in Weihenstephan, had close ties to Bavarian farming networks and had supervised the doctoral thesis of Bavarian agriculture minister Hans Eisenmann.

After the European Commission tasked Rintelen with conducting a study on the situation of agriculture in the Alpine region, he made a convincing case for the Bavarian view, presented as an important expert opinion in January 1973 that paved the way for the hill farming program.34

This roundabout route taken via the Bavarian agriculture network made it possible to influence the European decision-making process much more heavily than could have been achieved solely through formal channels like the state government lobbying the Bundesrat to reach a position statement that the federal government could in turn have put forward and defended against resistance in the Council of Ministers of Agriculture of the European Communities.

Finally, the governance concept also views the markets and market competition as a steering mechanism: this purely decentral process can cause stakeholders to compare their own performance or successes with the results attained by competitors and to modify their actions in turn.35

Within Germany, the principle of competition between states was evident, for example, in the efforts of Social Democrat and Christian Democrat state governments in the 1960s and 1970s to garner support by demonstrating the superiority of their respective education policies to voters. It also featured in the era of prime minister Edmund Stoiber in Bavaria around the turn of the millennium and the comparisons made then between Bavaria and other German states and European regions that were used by the Bavarian government to justify various policy initiatives.36

Although the concept of multilevel governance emerged from political science analysis of EC/EU regional policy and the regions’ role as formalized in the Maastricht treaty in 1992, much political science literature draws on it to reappraise the relationships between the European and nation-state levels.37 To minimize analytical complexity, authors tend to confine themselves to these two levels.38 Often only a “junior partner” role remains for subnational authorities at the regional level,39 but the fundamental nature of the model of multilevel governance does not automatically predestine them to be sidelined in this way.

Contemporary regional history can shed some light on this blind spot and contribute to incorporating subnational levels into investigations of the European multilevel system.

The emergence of European multilevel governance—A look at the regions

The fact that the European multilevel system extends beyond the European and national levels is attributable, first and foremost, to the very fact that subnational entities exist in member states.

They are, however, by no means a homogeneous group: the number of subnational levels, their nature as legal entities, and their competences depend on whether nation-states are organized federally (as in Germany, Austria and Switzerland), with regionalized structures (as in Italy and Spain), or as decentralized unitary states like France and Norway.40

The characteristic feature of multilevel governance—the organization of government activity by entities with varying territorial scope with interdependencies and coordinated actions—is nevertheless preserved in all of these cases.

The account below will look at the German Länder and the Italian and French regions as examples of states with, respectively, a federal structure, a regionalized structure, and a unitary structure with elements of decentralization. The discussion of these structures is confined here to the period up to the end of the 1980s, since the relationship of the regions to the European level “changed fundamentally”41 after that point. In the wake of European Structural Fund reform in 1988 and the Maastricht treaty in 1992, the nature of the regions as actors on the European stage was utterly transformed. France and Italy also embarked on extensive reform processes in the 1990s that greatly altered the role of the regions in the domestic politics of both countries.42

As a generally accepted definition of the term “region” is still lacking in political science, and interdisciplinary coordination with spatial research remains underdeveloped,43 the following references to regions are made with a degree of caution. The conceptual core of the “region” category can be described as a subspace of medium size, with an intermediary character, that is defined in some way by physical geography and the natural environment, history and culture, political and administrative activity, economic and functional ties, or (as is often the case) some combination of these factors.44

In a prototypical region, these factors would all coincide, but individual regions can deviate from this prototype to varying degrees. One advantage of this approach based on prototype semantics45 is that it allows for the sidestepping of the question whether a region must necessarily have legislative powers of its own to count as such—a characteristic that would exclude Brittany, for instance, although it will become clear below that Breton politicians and the Breton population clearly regard Brittany as a distinct region and represent its concerns as such at the French and European levels.

I. Functional interdependencies and forms of intra-country cooperation

Regionalism in France “as a call for a more rational division of the country and as a counterweight to excessive centralism … has a long and venerable tradition.”46 The French regions emerged in an effort to close the gaping chasm in regional development between “Paris et le désert français”47 that became increasingly evident after 1945. Regional stakeholders spearheaded by the Breton pressure group CELIB (Comité d’étude et de liaison des intérêts bretons) achieved a regionalization of national planning policy in 1956 that saw the establishment of twenty-one “program regions” (régions de programme) for spatial planning purposes (albeit with scant regard for historical and cultural links).48

In 1964, the program regions—now redefined as “circles for regional action” (circonscriptions d’action régionale)—each gained their own Regional Economic Development Commissions (Commission de Développement Économique Régional, CODER).49 The work of DATAR, the Agency for Land Planning and Regional Development (Délégation à l’Aménagement du Territoire et à l’Action Régionale), was coordinated and implemented by the regional prefects. To bring more expertise from the regions on board, the prefects were each assisted by two advisory committees with local elected officials, representatives of the state administration, and members of professional associations.

But the French regions always remained mere technocratic tools geared to improving planification in a modern industrial society. In 1969, President de Gaulle sought to implement his vision of a “participatory society” with a major regional reform that would have turned the regions into territorial authorities with their own councils, budgets, and competences. But this reform effort failed because de Gaulle simultaneously strove to weaken the Senate. By announcing his intention to resign if the reforms were rejected, he effectively turned the referendum on the reforms package into a plebiscite on confidence in his presidency.50

Under de Gaulle’s successor Pompidou, a minor reform in 1972 transformed the regions into legal entities under public law with purely administrative functions in the area of regional economic planning. A regional council composed of national parliamentarians and regional representatives elected from the départements was also created.51

The regions only received the status of territorial authorities—and therefore a legal status equivalent to that of the communes and départements—during the major reform initiative that took place in 1982, during the Mitterrand presidency. Executive power passed from the regional prefect to the president of the—now directly elected—regional council, and the previous comprehensive advance control of all actions (tutelle, as this kind of administrative tutelage by the prefect was called) evolved into a form of retrospective legal supervision.52

The regions acquired competences of their own in the fields of regional spatial planning, infrastructure, and economic development. They also became responsible for providing and maintaining schools of the lycée type, vocational education and training, environmental protection, and regional cultural affairs. But they remained the “economically and politically weaker level” vis-à-vis the départements that were also bolstered in this reform phase, especially as the possibility of one territorial authority exerting tutelle over another was excluded.53

The subnational levels in France do not formally participate in national political decision-making; de jure responsibility for communicating issues of regional concern “up” to the central government rests with the prefects who also simultaneously serve as the representatives of the central state in the départements and regions.54 Although a second chamber that is formally the representative body of all territorial authorities exists in the form of the Senate, the nature of the electoral system means that it is dominated by the small communes and, to a lesser extent, the départements.55

What developed in France in the absence of formal participation structures was a strongly personalized system of interdependences that local elected officials can exploit to bring their interests into the policy process of the central state. This “pouvoir périphérique”56 is founded (apart from the long terms of office of many important local officials) especially on the cumul des mandats (accumulation of offices) at the national and local levels that has been “one of the defining features of French parliamentarianism since the beginnings of the Third Republic.”57

Jacques Chaban-Delmas, for example, not only served as mayor of Bordeaux for almost fifty years, but was also a member of the National Assembly for the same length of time, its president on multiple occasions, a national minister and prime minister, and twice president of the Regional Council of Aquitaine.58 Other top-tier national politicians also held office as presidents of départements or regional councils as a form of symbolic identification with “their” regions and combined “democratic legitimacy with a vestigial remnant of great feudal lordships.”59

Such local notables were able to exert considerable influence in this fashion and to place unsurmountable obstacles in the path of the central state as represented by its prefects in the regions and its control centers in Paris. Formal hierarchical structures thus receded into the background. Conflicts were processed in a tangled web of elected officeholders and state officials with the help of “the cross-regulation system” (régulation croisée)60 that linked “administrative and political sources of authority via personal and territorial ties.”61

In addition to this long tradition of relying on intricate interpersonal connections, subnational units also gained a powerful tool enabling them to co-shape the policy of the national government when decentralization legislation brought in planning contracts. Even before these were put in place, effective spatial planning was not possible without the participation of the subnational levels.62 The seventh national plan (1976–1980) was the first national plan to integrate the regional plans of the newly created regions into the new national plan for France as a whole.

The 1982 decentralization reforms subsequently made the state-region planning contracts (contrats de plan Etat-Région, CPER) “a central tool for managing state investment in cooperation with the decentralized levels.”63 The regions acquired seats on the National Planning Commission (Commission nationale du plan) entrusted with producing a national plan. Once the national plan existed, a negotiation phase followed that led to each region and the state concluding a state-region contract that set out their joint priorities and the level of funding to be awarded.

Although the central government continued to play a strong role and the regions generally had only limited financial resources,64 the planning contracts did establish the “principle of partnership between the central level and the subnational territorial authorities in the sphere of spatial planning and regional policy”65—especially as the financial resources of the regions were often decisive for plugging the last remaining funding gaps that needed to be closed before individual investment projects could proceed.

Foundations were thus laid for the outcomes seen today: a “major result of decentralization policy” can be identified in a shift from “hierarchical, centralist government in which the state (at least formally) had the upper hand” to “negotiation-based settlements.”66

While the French regions were established chiefly to foster functional decentralization, the Republic of Italy was conceived of from the outset—and defined in the Italian Constitution of 1948—as being both “una e indivisibile” and a multilevel system with regions, provinces, and local authorities. It was envisaged that the Italian regions would be autonomous legal entities with powers and tasks of their own.

While regionalization was not uncontroversial, a need to “overcome the excessive centralism of fascism” supplied motivation to drive it forward.67 Even before the constitution entered into effect, the legal prerequisites for regional administrations were created (between 1944 and 1947) in what were to become autonomous regions with special statutes—Sicily, Sardinia, Valle d’Aosta and Trentino-South Tyrol.68

But the Christian Democrats, who initially advocated regionalization, delayed the establishment of the regions envisaged by the constitutional process because they feared left-wing opposition coming from the regions as a threat to their governing majority. Liberals, monarchists, and the ministerial bureaucracy all preferred the unitary model of statehood and were opposed to regionalization.69

Italian regionalization proceeded along doubly asymmetrical lines:70 the content of the special statutes (with the rank of constitutional laws) giving special autonomous status to four regions (later five following the enactment of the special statute for Friuli-Venezia Giulia in 1963) differed from region to region, and the other fifteen ordinary statute regions were different again.

The ordinary statute regions were furnished with considerably weaker competences and budgetary autonomy. In addition, their establishment proved to be a protracted process that dragged on until 1970: although the regions already featured in the constitution, the legislation governing the election of regional councils was not passed until 1968 and the legislation on regional budgets was only passed in 1970. The first regional council elections were held in June 1970 and regional governments were formed. In 1971, the regional statutes were drafted by the regional councils and approved by both chambers of the national parliament. By 1977, the transfer of competences to the regions was finally complete.71

The areas of competence of the regions with ordinary statutes were enumerated in the constitution. Taken together, they depict the regions as an “agrarian economic unit… from the pre-industrial age.”72 Their focus was on markets, local police forces, public welfare, vocational training, local museums and libraries, urban planning, tourism, regional infrastructure including inland waterways, agriculture, forestry, hunting, and, last but not least, the crafts and trades. The regional statutes also generally formulated objectives including participation in regional economic planning and structural policy. Regions with special statutes had additional competences in the areas of culture, industry and the economy, labor law, higher education law, and social security law.73

However, the residual legislative powers remained with the central state, as did numerous obvious and more subtle levers for wielding control over processes. In most cases, only the regions with special statutes had “exclusive power to legislate” while regions with ordinary statutes had to confine themselves to enacting supplementary legislation within the limits of a legislative framework created by the central state. The central state was also able to exert a form of preventive control over regional legislative and administrative activity via government commissioners and supervisory commissions that did not confine itself to regulatory oversight but could also intervene in questions pertaining to the “national interest” or the interests of other regions.74

Taken together with their tightly limited budgetary autonomy, the effect was that the ordinary administrative regions, especially, were strongly dependent on the central state from their very establishment. Only in the regions with special statutes did most of the national taxes levied in each region flow into the budgets of the regional governments.75

While the regions were “kept on the leash of the central state” right from the start,76 the second phase of the transfer of competences from the central state to the regions, which took place between 1975 and 1977, softened the rigidity of the constitutionally envisaged separation of competences and tasks. Especially in administrative action, “diverse coordination and cooperation mechanisms” emerged and responsibility for a given issue “being assigned to only a single level of government became very much the exception rather than the rule.”77 Over time, a system of “unofficial or semi-official negotiations and consultations that was beyond democratic control developed for coordination purposes between the levels and entities involved.”78

This was especially relevant for spatial planning and economic development, areas in which the regions received new competences. The regional presidents were members of both the Interministerial Committee for Economic Planning (Commissione interministeriale per la programmazione economica) and the Interregional Commission (Commissione interregionale), newly created in 1970. Both bodies played a decisive role in planning the national economic program and regional development programs.79

In contrast to the provinces and local authorities, the Italian regions were involved to a limited extent as subnational bodies in the decision-making process of the central government: The regions received a right to propose national legislation, and also a right to initiate national referenda when requests were made by five regional councils. The regions participate in the constitutional bodies of the central state only via the role of regional delegates in electing the Italian president. The regional presidents of special-statute regions were also eligible to participate in cabinet meetings in an advisory capacity during discussions of matters affecting their specific regions. Although the Senate is formally “elected on a regional basis,” it is not otherwise designed as a form of regional representation.80

The State–Regions Conference established at the insistence of the regions in 1983 was initially an infrequently convened body of no great significance, but a 1988 reform transformed it into a standing body chaired by the prime minister, who was required to convene it at least twice a year. It gradually became more significant but remained a purely advisory body “intended, on the one hand, to avoid the exclusion of the regions from the national political scene, but also, on the other, to prevent an effective regional chamber expanding regional representation at the national level.”81

While the French regions are territorial entities with autonomous administrative competences and the Italian regions have legislative competences of their own only to the degree to which the central state has ceded these competences to the regions, the German Länder are qualitatively rather different:

As partially sovereign constituent states with their own constitutions, the Länder possess the quality of statehood and original legislative powers, chiefly in the areas of culture, education, research, internal security, state planning, and administration. They also have the residual competence to legislate in all areas not expressly defined as matters falling under exclusive federal legislative power in the German Basic Law and in areas in which the federal government has not made use of its concurrent legislative competence. The state governments are also participants in federal legislative and administrative processes via the Bundesrat and can, depending on the issue being legislated, exercise an absolute or suspensory veto over Bundestag positions there.82

Reconstruction of the German economy after the Second World War, the importance attached to establishing equal living conditions throughout the federal territory in the Basic Law, and the beginnings of “planning euphoria” combined—especially from the 1960s onwards—to create a steadily more unitarian trend in federal German policy which the Länder were largely unable to counter.

The budget reform of 196983 solidified a model of “cooperative federalism” with its introduction of three areas of joint responsibility (regional policy, agricultural structural policy, and university construction), a uniform fiscal system, greater fiscal equalization between states, and elements of whole-country planning. A large number of joint committees were instituted to address these joint responsibilities of the Federation and the Länder.

While the German Länder and the Italian and French regions are all very different from a constitutional law perspective, striking similarities are evident from other perspectives: the subnational levels in all three states have tasks in the areas of spatial planning, regional structural policy, and infrastructure policy. In Germany and Italy, tasks in the area of agriculture also feature. Hope that the potential of the regions could be made fertile for economic modernization processes was not the least motive behind the transfer of these areas of competence from nation-states to regions.84

But these are areas in which a need for cooperation is especially likely to arise between central governments (that usually, at the very least, have control over funding streams and can thus influence overall planning) and the subnational authorities tasked with delivering policy on the ground. And when competences are distributed, cooperation becomes all the more essential. Even in such a strongly unitary-decentralized system as France before 1982, such cooperation can be observed, as Dörte Rasch clearly demonstrates in her study of French spatial planning policy.85

Once the European Community gained influence in (agricultural) structural policy within the framework of the common agricultural policy, started granting its own investment loans through the European Investment Bank, and was given an expressly designated role in regional policy with the establishment of the European Regional Development Fund in 1975, interdependencies between the regional and European levels became entirely unavoidable.

In Germany, the Länder were involved from the beginning due to their administrative sovereignty. But similar patterns are discernible in Italy and France: the Italian regions were allowed to implement the EEC directives on agricultural reform independently for the first time in 1975, albeit only within the narrow parameters fixed in detailed national legislation passed in advance.86 The reform of the European Structural Funds in the 1980s also led to the Italian regions—in stark contrast to the situation in France—becoming more involved in the planning and implementation of programs.87

In France, the regions were initially only able to influence the distribution of European structural funds indirectly via their planning contracts with the central state. But direct links between French regions and the European Community were forged from 1986 onwards in the context of the Integrated Mediterranean Programmes. The regional council presidents and regional prefects were both program signatories and co-chaired the monitoring committees.88 Although the French central government otherwise retained the power to distribute structural funds for itself alone and granted an active role in the regions only to the prefects, so as not to bolster the budgetary autonomy of the territorial authorities, it did at least involve regional partners in an advisory capacity in program planning and delivery.89

In addition to the ramifications of the structural policy activity initiated at the European level, the regions themselves created additional points of contact between the European and subnational levels with every form of regional economic development they initiated.

The economic policy the member states agreed to in the EEC Treaty was essentially liberal and focused primarily on “fair competition” and the “elimination of restrictions on trade between states.”90 It sought primarily to break down trade barriers and to prevent discrimination against trading partners from other EEC states.91 This liberal economic model found expression in Article 92 of the EEC Treaty, for instance, with its prohibition of state aid except in narrowly defined exceptional cases dependent on Commission approval.

This meant that any regional development policy that the regions in France and Italy or the Länder in Germany wished to pursue always also required that any loans or credit programs involving public funds be approved on the European level. This applied to the development programs for southern Italy administered by the Cassa per il Mezziogiorno and the regions, and it was also true for the Bavarian “zonal border development” (Zonenrandgebiet) programs.92 Several German Länder drew up EEC adaptation plans for their own policies as early as the 1960s.93

II. The self-image of the regions

In political science, the emergence and evolution of multilevel governance is sometimes understood only in terms of the specific interdependencies that arose out of the overlap between the competences of the regions and those of the nation-state and European levels. But the self-image of some specific regions was no less important a factor, as these individual regions advocated for the relevance of the regional level in the European multilevel system and thus ultimately changed the status of regions more generally.

In the German context, the example of Bavaria is particularly salient. With its strong and long-standing tradition of asserting its own statehood, Bavaria (initially with support from North Rhine-Westphalia) was quick to position itself at the forefront of efforts to safeguard the statehood and powers of the Länder in the era of European integration.94

Within Bavaria, the historical dimension was especially foregrounded; the state government was keen to stress, for instance, that the sovereignty of the old Kingdom of Bavaria “lives on in a weakened form in the new Free State of Bavaria”95 and that independent contacts with the European Commission were also “a manifestation of a certain Bavarian self-reliance.”96

The minister president of North Rhine-Westphalia, Karl Arnold, took a different tack with his expression of fears that European integration could lead to a “progressive mediatization of the Länder by the federal government and their transformation into pure administrative districts” because the—intrinsically desirable—vision of a federal European state did not include room for political decision-making at the Länder level.97 States such as Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia chose to participate actively in European policy-making to counteract such threats and protect their statehood.

As partly sovereign constituent states, the German states were able to build on their strong position in constitutional law that gave them both original state powers and rights to participate in federal policy-making. But such consciousness of their own statehood and a desire to influence European-level politics was not equally pronounced throughout Germany.

In Italy, too, there were great differences in how involved individual regions became in foreign and European policy. The northern regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, South Tyrol, and Trentino were especially prominent—the same regions that demonstrate a strong sense of their own distinctive identities in inner-Italian discourse.98 The southern regions seemed disinclined to exert influence on higher-level policy formation and focused their attention more narrowly on the areas of regional autonomy mapped out by the constitution.

The French regions were different again: they had been created solely to meet the needs of regionalized planification. As territorial authorities with purely administrative self-government rights regulated only by ordinary legislation, they encompassed areas that were only historically and culturally coherent to a limited extent. Historically, only Corsica, Brittany, Alsace, and Nord-pas-de-Calais had enjoyed a sense of regional awareness.99 And it was indeed mainly the Bretons, and to a lesser extent the Alsatians, who demanded places for their respective regions in the political fabric of the European Communities.100

The regions mentioned here pursued their objective of asserting the political relevance of the regions in Europe in three ways: by nudging political discourse in the direction of a “Europe of the regions,” by seeking to participate in decision-making at the European level, and by cooperating with other European regions over shared interests or challenges.

<34 id=”iii.-european-discourses-on-regionalism”>III. European discourses on regionalism

Federalism as the main design principle for a united Europe was a central component of the agenda of pro-European movements right from the outset, but it was often conceived of mainly in connection with the relationship of the European states to a desired European federation.101 The fact that a federal order would also need to include the states and regions at the subnational level was brought into the debate, especially in the Federal Republic of Germany, by politicians from Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia.102 Against a background of growing and strengthening regionalism in France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, a Europe-wide debate then began to gain momentum in the 1960s.103

The Swiss philosopher Denis de Rougemont104 coined the term “Europe of the regions” in 1962. He argued that nation-states ought to be abolished because they were simultaneously too big and too small to tackle the problems of the day:105 too small to defend themselves, prosper, and continue to play their former role in world politics, and yet also too big to enable their citizens to personally participate in public life in appropriate and effective ways. Rougemont argued that the larger tasks of the nation-states could be handled at the European level and the smaller tasks could be handed over to the regions.

While French international law expert Guy Héraud106 was pursuing a different agenda with his model of a “Europe of ethnic groups,” he arrived at much the same conclusion about the desirability of abolishing nation-states and favoring smaller regional units. As a scholar of international law, Héraud was primarily interested in the question of how to protect ethnic groups and minorities. He viewed the “(ethnic) nation” as the “natural community” and argued that many nation-states failed to provide this natural community with sufficient protection in cases where it was a minority community. This was the background to his conception of a European federation based on homogeneous ethnic regions that would end the oppression of minorities.107

Both thinkers influenced regionalists in France and the Alpine region,108 and their ideas also diffused into the Sardinian regionalism movement.109 The Council of Europe was likewise highly influential: its committees provided forums that gave regional authorities a voice at the European level and facilitated the development of “une véritable doctrine de la régionalisation.”110

The “Conference of Local Authorities of Europe” became the “Conference of Local and Regional Authorities” in 1975 and the “Committee on Municipal Affairs” set up by the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe later became the “Committee on Spatial Planning and Regional Authorities.”111 The European Conferences of Border Regions organized by the Council of Europe in the 1970s contributed significantly to the adoption of the Madrid Convention by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in 1975. This placed cross-border cooperation between subnational entities on a legitimate legal footing within an international legal framework for the first time. In 1966, the member states had blocked an earlier proposal that would have created such a framework agreement.112

The Council of Europe Conference held in 1978 from January 30 to February 1 in Bordeaux declared itself the “first meeting of the Europe of the regions.”113 By this point, at the very latest, de Rougemont’s concept had been integrated into the self-concept of the regions.

The idea of a “Europe of the Regions” was strongly advocated ahead of the Maastricht treaty in a conference series with that title. This process eventually led to the establishment of the Committee of the Regions and the incorporation of the principle of subsidiarity into the European treaties.114 Even today, “Europe of the regions” is a catchphrase used in contexts extending beyond politics; its recent invocation by Robert Menasse is a case in point.115

IV. Exploring opportunities for political participation

The creation of the Committee of the Regions marked a high point (and one that the regions had long been working towards) in the inclusion of subnational levels in European-level structures. Regions sought to be involved in decision-making processes both because the specific outcomes reached on particular issues affected their interests, given the interdependencies in specific areas outlined above, and because of the wider concerns of the Italian regions and the German states that they could gradually be “dispossessed”116 of their competences by what was perceived as the “regional blindness”117 of the European treaties.

The subnational territorial authorities in Germany and Italy could not participate in the European legislative process even when the issues being legislated fell wholly or partially within the competences they held under domestic arrangements. On the contrary: national governments were now able to influence decisions (via their participation in the Council of Ministers of the European Communities) in spheres for which they were not responsible under domestic arrangements. In Italy, the nation-state also laid claim to the task of implementing European standards even in those areas of policy for which the regions were responsible under domestic arrangements.118

The subnational levels adopted two tactics in their quest for greater influence: they used their clout in domestic decision-making processes to help shape the positions advanced by their respective national governments in the Council of Ministers, and they sought to bypass the national level altogether and influence European institutions directly.

Subnational authorities typically participate in domestic decision-making processes via a second parliamentary chamber. The Senates in Italy and France were, as described above, only suitable for this purpose to a limited degree. In addition, the national governments made it unmistakably clear that how they positioned themselves in the Council of Ministers was an “executive function” and “not at the disposal of any other body,” especially since European policy, as part of foreign policy, fell within the competence of the national executive.119

In the Federal Republic of Germany, the national government was initially only prepared to grant the Bundesrat and the states a weak right to be informed: from the initial EEC negotiations onward, there was an expectation that an observer representing the Länder within the German EC delegation and a Bundesrat special committee would satisfy the states’ need to be kept abreast of developments.120 But this gave the states practically no scope to actively exert influence. Agreement on participation was reached for the first time in 1979, after somewhat acrimonious negotiations, and a procedure for participation was instituted at that point, the Länderbeteiligungsverfahren. After it proved “almost entirely unsuccessful”121 in practice, the Länder pushed for and achieved more far-reaching and legally guaranteed rights during the ratification procedures for the Single European Act and the Maastricht treaty, and Germany’s Basic Law gained a new Article 23 in 1992 that reflected these changes.122

Developments in Italy unfolded in a broadly similar way. When the regions were first established, the parliamentary committee concerned with regional policy unsuccessfully called for the regions to participate in the decision-making process of the central government on matters of concern to the European Communities. Only after a fresh attempt to raise the issue did the regional presidents’ committee gain a weak right to be consulted by the central government in 1975. In this arrangement, the central government still held all the cards: if no consensus was reached, the central government was entitled to make decisions after consulting the parliamentary committee on regional policy.123

At the end of the 1980s, the regions won improvements to their right to be consulted in the context of the State–Regions Conference. The “La Pergola law” enacted in 1989 ensured both that Italy’s European policy had to be discussed regularly in the State–Regions Conference and that regional presidents acquired the right to participate in cabinet meetings discussing European legislation issues of direct relevance to them.124

The regions in France long remained completely cut off from the formulation of the country’s European policy.125 Only the traditional French approach to connecting different political levels, the cumul des mandats and the notables system, allowed certain opportunities to test their influence. One such opportunity arose during the period in which the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) was created: With Jacques Chaban-Delmas, the duc d’Aquitaine, as French prime minister from 1969 to 1972, the two Bretons Olivier Guichard and René Pleven as ministers, and Alsace-born Maurice Schumann126 as the foreign minister, important cabinet members were sensitive to regional policy issues. They placed no major obstacles in the path of the new proposals advanced by the European Commission to institute a common regional policy in the Council of Ministers of the European Communities after previous regional policy initiatives by the Commission had been shelved following resistance from various member states in the late 1960s.127

As the willingness of national governments to allow subnational bodies to participate in the formulation of national policy on Europe remained low in all three member states discussed here, the regions also sought from an early stage to bypass the nation-state entirely and engage with the European level directly.

This could rarely be achieved through formal channels, as there was no official regional representation at the European level. Participation of subnational representatives in national delegations to European Communities bodies remained the exception.128

Efforts to address this gap in representation were undertaken as early as 1950/51 with the founding of the Council of European Municipalities, mainly on the initiative of French and Italian local-level politicians including the mayor of Bordeaux Jacques Chaban-Delmas.129 With this step, the founders took up municipal association models that were familiar to them from their own national contexts and extended them further. The Association des Présidents de Conseils Généraux had, for example, been the most important advocacy group representing French local authorities since 1946.130

The role of unofficial channels for fostering direct contact was considerably more important. In Germany, the Bavarian Minister of State for Federal Affairs, Franz Heubl, spun a web of close ties linking the Bavarian state to the European Commission. Bavarian politicians used “informative visits”—in both directions—to draw attention to specific Bavarian needs in areas like agricultural and structural policy among those responsible for these areas at the European level.131 Especially early on, when the federal government was still trying to prevent contacts, Franz Heubl benefited from his close personal relationship with Walter Hallstein, the first president of the European Commission.132

To a lesser degree, North Rhine-Westphalia also had direct contacts with Europe in the 1950s, and Hamburg, too, made its mark with its own distinctive foreign policy.133 A similar strategy has been documented for Italian regions, albeit not yet to the same extent. In 1975, the regional government of Sicily invited George Thomson, the European commissioner with responsibility for regional policy, to visit that region, but this was an invitation extended jointly with the national government. In 1976, delegations from Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont traveled to Brussels for the first time and met with representatives of the Commission and the Parliament there.134

In the Federal Republic of Germany, a special situation existed insofar as the CSU, a political party active only within Bavaria and politically dominant there, supported the German government coalition for long periods as part of the CDU/CSU Christian Democrat alliance while also being present in the European Parliament with its own deputies.

Due to its role in the federal government, the CSU succeeded in ensuring that Hans von der Groeben remained a member of the European Commission for another term in 1966.135 As the party of Hans August Lücker, who chaired the Christian Democrat grouping in the European Parliament from 1969 to 1975, the CSU was even able to play an important role in the establishment of the European People’s Party.136 In France and Italy, by contrast, regional parties (with the sole exception of the South Tyrolean People’s Party, SVP) played only minor roles during the period discussed here.137

In France, as in Germany and Italy, the regions did not allow the national government to hedge them in entirely, although the French government “militantly favored their exclusion”138 and stressed more emphatically than any other national government its exclusive prerogative to represent the country externally. The Breton pressure group CELIB adapted the domestic strategy it had used to lobby the French government to consider the region’s needs more fully in national structural policy and transferred it to the European level.139

As a legally independent association, CELIB was not subject to state supervision and had more leeway to act as it saw fit than the regional administrative agencies. It was able, for instance, to organize a fact-finding tour of Brittany for members of the European Parliament and Commission officials as early as June 1966. In 1974, CELIB representatives met with European Commission president François-Xavier Ortoli and regional policy commissioner George Thomson and achieved the establishment of an advisory body at the Commission with representatives from European regions and local authorities.140

Although the French national government explicitly banned direct contacts between subnational and European institutions in 1983, CELIB succeeded in being included in the European Commission’s OID program (”Opérations intégrées de développement”) in 1985 in spite of opposition from DATAR, the national spatial planning agency. The Breton network managed to present its outline program directly to the Commission, circumventing national bodies, during a brief window of opportunity characterized by both a phase of experimentation in EC structural policy and a positive buzz around decentralization in France.141

However, the regional office Brittany maintained in Brussels from the late 1980s onwards was largely ineffective because it was under-resourced and hampered by resistance from the central government.142 The constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany also started opening their own representations in Brussels around this time, but their work and its effectiveness has not yet been examined in depth. The Italian regions were not allowed to set up representations of their own until 1996, and even then only on a limited scale.143

While Brittany’s direct connections to the European level came about through the CELIB network, Alsace was able to exploit the position of the city of Strasbourg as the seat of both the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. Representatives of the city and the Département Bas-Rhin invoked Strasbourg’s vocation européenne when staking their claims to participate in European discourse.

This is particularly evident in the context of the Treaty of Rome: the members of the city and département councils met in the Prefecture of Bas-Rhin on October 19, 1957, unanimously expressed support for “all the efforts undertaken to unite the free peoples of Europe,” and called to “reunite all the European institutions in Strasbourg.”144 This resolution was then dispatched not only to the French Foreign Minister Christian Pineau, but also—with scant regard for official protocol or the division of powers in France—directly to Walter Hallstein, the designated president of the European Commission, and to the chairperson of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.145

The unofficial Rassemblement Européen referendum on the establishment of a “United States of Europe” presents an even clearer example: fifty-four local authorities in Alsace made their town halls available as polling stations for an unofficial referendum on setting up a “United States of Europe” and the simulated parallel elections to a “Congress of the European People” held on November 24, 1957.146

For decades, the Alsace region also had a personified bridge to European institutions in the form of Pierre Pflimlin. As mayor of Strasbourg for many years and president both of the general council of Bas-Rhin and of the regional economic development commission (CODER), Pflimlin was the leading politician in Alsace. At the same time, through the cumul des mandats, he served not only as a national parliamentarian and minister in France, but also as a member of the Assembly of the Council of Europe and of the European Parliament and even as president of the latter from 1984 to 1987.147

The subnational bodies also sometimes intervened on substantive policy issues at the European level. During the discussion of the Mansholt Plan for the reform of European agriculture, the Italian section of the Council of European Municipalities adopted a position in favor of the plan in May 1969. Nevertheless, the Regional Council of Trentino-South Tyrol, where agriculture was practiced on a small scale and the Mansholt Plan was seen as a threat to traditional structures, simultaneously adopted a resolution clearly rejecting the plan.148

European multilevel governance also found its early expression in Italy and France in similar episodes and phenomena. It can be registered that the regions worked to “‘upload’ the norms of their own member states”149—in other words, that they reached for models already known from the domestic context and sought to apply them to their efforts to shape European institutions and processes: informal contacts through visiting delegations in all regions, somewhat more formal mechanisms of participation in Italy and the Federal Republic of Germany, personal or party networks in Germany and France, and lobbying by umbrella organizations and pressure groups in France and Italy.

V. Visibility through cooperation

The regions contributed to the emergence of a European multilevel system not only by seeking to participate in decision-making processes at the European level but also by working together with other regions that faced similar challenges or had similar interests and finding ways to represent such shared interests collectively. Municipalities along the border between the Netherlands and the German Länder North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony banded together as early as 1958 to form the Euregio association.150 The Association of European Border Regions emerged out of similar efforts in 1971.151

In 1971/72, a Bavarian and Tyrolean initiative led to the foundation of the Association of Alpine States (Arge Alp, short for “Arbeitsgemeinschaft Alpenländer”), a loose cooperation initially between the heads of government in the states, regions, and autonomous provinces of Bavaria, Graubünden, Lombardy, Salzburg, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, and Bolzano-South Tyrol. The regions aimed to jointly address issues in the areas of infrastructure, spatial planning, agriculture, environmental protection, and culture that did not stop at national borders but were relevant for the Alpine region as a whole.

The heads of the regional governments worked to reach joint resolutions in this loosely structured working group without involving the committees in their respective regional assemblies. They then communicated these results as recommendations to the respective national agencies and also, for informational purposes, to European institutions.

Arge Alp consciously envisaged itself as an “experimental European regional model” and anticipated that such regional working groups across the entire Alpine arch could become the nuclei of a “Europe of the regions.”152 Other working groups did indeed follow: the Alps-Adriatic Working Community in 1978, the Working Community of the Western Alps (COTRAO) linking French, Italian, and Swiss regions in 1982, the Working Community of the Pyrenees (CTP) with regions from France, Spain, and Andorra in 1983, and the Working Community of the Jura (CTJ) with French and Swiss regions in 1985.153

With conspicuously similar timing to the founding of Arge Alp, CELIB convened a Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR) in 1973. Representatives of twenty-three regions from nine states, ranging from Scotland to Sicily, came together to represent their interests vis-à-vis European institutions jointly.154

The conference had a “caractère semi-privé” but was “sous le patronage” of French spatial planning minister Olivier Guichard.155 The support of this top Breton politician did not suffice to deter the Minister of the Interior from instructing the regional prefects to ensure that the conference was on no account funded from the budgets of participating regions. Jacques Chaban-Delmas stepped in with funds from the city of Bordeaux and the Italian region of Sardinia contributed, as well, and the tide turned when the French government changed in 1977, and the new Minister of the Interior was the Breton Christian Bonnet, who promptly lifted the ban.156

Regional organizations like Arge Alp, the CPMR, and the numerous Euregios were brought together by, as it were, “natural” interests they shared due to a common border area or a similar (peripheral) geographical location.157 Other bilateral or multilateral alliances were created to institute formal links between regions that were not neighbors but nevertheless wished to cooperate more closely. A partnership agreement building on earlier bilateral ties was, for instance, concluded in 1988 between the German state of Baden-Württemberg, the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia, the Italian region of Lombardy, and the French region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. As the “Four Motors for Europe,” these regions aimed to cooperate especially in the areas of business, technology, and research.158 The idea was not to create a new spatial unit, but to advocate for shared socioeconomic interests at the European level and exploit synergies between the regions.159

As these various kinds of cooperation between regions progressed, a Europeanization of the regions was simultaneously taking place: as countries and regions engaged in political exchanges, developed joint strategies, and competed for the best solutions, they began to site themselves in broader comparative political and economic frameworks. While regions had always had their immediate neighbors in their own nation-states as jumping-off points for comparisons, other European regions facing similar challenges now started coming into view as possible points of reference:

One concern of the European Wine Regions Conference (CERV) founded in 1988 at the instigation of Edgar Faure, Jacques Chaban-Delmas, and the Council of Europe director Gérard Baloup was jointly representing the interests of wine regions to the European Commission, which was responsible for regulating the wine market in the context of the common agricultural policy. But the increase in political cooperation between the regions inevitably also led to individual regions becoming more aware of their own market position and their own special interests. At times, competitive wrangling for the best solutions also came into play (in the working group on training winegrowers, for example).160

The interregional cooperation that broke new ground and spawned a growing number of organizations in the 1970s was a significant component in European regions becoming increasingly vocal and visible in the 1980s and thereby gaining greater political heft.161 In France and Italy, especially, the rise of regional units gave rise to a new and increasingly self-confident “première génération d’exécutifs régionaux.”162 Joint umbrella organizations such as the Liaison Office of European Regional Organisations (BLORE) developed into important pressure groups linking the regional and European levels; BLORE was founded in 1979 and evolved into the newly established Council of European Regions in 1985 that was known as the Assembly of European Regions from 1987 onward.163

VI. The openness of European institutions

In addition to the regions being interested in participating at the European level, the European institutions also had motives of their own for fostering their ties with the regions.

The European Commission organized a Conference on Regional Economies as early as 1961 that left some participants unable to “avoid gaining the impression that regionalism was being encouraged here by the Commission.”164 In its proposal for the First Medium-Term Economic Policy Programme, the Commission expressly envisaged consultation with the regions affected by regional policy measures. The member states unequivocally rejected this proposal in 1966, however, and stressed that they and they alone were the Commission’s dialogue partners as defined in the treaties.165

The Commission nevertheless continued to purposefully pursue the establishment of a European regional policy166 and to maintain contacts with subnational territorial authorities. Regional Policy Commissioner Albert Borschette justified this in a lecture given in Munich as follows: “To fulfill its political mandate, the Commission not only needs constant dialogue with the governments of the member states. It also needs direct contact with the governments of the Länder and the authorities in the regions.”167 Formal justification for this logic was available in the form of Article 213 of the Treaty of Rome, which stipulated that the Commission could “collect any information and carry out any checks required for the performance of the tasks entrusted to it.”

The Commission’s self-image as a motor driving European integration and seeking to promote progressive unification at all levels was probably a contributory factor in this policy. What was just as significant, however, was that having open lines of communication with the regions improved the Commission’s negotiating position vis-à-vis the Council, in which decisions were made by representatives of member state governments, since the Commission was able to draw on informed insights into the progress of domestic discussions and into possible differences of opinion at the domestic level to poke holes in monolithic arguments put forward by member states. The German Federal Ministry of Economics indignantly registered as early as 1964 that the Länder were “tripping up” of the federal government when the Commission raised repeated objections based on information it could only have gained from Länder sources.168

European regions encountered especially fair winds in the 1970s. While Walter Hallstein, the Commission’s first president, had already sought contact with the regions, an entire series of people well-disposed towards the regions held posts in the Commission during this decade of supposed “eurosclerosis”: Industrial Affairs Commissioner Altiero Spinelli was a passionate federalist. Regional commissioner George Thomson, a Scot, recommended that his homeland take its cue from Bavaria and establish its own contacts with Brussels.169 In 1974, Thomson and Commission president François-Xavier Ortoli—himself a Corsican!—met with CELIB representatives and agreed to set up an advisory body at the Commission with representatives from European regions and local authorities.170

The Bavarian commissioner Peter M. Schmidhuber also gave decisive support to the regions-friendly establishment of a Consultative Council of Regional and Local Authorities in 1988, the predecessor of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR). This was a body for which the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) had long been campaigning.171

While the European Commission sought to give the regions access to the European level through regional policy as a policy field in which it had gained increasing competences, the Council of Europe granted the regions their own place in its structures. Since the 1950s, the Council of Europe had been attempting to involve local and regional authorities in its work and to provide them with a political forum so that European unification could grow from below as well as being fostered by national governments.172

At the urging of the Council of European Municipalities, the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe set up its own municipal affairs committee as early as 1952. In 1955, it decided to convene an annual conference of local authorities. This European Conference of Local Authorities met for the first time in 1957 and was officially set up by the Committee of Ministers in 1961 as an advisory body tasked with advising the Council of Europe on municipal issues and keeping European municipalities abreast of European issues.173

In 1965, the Council of Europe politicians Fernand Dehousse, Nicola Signorello, and Willi Birkelbach took this initiative further again with their call for a European Senate with regional and national representatives to be established within the EEC to foster democratized European regional policy.174 Until then, the European Conference of Local Authorities had also dealt with the problems of peripheral, disadvantaged, or border regions as a kind of proxy.175 But in 1975, the formal remit of the Conference of Local Authorities was expanded (at its own request) by the Committee of Ministers to include representation of the regions; by this point, the Council of Europe conferences on European peripheral and border regions (Brest 1970, Strasbourg 1972, Innsbruck and Galway 1975) had left an impression.

The establishment of the new Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe sought to give a voice to the regions and to promote closer ties between the Council of Europe and the European Communities.176 This represented a “milestone in the development of international law, and specifically European law, as it gave regions within states a firm place—however modest—in European-level institutions for the first time.”177

The nation-states (or rather their governments) dragged their feet and obstructed all these developments. They were reluctant to cede or unnecessarily weaken their position as gatekeepers between European and national politics. From their point of view, organizing negotiations with Europe as a “two-level game”178 where they faced the Commission alone in the Council of Ministers was a logical goal. Attempts by national governments to prevent subnational bodies from engaging in contacts with European institutions are known from all member states.

In Germany, preventing Bavarian delegations from making regular informational visits to Brussels proved impossible. In Italy, the prohibition of official contacts between the regions and the European level (a ban that also encompassed informal contacts until 1980) was “undoubtedly among the least heeded” rules179—just as the promise extracted from the European Commission by the French government in 1993 that the Commission would respect the internal distribution of powers in France and refrain from fostering regional autonomy also scarcely had practical consequences.180

But for all their resistance, it was often the nation-states themselves that made decisions that—often unintentionally—advanced the development of a European multilevel system. By creating the regions and furnishing them with certain competences that were at least partially encroached on by European competences, the French and Italian governments created a degree of interdependence with the European level that made mutual contact inevitable. At the European level, too, the nation-states made decisions that strengthened the hand of the regions. At a 1972 Paris summit, the long-standing efforts of the Commission to finally establish European regional policy as a distinct policy area in its own right finally paid off when government leaders recognized that regional policy was necessary for a stronger Community and decided that a European regional development fund could be established.

While the reasons underlying this decision were mainly political and tactical—the idea was to smooth the path of the United Kingdom to becoming a member state181—the momentum it created was unstoppable and the nation-states soon had to live with the consequences: once the Commission had powers of its own in the area of regional policy and funding to disburse, the European and subnational levels automatically moved closer together because they had more common ground on substantive policy issues.

In the Council of Europe, too, the Consultative Assembly initially pushed to have local and regional bodies more involved in the Council’s mandate and then decided to establish a Municipal Committee and convene the Conference of Local Authorities of Europe. The Conference formulated “une véritable doctrine de la régionalisation” on its own initiative182 but its formal recognition as a consultative body of the Council of Europe was effected by the representatives of national governments in the Committee of Ministers in 1961. The Council’s mandate was subsequently extended to encompass the representation of the regions in 1975.183 The Committee of Ministers also decided to establish a European convention on cross-border cooperation between territorial authorities in 1975—after avoiding a decision for the best part of a decade.184 While the nation-states made numerous protocol declarations geared to undermining the effectiveness of the new convention, an international law framework giving legitimacy to cooperation across borders between subnational units now existed and went on to develop dynamics of its own that were beyond the control of nation-states.

VII. An opportunity for regions outside the European Community

The various interregional cooperation formats and the regional policy of the Council of Europe not only made the regions increasingly visible at the European level but also enabled certain stakeholders to participate in a limited way in the process of European integration despite their apparent status as merely external stakeholders due to their nation-states not being EC members. Austrian federal states and Swiss cantons were members of Arge Alp, for example, and representatives of Norwegian regions played a role in European politics in the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions and the Council of Europe.

The activities of the Austrian federal states and Swiss cantons have already been investigated in considerable depth.185 One reason why Tyrol, together with Bavaria, took the initiative to set up Arge Alp was its hope of canvassing broad support for joint transport plans, especially a planned Ulm–Milan expressway.186 Tyrolean politicians also had the European Conference of Local Authorities pass a resolution favoring a new Ulm–Milan link in 1972.187

Tyrol benefited from having two top contacts in the Council of Europe bodies concerned with local and regional policy: Alois Lugger was president of the state parliament in Tyrol and also the president or vice president of the Conference of Local Authorities for many years, and Alois Larcher had been the secretary of the Special Committee on Municipal Affairs set up by the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe (later the Committee on Spatial Planning and Regional Affairs) since 1967.188

Although Austria’s obligation to remain neutral prevented it from joining the European Community, so that it was only able to make representations from an external perspective, Tyrol nevertheless succeeded in feeding its political concerns on substantive issues directly into the Community process through the back door of European regional policy: all decisions reached by Arge Alp were forwarded to the Commission, the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Policy, and the Council of Ministers,189 and the regional organization definitely attracted attention: the European Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial Planning described it as the “most effective example of regional cooperation in Europe” at their 1976 conference in Bari.190 The fact that the Ulm–Milan link was not ultimately realized was due more to a change in Tyrolean political priorities than to a lack of support from European institutions: Tyrol’s governor Eduard Wallnöfer had long based his policy on the premise that “traffic over the passes … was an existential question for Tyrol”191 but pivoted away from the project later in the 1970s as the burdens placed on Tyrol by road freight transport became ever more obvious.192

The European Conference of Local and Regional Authorities was not expected to confine itself to advising the Council of Europe; it was expressly conceived of as a regional policy link to the European Community following the extension of its mandate to include the representation of the regions in 1975. It approached this task confidently and sought contact with leading European Community politicians: even prior to the official extension of its mandate, the members in attendance at its 1974 meeting were able to engage in debate on regional and environmental policy in the European Community and on the progress of European integration with George Thomson (the European commissioner responsible for regional policy), Cornelis Berkhouwer (the president of the European Parliament), James Hill (the chair of the European Parliament Committee on Regional Policy and Transport), and Michel Carpentier (the director of the Environment Sub-Division in the Directorate-General for Industry).193 There were also five Norwegian delegates in the plenum—on this occasion, they were delegates from a national umbrella organization, the Norwegian Association of Municipalities, but Norwegian participation often also arose at the regional level.

In principle, Norway had been organized as a decentralized unitary state with similarities to France since the adoption of its 1814 constitution.194 But the fylke (county) had been an established unit of regional administration since the Middle Ages. These counties emerged from petty kingdoms that existed before the consolidation of the kingdom of Norway, and they were gradually transformed into an administrative instrument of the king with royally appointed bailiffs (the fylkesmenn).  The Local Government Acts of 1837 established local self-government for villages and larger municipalities and saw the establishment of the fylkeskommune as a political unit. The fylkesmann was now not only the representative of the state in the fylke, but also head of the fylkeskommune. And the fylkesting was instituted as a political representative body consisting of the mayors of the rural municipalities within a county.

These county administrations were initially only entrusted with a handful of tasks above the local level that related to schools, health care, and transport infrastructure. Only during a series of reforms in the 1960s and 1970s were they expanded into a significant level of self-government: in 1964, the cities were integrated into the counties and the political and administrative levels were separated with the creation of the new role of fylkesordfører (county mayor) as the elected chairperson of the fylkesting. The county authorities were given responsibility for planning and operating secondary schools and hospitals in several steps and also gained new competences in transport, environmental protection, and culture. They were involved, too, in preparing and delivering regional development plans. The switch to a directly elected fylkesting in 1975, the transfer of responsibility for administrative management from the fylkesmann to the fylkesordfører in 1976, and the introduction of a separate county tax in 1977 finally turned the fylkeskommune into a fully-fledged unit of regional self-government.195

The course of developments in Norway was thus markedly similar to the French experience—and in Norway, too, regions soon found themselves looking for opportunities to exchange ideas and cooperate with other regions. The Norwegian delegation to the European Conference of Local and Regional Authorities in 1974 included Leo Tallaksen, fylkesordfører of Vest-Agder, Sigurd Østlien, fylkesordfører of Oppland, and Sverre Krogh, fylkesvaraordfører (the deputy county mayor) of Akershus. As the head of the Norwegian Association of Local Authorities, Kjell T. Evers,196 was president of the Conference from 1970 to 1972 and subsequently its vice president from 1972 to 1976, he clearly had some influence on the Conference’s position statements as they related to, for example, environmental and regional policy in Europe.197

The Conference was, admittedly, neither as prestigious nor as visibly in the public eye as the European Parliament. But national ministers and representatives of European Community institutions were present in the plenary sittings and responded to the issues raised in debate just as they did in the parliament. Norwegian, Austrian, and Swiss delegates were thus also able to play a modest role in the political decision-making process of the European Community and to feed their positions into its deliberations.

Norwegian regional politicians also participated in the founding of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) in 1973. Like Arge Alp, the CPMR aimed to influence European Community institutions by representing the interests of regions facing similar challenges. Representatives from Northern Norway were among the twenty-three regional delegations at a conference initiated by CELIB that took place June 21–23, 1973, in Saint-Malo, Brittany.

The fylkes Nordland, Troms, and Finnmark in the northernmost part of Norway were linked by a shared sense of history and culture and created a joint coordination committee (as also happened in other parts of the country) to exchange information on a fairly informal basis.198 As Norway’s most peripheral coastal region, they had the opportunity to introduce their positions on the “exploitation des océans et aménagement du littoral” in the final resolution reached in Saint-Malo.199 Only six months earlier, it had been these same fylkes that most emphatically rejected Norwegian accession to the European Community in the 1972 referendum—with more than 75 percent voting in opposition. Concerns over the possible imposition of restrictions on Norwegian fisheries were one central reason for rejecting accession. In the CPMR, these same counties found allies who were just as open to exploiting European seas.200 Cooperation with European regions on a sectoral basis to articulate specific Norwegian interests appears to be seen as unproblematic and desirable by Norwegian regions right up to the present day.201 The CPMR provided such an opportunity. From the early 1990s onward, many other Norwegian fylkes also opted to open regional offices and to present themselves to the EU as international stakeholders.202

Multilevel governance as a stimulus for historiography

As with so many seemingly new methods, stimuli, or turns, the analytical agenda of the multilevel governance concept is not entirely unprecedented in historical scholarship. Historians have long recognized that power is always exercised within some form of territorial or functional hierarchy and that the roles and involvement of intermediary instances must be considered to round out the overall picture.203 Regional history can, nevertheless, tap into “significant potential” opened up by “the reception of the discussion of multilevel governance in political science.”204

The first point to be made here is that the multilevel approach may simply make historians generally more sensitive to the role of intermediary actors. Even in the absence of any further methodological or theoretical reflection, historians can reach a greater awareness of the significance of the different levels simply by perceiving them and by perceiving the limitations their sheer existence imposes on the knowledge that can be gained—for example, because access to sources is limited or research needs to be confined to certain levels for pragmatic reasons.205

For historians working at the level of regions and states within states, considering the levels “above” has always been a standard part of their practice, since they deal with spaces that are “always integrated into overarching structures and processes that force local and regional actors to position themselves and also influence conditions on the ground.”206 The entangled structures linking states with larger units within empires or federations have often been investigated,207 and the European dimensions of regional history are increasingly also being investigated either as an independent topic or in connection with other topics.208

But even regional historians rarely look at the “lower” levels. This article, too, has mentioned départements, provinces, and local authorities only in passing and has confined itself mainly to the first subnational level, states and regions, to bring European multilevel governance into a sharper focus. This first subnational level, however, also depends on the levels below for the implementation of its policies and many structures reach “downward”: politicians at the regional or state level are always also advocates for their own constituencies, they are often members of municipal committees, and they depend on the backing of local chapters of their political parties. Numerous district council heads and city mayors were simultaneously members of the state parliament in Bavaria until the 1970 Legal Status Act came into force, and municipal umbrella organizations have a weighty say in negotiations over the distribution of funding. To date, only a handful of studies have investigated the workings of multilevel governance within an individual state.209

The second point that presents itself is that a history of European integration that takes the multilevel concept into account can show “that the history of the continent is far more diverse and complex than the older fixation on nation-states” might suggest.210 New light is shed on the history of European integration: as the examples above show, the process was not only shaped by nation-states. However limited the opportunities open to them were, regional actors also searched for their own niches and participated in the integration process.

Going beyond this, interregional alliances such as Arge Alp or the CPMR and the Conference of Local Authorities of the Council of Europe gave regional stakeholders opportunities to introduce positions into the decision-making processes of the European Communities—even regional stakeholders from countries like Norway or Austria that were not actually member states. This adds nuance to the overly simple narrative suggesting that an “inner six” EEC states worked towards integration without the participation of the “outer seven” states that were in the EFTA but not the EEC.211

At the same time, a more complex and nuanced picture of the regional dimension of European history as a whole also appears. While it is true that historians working on regional and state-level topics have uncovered many facets of this dimension, their findings have often been confined to the specific regions under investigation. Only by making comparisons with other specific regions that had already been studied, or that could be incorporated into one’s own investigation, has it been possible to arrive at conclusions that are generalizable to some degree.

Understanding European history after the Second World War as the history of a multilevel governance system, on the other hand, can “look beyond individual regions” and pave the way for the more “systematic access to the regional dimension as a characteristic of European history” that Ferdinand Kramer has advocated.212 Furthermore, a consciousness of the different levels—including the nation-state level—helps to keep scholars from lapsing into “a master narrative of a ‘Europe of the regions’ that is oriented teleologically towards the present.”213

As well as paying little attention to the subregional levels, this article has deliberately confined itself to Europe after the Second World War. Some contributors have sought to extend the utility of the concept of multilevel governance beyond contemporary history. Jana Osterkamp perceives “a structural similarity to modern federal orders such as the European Union” in the Habsburg Monarchy with its simultaneously coexistent “clearly vertical” structures of rule and “both institutional and personal mechanisms of horizontal interconnection.”214 Going beyond this, Udo Schäfer and Georg Schmidt see a parallel to modern European multilevel governance in the complementary statehood of the Old Reich.215 Although Karl Härter rejects such an “ahistorical comparison,” he himself also speaks at least of the “legal multilevel system of the empire.”216 Scattered works also use the term without further theoretical reflection or substantive definitions to describe the Holy Roman Empire during the High Middle Ages, or, for later periods, the empires under the British Crown and German Kaiser.217

Applying concepts from the time of “open nation-states”218 to the earlier era of pre-national regimes can refine the view offered by some analogies: if one “puts three floors into the ornate edifice of the empire” as Axel Gotthard suggests, one undoubtedly arrives at “an initial approximation” of the basic structure of the Old Reich.219 Evaluations can also shift: drawing a parallel between the “complementary statehood of the Old Reich” and modern EC/EU multilevel governance clears the former “from the accusation, plausible only from the perspective of the nation-state, that it only caused German fragmentation.”220

But the “risk of transferring modern concepts to the Middle Ages” is fraught, not only when the modern concepts belong to such traditional categories as “state” or “constitution,”221 but also when terms of modern governance are involved: one basis of the multilevel governance concept is the high number of interdependent tasks that make it necessary to interweave political processes across several levels. Acquiring the enormous range of varied tasks accomplished by modern states and the implementation resources reaching right down to the local level that worked in favor of such policy entanglement and made it inevitable in certain spheres of policy was a long and protracted process for central governments.222 In medieval or early modern regimes, these interdependent tasks seem to have existed only to a very limited extent. Even in the Old Reich, the target of most attempts to apply the concept, components of multilevel governance were present,223 but the influence of subsidiarity224 was much stronger, and the frequently fuzzy nature of responsibility for decision-making ensured that the greatest possible degree of autonomy was accorded to individual elements in the system. Using the concept of multilevel governance merely to illustrate a territorial stratification of rule or the polycentric coexistence of (partially) autonomous units225 would, however, quickly rob the concept of its heuristic utility.

Seeing states and regions as part of a national and supranational multilevel system does not only foster greater attunement towards the importance of intermediary actors and the regional dimension of European history; it can, and this is my third point, also help to avoid regional history becoming excessively obsessed with “its own” state or region.

Ludwig Petry’s oft repeated catchphrase that regional history works “boundlessly within boundaries”226 sometimes all too easily favors a reductive methodological focus on the region as an “autonomous spatial unit” with a “kind of quasi-personal identity.”227 But working with such an administratively defined and unquestioned “container space”228 limits the scope of the discoveries that can be made. Choosing instead to consider a “network of manifold external interdependencies” in which “all historical landscapes” are politically, economically, and culturally integrated can, as Alois Schmid puts it, become the “cornerstone of a comprehensive view of historical reality.”229

The concept of multilevel governance makes “the” state or “the” region into an element in a larger interdependent system in which various governmental and non-governmental stakeholders cooperate or compete, at times in hierarchies and at times in networks.230 Networks reaching up, down, or out thus become constitutive parts of regional or state-level history even as the territorial reality of subnational territorial authorities and constituent states is also acknowledged. This can undoubtedly be a powerful stimulus for history at the subnational level.


  • Examples for Bavaria: Stephan Deutinger, “Europa in Bayern? Der Freistaat und die Planungen von CERN zu einem Forschungszentrum im Ebersberger Forst bei München 1962–1967,” in Ivo Schneider, Helmuth Trischler, and Ulrich Wengenroth (eds.), Oszillationen. Naturwissenschaftler und Ingenieure zwischen Forschung und Markt, Munich 2000, 297–324; Stefan Grüner, Geplantes “Wirtschaftswunder”? Industrie- und Strukturpolitik in Bayern 1945 bis 1973, Munich 2009; Thomas Jehle, Die auswärtige Kulturpolitik des Freistaats Bayern 1945–1978, Munich 2016; Raphael Gerhardt, Agrarmodernisierung und europäische Integration. Das bayerische Landwirtschaftsministerium als politischer Akteur 1945–1975, Munich 2019; Rudolf Himpsl, Europäische Integration und internationalisierte Märkte: Die Außenwirtschaftspolitik des Freistaats Bayern 1957–1982, Munich 2019.↩︎

  • Dietmar Petzina, “Krise und Aufbruch: Wirtschaft und Staat im Jahrzehnt der Reformen 1965–1975,” in Stefan Goch (ed.), Strukturwandel und Strukturpolitik in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Münster 2004, 105–135, here 116.↩︎

  • Guido Thiemeyer, “Stepchildren of Integration: The West German Länder and the Emergence of the European System of Multilevel Governance from 1950 to 1985,” in German Yearbook of Contemporary History 4 (2019), 105–132; Eve Hepburn, Using Europe. Territorial Party Strategies in a multi-level System, Manchester 2010.↩︎

  • The German parliamentarian Hermann Kopf, a Christian Democrat with expertise in European policy, remarked as early as 1952 that the German Basic Law—and Article 24, specifically—provided for a “triple-level state structure” with the Länder, the Federal Republic, and the “future ... international level” (at a meeting of the Bundestag Legal Affairs Committee on October 20, 1952). Cited from Hermann Schmitz-Wenzel, Die deutschen Länder und ihre Stellung im Europäischen Einigungsprozess. Ein Beitrag zur Wahrnehmung der internationalen Beziehungen im Bundesstaat, Bonn 1969, 174 f.↩︎

  • For an overview of this research, see Arthur Benz, Politik in Mehrebenensystemen, Wiesbaden 2009, 66–70, and Arthur Benz, “Multilevel Governance – Governance in Mehrebenensystemen,” in Arthur Benz and Nicolai Dose (eds.), Governance – Regieren in komplexen Regelsystemen. Eine Einführung, 2nd updated ed., Wiesbaden 2010, 111–135, here 112–116.↩︎

  • Liesbet Hooghe (ed.), Cohesion Policy and European Integration: Building Multi-Level Governance, Oxford 1996. Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks, Multi-Level Governance and European Integration, Lanham 2001.↩︎

  • Gary Marks, “Politikmuster und Einflusslogik in der Strukturpolitik,” in Markus Jachtenfuchs and Beate Kohler-Koch (eds.), Europäische Integration, Opladen 1996, 313–344, here 339.↩︎

  • Eckart Kehr, Der Primat der Innenpolitik. Gesammelte Aufsätze zur preußisch-deutschen Sozialgeschichte im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, ed. and with an introduction by Hans-Ulrich Wehler, with a preface by Hans Herzfeld, Berlin 1965; on the debate, see Eckart Conze, “Zwischen Staatenwelt und Gesellschaftswelt. Die gesellschaftliche Dimension in der internationalen Geschichte,” in Wilfried Loth and Jürgen Osterhammel (eds.), Internationale Geschichte. Themen – Ergebnisse – Aussichten, Munich 2000, 117–140, here 121–123; Robert Meyer, Europa zwischen Land und Meer. Geopolitisches Denken und geopolitische Europamodelle nach der “Raumrevolution,” Bonn 2014, 121–123.↩︎

  • Cornelia Föhn, Der Ausschuss der Regionen – Interessenvertretung der Regionen Europas. Eine Darstellung unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der deutschen Bundesländer, Munich 2003; Sabine Saurugger, Theoretical Approaches to European Integration, Basingstoke 2014, 102–122. Katrin Auel, Regionalisiertes Europa – Demokratisches Europa? Eine Untersuchung am Beispiel der europäischen Strukturpolitik, Baden-Baden 2003; Ian Bache, Europeanization and Multilevel Governance: Cohesion Policy in the European Union and in Britain, Lanham 2008; Ingeborg Tömmel, Staatliche Regulierung und europäische Integration. Die Regionalpolitik der EG und ihre Implementation in Italien, Baden-Baden 1994.↩︎

  • Thiemeyer, “Stiefkinder,” 362.↩︎

  • Barbara Burkhardt-Reich, Agrarverbände in der EG: Das agrarpolitische Entscheidungsgefüge in Brüssel und in den EG-Mitgliedstaaten unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Euro-Verbandes COPA und seiner nationalen Mitgliedsverbände, Kehl 1983, 385. See also: Rudolf Hrbek and Wolfgang Wessels, “Nationale Interessen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Integrationsprozess,” in Rudolf Hrbek and Wolfgang Wessels (eds.), EG-Mitgliedschaft: ein vitales Interesse der Bundesrepublik Deutschland? Bonn 1984, 29–69, here 34, 60. Both works build on the model of the European Community advanced by Donald J. Puchala that sees “an international system of states” in which “states are the fundamental units” and “their governments the main actors” even as the Community is also “an action system spanning multiple levels: the subnational level, i.e., regional units, as well as the national level of the member states, ...; and additionally the transnational and supranational levels.” (Hrbek and Wessels, Interessen, 34.)↩︎

  • Kai Oppermann, Prinzipale und Agenten in Zwei-Ebenen-Spielen: Die innerstaatlichen Restriktionen der Europapolitik Großbritanniens unter Tony Blair, Wiesbaden 2008, 24. See also, Andreas Wilhelm, Außenpolitik: Grundlagen, Strukturen und Prozesse, Munich 2006, 226–230.↩︎

  • Benz, “Multilevel Governance”, 111 f.↩︎

  • Michael Zürn, Regieren jenseits des Nationalstaats, Frankfurt am Main 1998, 17–20.↩︎

  • Benz, Politik in Mehrebenensystemen, 82.↩︎

  • For more on the origins of the concept, see Fritz W. Scharpf et al. (eds.), Politikverflechtung: Theorie und Empirie des kooperativen Föderalismus in der Bundesrepublik, Kronberg 1976. For a current account, see Sabine Kropp, Kooperativer Föderalismus und Politikverflechtung, Wiesbaden 2010.↩︎

  • Renate Mayntz, “Governance im modernen Staat,” in Benz and Dose, Governance, 37–48, here 40.↩︎

  • Peter Unruh, Der Verfassungsbegriff des Grundgesetzes. Eine verfassungstheoretische Rekonstruktion, Tübingen 2002, 565.↩︎

  • Wolfgang Graf Vitzthum, “Die Bedeutung gliedstaatlichen Verfassungsrecht in der Gegenwart,” Veröffentlichungen der Vereinigung der Deutschen Staatsrechtslehrer 46 (1988): 7–56, here 15.↩︎

  • Benz, “Multilevel Governance,” 119.↩︎

  • Dirk Hanschel, Konfliktlösung im Bundesstaat. Die Lösung föderaler Kompetenz-, Finanz- und Territorialkonflikte in Deutschland, den USA und der Schweiz, Tübingen 2012.↩︎

  • Ursula Lehmkuhl, “Konflikt und Kooperation in der Geschichte der Internationalen Beziehungen: Analyseperspektiven und Forschungsfelder des ‘Global Governance’-Ansatzes,” in Benjamin Ziemann (ed.), Perspektiven der historischen Friedensforschung, Essen 2002, 173–193.↩︎

  • Arthur Benz et al., “Einleitung,” in Arthur Benz et al. (eds.), Handbuch Governance: Theoretische Grundlagen und empirische Anwendungsfelder, Wiesbaden 2007, 9–25, here 11.↩︎

  • Alexander Grasse, Modernisierungsfaktor Region: Subnationale Politik und Föderalisierung in Italien, Wiesbaden 2005, 39.↩︎

  • Mayntz, “Governance,” 42.↩︎

  • Benz et. al., “Einleitung,” 13.↩︎

  • For an overview of the mechanisms, see Benz, Politik in Mehrebenensystemen, 85–92.↩︎

  • See Katharina Holzinger, “Verhandeln statt Argumentieren oder Verhandeln durch Argumentieren? Eine empirische Analyse auf der Basis der Sprechakttheorie,” Politische Vierteljahresschrift 42 (2001): 414–446; Peter Kotzian, “Arguing and Bargaining in International Negotiations. On the Application of the Frame-Selection Model and its Implications,” International Political Science Review 28 (2007): 79–99.↩︎

  • Rainer Kessler, “Die Arbeitsgemeinschaft Alpenländer – ein Beispiel für grenzüberschreitenden Regionalismus,” in Bayerische Landeszentrale für Politische Bildungsarbeit [Bavarian State Center for Political Education] (ed.), Regionalismus in Europa. [Report on an academic conference in Brixen/Bressanone (South Tyrol), October 30–November 3, 1978], vol. 1, Munich 1981, 273–278, here 273f.↩︎

  • Alexander Wegmaier, “Europäer sein und Bayern bleiben”: Die Idee Europa und die bayerische Europapolitik 1945–1979, Munich 2018, 319–324.↩︎

  • Matthias Bode, Die auswärtige Kulturverwaltung der frühen Bundesrepublik. Eine Untersuchung ihrer Etablierung zwischen Norminterpretation und Normgenese, Tübingen 2014, 583.↩︎

  • Grasse, Modernisierungsfaktor, 40f.↩︎

  • On the Mansholt Plan and the run-up to its emergence, see: Katja Seidel, “Taking Farmers off Welfare: The EEC Commission’s Memorandum ‘Agriculture 1980’ of 1968,” Journal of European Integration History 16 (2010): 83–101; Kiran Klaus Patel, Europäisierung wider Willen. Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland in der Agrarintegration der EWG 1955–1973, Munich 2009, 427–452.↩︎

  • Gerhardt, Agrarmodernisierung, 433–442.↩︎

  • Benz, Politik in Mehrebenensystemen, 88f.↩︎

  • See Norbert Lehning, Bayerns Weg in die Bildungsgesellschaft: Das höhere Schulwesen im Freistaat Bayern zwischen Tradition und Expansion, 1949/50–1972/73, Munich 2006, 1027–1046.↩︎

  • See most recently, for example, Heinrich Oberreuter, “Mehrebenensystem,” in Staatslexikon. Recht, Wirtschaft, Gesellschaft, vol. 3, Herrschaft – Migration, ed. Görres Society, 8th ed., Freiburg im Breisgau 2019, 1519.↩︎

  • See, for instance, Miriam Hartlapp and Claudia Wiesner (eds.), “Gewaltenteilung und Demokratie im Mehrebenensystem der EU: Neu, anders – oder weniger legitim?,” Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft 26, special issue 1 (2016).↩︎

  • Benz, Politik in Mehrebenensystemen, 92.↩︎

  • On the types of vertical state organization, see Jürgen Dieringer, “Regionen und Regionalismus im europäischen Kontext,” in Jürgen Dieringer and Roland Sturm (eds.), Regional Governance in EU-Staaten, Opladen 2010, 347–363, here 352–361. For an overview of the states: Mario Caciagli, Regioni d’Europa. Devoluzioni, regionalismi, integrazione europea, Bologna 2003, 19–64.↩︎

  • Peter Schmitt-Egner, Handbuch der europäischen Regionalorganisationen: Akteure und Netzwerke des transnationalen Regionalismus von A bis Z, Baden-Baden 2000, 28.↩︎

  • See the regular country reports in Jahrbuch des Föderalismus; see also for France: Marie-José Tulard, La Région, Paris 2008; Andrea Fischer-Hotzel, Vetospieler in territorialen Verfassungsreformen. Britische Devolution und französische Dezentralisierung im Vergleich, Baden-Baden 2013, 103–119. More currently: Frankreich-Jahrbuch 2015 (“Frankreich nach der Territorialreform”). For Italy: Grasse, Modernisierungsfaktor, 357–426; Maurizio Cotta, Political Institutions in Italy, Oxford 2007, 171–201. More currently: Luciano Vandelli, “Der Senat und die Regionen in der gescheiterten Verfassungsreform 2016: Italien auf der Suche nach neuen Gleichgewichten,” in Alexander Grasse et al. (eds.), Italien zwischen Krise und Aufbruch. Reformen und Reformversuche der Regierung Renzi, Wiesbaden 2018, 59–84.↩︎

  • In the context of international relations, for example, regions are often not understood as belonging to the subnational level but seen as a “dimension above the level of the state and below the level of the international system” (Simon Koschut, “Introduction,” in Simon Koschut (ed.), Regionen und Regionalismus in den Internationalen Beziehungen: Eine Einführung, Wiesbaden 2017, 1–17, here 1.)↩︎

  • Schmitt-Egner, Handbuch, 514. For an overview teasing out the various possible meanings of the “region” concept, see, for instance, Joachim Jens Hesse, “Europäische Regionen zwischen Integrationsanspruch und neuem Regionalismus,” in Hans Heinrich Blotevogel (ed.), Europäische Regionen im Wandel. Strukturelle Erneuerung, Raumordnung und Regionalpolitik im Europa der Regionen, Dortmund 1991, 11–25, here 11f.↩︎

  • Prototype semantics refrains from imposing unambiguous classifications based on definitions. Instead, it postulates that entities belonging to a conceptual category can deviate to differing degrees from the central prototype on which the category is based. See Dietrich Busse, Semantik, Paderborn 2009, 49–59; Martina Mangasser-Wahl (ed.), Prototypentheorie in der Linguistik: Anwendungsbeispiele, Methodenreflexion, Perspektiven, Tübingen 2000.↩︎

  • Henry W. Ehrmann, Das politische System Frankreichs: Eine Einführung, Munich 1976, 182.↩︎

  • Jean F. Gravier’s influential 1947 book bearing this title set the agenda for spatial planning in France in the years following its publication.↩︎

  • The region of Brittany, for example, did not include the Département Loire-Atlantique with Nantes, historically the capital of Brittany. Hints of the considerable arbitrariness with which other regions were formed are contained in such hyphenated names as “Languedoc-Roussillon” and in bland, meaningless names like “Centre.”↩︎

  • Heinz-Helmut Lüger, “Zentralistische Staatsgewalt und monarchistisches Präsidialsystem?,” in Heinz-Helmut Lüger and Ernst-Ulrich Große (eds.), Frankreich verstehen: Eine Einführung mit Vergleichen zu Deutschland, Darmstadt 2008, 26f.; see also Romain Pasquier, “The French Regions and the European Union: Policy Change and Institutional Stability,” in Roger Scully and Richard Wyn Jones (eds.), Europe, Regions and European Regionalism, Houndmills 2010, 35–52, here 38.↩︎

  • Lüger, “Staatsgewalt,” 28; Ehrmann, System, 183.↩︎

  • Auel, Regionalisiertes Europa, 123.↩︎

  • Auel, Regionalisiertes Europa, 123–125.↩︎

  • Vincent Hoffmann-Martinot, “Zentralisierung und Dezentralisierung in Frankreich,” in Adolf Kimmel and Henrik Uterwedde (eds.), Länderbericht Frankreich, Bonn 2012, 92–110, here 100f.; Auel, Regionalisiertes Europa, 127.↩︎

  • Auel, Regionalisiertes Europa, 132.↩︎

  • Rainer Grote, Das Regierungssystem der V. französischen Republik. Verfassungstheorie und -praxis, Baden-Baden 1995, 66–71.↩︎

  • Pierre Grémion, Le pouvoir périphérique. Bureaucrates et notables dans le système politique français, Paris 1976.↩︎

  • Grote, Regierungssystem, 79.↩︎

  • See Bernard Lachaise et al. (eds.), Jacques Chaban-Delmas en politique, Paris 2007. Arthur Benz and Albrecht Frenzel, “The institutional dynamic of the urban region of Bordeaux: From the ‘Chaban system’ to Alain Juppé,” in Bernard Jouve and Christian Lefevre (eds.), Local Power, Territory and Institutions in European Metropolitan Regions, London 2002, 57–81.↩︎

  • Vlad Constantinesco, “Föderalismus und Regionalismus in Europa. Landesbericht Frankreich,” in Fritz Ossenbühl (ed.), Föderalismus und Regionalismus in Europa, (Proceedings of a conference held in Bonn, September 14–16, 1989), Baden-Baden 1990, 199–237, here 209f.↩︎

  • Michel Crozier/Jean-Claude Thoenig, “The Regulation of Complex Organized Systems,” Administrative Science Quarterly 21 (1976): 547–570.↩︎

  • Auel, Regionalisiertes Europa, 121f.↩︎

  • Dörte Rasch, Kooperation im Unitarismus. Dargestellt am Beispiel französischer Raumordnungspolitik (1967–1981), Frankfurt am Main 1983.↩︎

  • Auel, Regionalisiertes Europa, 193.↩︎

  • Wolfgang Brücher, “Frankreich im Umbruch zwischen Zentralismus, Dezentralisierung und europäischer Integration,” Europa Regional 5 (1997): 1–11, here 5.↩︎

  • Auel, Regionalisiertes Europa, 194f.↩︎

  • Sabine Kuhlmann, “Dezentralisierung in Frankreich. Ende der ‘Unteilbaren Republik’?,” dms – der moderne staat – Zeitschrift für Public Policy, Recht und Management 1 (2008): 1–21, here 13.↩︎

  • Martina Seitz, Italien zwischen Zentralismus und Föderalismus: Dezentralisierung und Nord-Süd-Konflikt, Wiesbaden 1997, 55.↩︎

  • Valerio Onida, “Landesbericht Italien,” in Ossenbühl, Föderalismus und Regionalismus in Europa, 239–261, here 243.↩︎

  • Seitz, Italien, 59.↩︎

  • For a constitutional law analysis, see Francesco Palermo, Die Außenbeziehungen der italienischen Regionen in rechtsvergleichender Sicht, Frankfurt am Main 1999, 25–74.↩︎

  • Dirk-Hermann Voss, Regionen und Regionalismus im Recht der Mitgliedstaaten der Europäischen Gemeinschaften. Strukturelemente einer Europäischen Verfassungsordnung, Frankfurt am Main 1989, 104f.↩︎

  • Hermann-Josef Blanke, Föderalismus und Integrationsgewalt. Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Spanien, Italien und Belgien als dezentralisierte Staaten in der EG, Berlin 1991, 133.↩︎

  • On the powers of the regions, see Voss, Regionen, 105–124, and Grasse, Modernisierungsfaktor, 73–89.↩︎

  • Grasse, Modernisierungsfaktor, 81–83.↩︎

  • Grasse, Modernisierungsfaktor, 84f.↩︎

  • Grasse, Modernisierungsfaktor, 83.↩︎

  • Seitz, Italien, 62; Voss, Regionen, 122.↩︎

  • Seitz, Italien, 64.↩︎

  • Sabino Cassese and Donatello Serrani, “Moderner Regionalismus in Italien,” Jahrbuch des öffentlichen Rechts der Gegenwart, new series 27 (1978): 23–40, here 27–28.↩︎

  • Voss, Regionen, 124.↩︎

  • Seitz, Italien, 66f.; see also, Grasse, Modernisierungsfaktor, 83f.↩︎

  • For an overall picture of the German Länder, cf. Heinz Laufer and Ursula Münch, Das föderale System der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Munich 2010; Gerhard Lehmbruch, “Föderalismus als entwicklungsgeschichtlich geronnene Verteilungsentscheidungen,” in Hans-Georg Wehling (ed.), Die deutschen Länder: Geschichte, Politik, Wirtschaft, Wiesbaden 2004, 337–354.↩︎

  • On budgetary reform: Wolfgang Renzsch, Finanzverfassung und Finanzausgleich: Die Auseinandersetzung um ihre politische Gestaltung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland zwischen Währungsreform und deutscher Vereinigung (1948 bis 1990), Bonn 1991, 209–261; Grüner, Wirtschaftswunder, 357–363; Ernst Heinsen, “Der Kampf um die Große Finanzreform 1969,” in Rudolf Hrbek (ed.), Miterlebt – Mitgestaltet: Der Bundesrat im Rückblick, Stuttgart 1989, 187–223.↩︎

  • Udo Bullmann, “Regionen im Integrationsprozess der Europäischen Union,” in Udo Bullmann (ed.), Die Politik der dritten Ebene: Regionen im Europa der Union, Baden-Baden 1994, 15–41, here 25.↩︎

  • Rasch, Kooperation.↩︎

  • Alexander Grasse, “Die ‘dritte Ebene’ im Transformationsprozess – regionale ‘Außenkompetenz’ und Föderalisierung in Italien,” in Xuewu Gu (ed.), Grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit zwischen den Regionen in Europa, Baden-Baden 2002, 143–197, here 172; See also Ingeborg Tömmel, “System-Entwicklung und Politikgestaltung in der Europäischen Gemeinschaft am Beispiel der Regionalpolitik,” in Michael Kreile (ed.), Die Integration Europas, Opladen 1992, 185–208; Tömmel, Regulierung.↩︎

  • Marinella Marino, “Le regioni del Mezzogiorno d’Italia e l’integrazione europea nella prospettiva dei nuovi regolamenti die fondi strutturali,” Rivista giuridica del Mezzogiorno 3 (1993): 663–675, here 673–675.↩︎

  • Auel, Regionalisiertes Europa, 131. On the Integrated Mediterranean Programmes, see Hubert Heinelt, “Die Strukturförderung – Politikprozesse im Mehrebenensystem der Europäischen Union,” in Hubert Heinelt (ed.), Politiknetzwerke und europäische Strukturfondsförderung: Ein Vergleich zwischen EU-Mitgliedstaaten, Opladen 1996, 17–32, here 23f.↩︎

  • Auel, Regionalisiertes Europa, 216, 225; Andy Smith and Mark E. Smyrl, “À la recherche d’interlocuteurs. La commission européenne et le développement territorial,” Science de la société 34 (1995): 41–58, here 45; Brücher, “Frankreich,” 5.↩︎

  • Preamble to the treaty establishing the European Economic Community.↩︎

  • On the liberal economic model envisaged, see Meinrad Dreher, “Der Rang des Wettbewerbs im europäischen Gemeinschaftsrecht,” in Meinrad Dreher and Dieter Dörr (eds.), Europa als Rechtsgemeinschaft, Baden-Baden 1997, 105–122.↩︎

  • Wegmaier, Europäer, 392–422; Seitz, Italien, 70–75.↩︎

  • For instance, Schleswig-Holstein in 1963, Rhineland-Palatinate in 1965 and Lower Saxony in 1966 (see Hans Eberhard Birke, Die deutschen Bundesländer in den Europäischen Gemeinschaften, Berlin (West) 1973, 58); on the individual plans, see Dieter Heymans, Die Regionalpolitik der EWG und die Länder der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Cologne 1969, 89–103. For Bavaria, see Bavarian State Ministry of Economics and Transport (State Planning Office), Die Anpassung Bayerns an die EWG: Chances, Probleme und Aufgaben, Munich 1967.↩︎

  • Ursula Rombeck-Jaschinski, Nordrhein-Westfalen, die Ruhr und Europa: Föderalismus und Europapolitik 1945–55, Essen 1990; Guido Thiemeyer, “Nordrhein-Westfalen und die Entstehung des europäischen Mehrebenensystems 1950–1985,” Geschichte im Westen 30 (2015): 145–166; Martin Hübler, Die Europapolitik des Freistaates Bayern. Von der Einheitlichen Europäischen Akte bis zum Amsterdamer Vertrag, Munich 2002; Wegmaier, Europäer.↩︎

  • Franz Heubl, “Bayern in der EWG,” Der Arbeitgeber 22 (1970): 305f.↩︎

  • Preliminary note made by the Bavarian State Chancellery on July 19, 1971, Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv (hereafter referred to as BayHStA), StK 16588.↩︎

  • Letter from Karl Arnold to Hans Ehard, June 18, 1951, BayHStA Stk 13034; cf. also Arnold’s speech on the European Coal and Steel Community in the 61st session of the Bundesrat on June 27, 1951, in Verhandlungen des Bundesrats (VdBr) 1951, 445 f.↩︎

  • Grasse, “Regionale Außenkompetenz,” 170; See also Valerio Castronovo, Il Piemonte nel processo di integrazione europea, Milano 2008; Emilio Diodato, “Politiche di internazionalizzazione e arene della rappresentanza. Una comparazione tra Lombardia e Toscana,” Rivista italiana di scienza politica 2 (2007): 207–231; Fabio Zucca (ed.), Europeismo e federalismo in Lombardia dal Risorgimento all’Unione europea, Bologna 2007; Emilio Diodato (ed.), La Toscana e la globalizzazione dal basso, Florence 2004. On regional identities, see Grasse, Modernisierungsfaktor, 129–140.↩︎

  • Stefan Seidendorf, “Warum es kaum erfolgreiche Regionalparteien in Frankreich gibt,” Frankreich-Jahrbuch (2015): 111–128, here 113.↩︎

  • See Romain Pasquier, Regional Governance and Power in France: The Dynamics of Political Space, New York 2015 (original: Le pouvoir régional. Mobilisations, décentralisation et gouvernance en France, Paris 2012); René Kahn, “Les Regions et la construction europeenne. Le cas de l’Alsace,” in Marie-Thérèse Bitsch (ed.), Le fait régional et la construction Européenne, Brussels 2003, 363–379.↩︎

  • See Wilfried Loth, “Die Europa-Bewegung in den Anfangsjahren der Bundesrepublik,” in Ludolf Herbst et al (eds.), Vom Marshall-Plan zur EWG: Die Eingliederung der Bundesrepublik in die westliche Welt, Munich 1990, 63–77.↩︎

  • Karl-Ulrich Gelberg, Hans Ehard: Die föderalistische Politik des bayerischen Ministerpräsidenten 1946–1954, Düsseldorf 1992, 318–323 and 369–383.↩︎

  • Undine Ruge, Die Erfindung des “Europa der Regionen”: Kritische Ideengeschichte eines konservativen Konzepts, Frankfurt am Main 2003, 173–177 and 184; for a more detailed account, see also Matthias Schulz, Regionalismus und die Gestaltung Europas. Die konstitutionelle Bedeutung der Region im europäischen Drama zwischen Integration und Disintegration, Hamburg 1993; Xosé M. Núñez Seixas/Eric Storm (eds.), Regionalism and Modern Europe: Identity Construction and Movements from 1890 to the Present Day, London 2019, and the contemporary essays on regionalism in Europe gathered in Bayerische Zentrale für politische Bildung, Regionalismus in Europa, 11–242.↩︎

  • On Denis de Rougement, see: Bruno Ackermann, Denis de Rougemont: De la personne à l’Europe. Essai biographique, Lausanne 2000; Franz Knipping, “Denis de Rougemont (1906–1985),” in Heinz Duchhardt et al. (eds.), Europa-Historiker. Ein biographisches Handbuch, vol. 3, Göttingen 2007, 157–175; François Saint-Ouen, “La notion d’Europe des Régions chez Denis de Rougemont,” in Bitsch (ed.), Le fait régional, 45–56.↩︎

  • Denis de Rougemont, “Vers une fédération des régions,” in Bulletin du Centre Européen de la Culture 12 (1967): 35–56, here 40. See also Ruge, “Erfindung,” 185–190.↩︎

  • To date, no scholarly biography of Guy Héraud has appeared. On Alexandre Marc’s innovative role, see: Hartmut Marhold, “Alexandre Marc und der ‘Integrale Föderalismus,’” Jahrbuch des Föderalismus 12 (2011): 83–95.↩︎

  • Ruge, Erfindung, 243–246.↩︎

  • Ruge, Erfindung, 280–305; Wegmaier, Europäer, 265–269.↩︎

  • Eve Hepburn, Using Europe: Territorial Party Strategies in a Multi-Level System, Manchester 2010, 161, 168–170; Paolo Fois, “L’Europa delle Regioni e delle Etnie nel pensiero di Antonio Simon Mossa,” in Federico Francioni (ed.), Antonio Simon Mossa (1916–1971): L’architetto, l’intellettuale, il federalista. Dall’utopia al progetto [Proceedings of a symposium held in Sassari, April 10–13, 2003], Cagliari 2004, 127–132.↩︎

  • Rinaldo Locatelli, “La Conférence Pérmanente des Pouvoirs Locaux et Régionaux de l’Europe et les régions,” in Theodor Veiter (ed.), Fédéralisme, régionalisme, et droit des groupes ethniques en Europe. Föderalismus, Regionalismus und Volksgruppenrecht in Europa. Festschrift für Guy Héraud, Vienna 1989, 222–231, here 226.↩︎

  • Schulz, Regionalismus, 200–242.↩︎

  • Ulrich Beyerlein, “Grenzüberschreitende unterstaatliche Zusammenarbeit in Europa. Zum Entwurf eines Europäischen Rahmenübereinkommens über die grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit zwischen Gebietskörperschaften,” Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht 40 (1980): 573–595, here 574f; on the Council of Europe symposia on border regions, see Ingrid Grom, Regional grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit als Beitrag zur Förderung der europäischen Integration: Die Einheit Europas setzt das Überwinden der Grenzen voraus, Berlin 1995, 81–84.↩︎

  • Fried Esterbauer (ed.), Regionalismus. Phänomen, Planungsmittel, Herausforderung für Europa: Eine Einführung, Munich 1978, 215.↩︎

  • Hübler, Europapolitik, 106–162.↩︎

  • Interview “Nie wieder Realismus!,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, no. 194 (August 22, 2018), 11.↩︎

  • Voss, Regionen, 120.↩︎

  • Hans Peter Ipsen, “Als Bundesstaat in der Gemeinschaft,” in Ernst von Caemmerer et. al. (eds.), Probleme des Europäischen Rechts: Festschrift für Walter Hallstein zu seinem 65. Geburtstag, Frankfurt am Main 1966, 248–265, here 256.↩︎

  • Voss, Regionen, 120.↩︎

  • Preliminary notes by Berger, head of the legal department at the German Foreign Office, dated April 24, 1957, and April 30, 1957, Political Archive of the Federal Foreign Office (PA AA), B 130 VS 3665A. For Italy, see Grasse, “Regionale Außenkompetenz,” 171. On the domaine réservé in France, see Udo Kempf, Das politische System Frankreichs, 4th ed.,, Wiesbaden 2007, 66–69; Richard Georg Wieber, Die Stellung des französischen Parlaments im Europäischen Normsetzungsprozess gemäß Art. 88–4 der französischen Verfassung der V. Republik, Frankfurt am Main 1999.↩︎

  • Doris Fuhrmann-Mittlmeier, Die deutschen Länder im Prozess der europäischen Einigung. Eine Analyse der Europapolitik unter integrationspolitischen Gesichtspunkten, Berlin 1991, 164–166 and 176–180.↩︎

  • Sebastian Harnisch, Internationale Politik und Verfassung: Die Domestizierung der deutschen Sicherheits- und Europapolitik, Baden-Baden 2006, 48. See also Hübler, Europapolitik, 72.↩︎

  • Bardo Fassbender, Der offene Bundesstaat. Studien zur auswärtigen Gewalt und zur Völkerrechtssubjektivität bundesstaatlicher Teilstaaten in Europa, Tübingen 2007, 391–397.↩︎

  • Massimo Panebianco, “Europäische Integration und italienische Verfassungsordnung,” in Thomas Berberich et al. (eds.), Neue Entwicklungen im öffentlichen Recht. Beiträge zum Verhältnis von Bürger und Staat aus Völkerrecht, Verfassungsrecht und Verwaltungsrecht, Stuttgart et. al. 1979, 103–122, here 110f.; Claudia Morviducci, “The International Activities of the Italian Regions,” The Italian Yearbook of International Law 2 (1976): 201–223, here 208f.↩︎

  • Grasse, “Regionale Außenkompetenz,” 173f.↩︎

  • Richard Balme, “French Regionalization and European Integration. Territorial Adaptation and Change in a Unitary State,” in Barry Jones and Michael Keating (eds.), The European Union and the Regions, Oxford 1995, 167–188, here 182.↩︎

  • As far back as 1949, Schuman had already founded a committee dedicated to preserving the rights of local authorities and départements together with Jacques Chaban-Delmas and François Mitterrand; see Fabio Zucca, The International Relations of Local Authorities. From Institutional Twinning to the Committee of the Regions: Fifty Years of European Integration History, Brussels 2012, 75.↩︎

  • Christine Manigand, “Jacques Chaban-Delmas et l’Europe,” in Bernard Lachaise et. al. (eds.), Jacques Chaban-Delmas en politique, Paris 2007, 237–250, here 246 and 249; Fabio Zucca, “L’Europe des communes et des régions à travers l’action de deux de ses acteurs principaux: Jacques Chaban-Delmas et Umberto Serfanini,” in Sylvain Schirmann (ed.), Quelles architectures pour qelle Europe? Des projects d’une Europe unie à l’Union européenne (1945–1992): Actes des deuxièmes journées d’étude de la Maison de Robert Schuman. Metz, 9, 10 et 11 mai 2010, Brussels 2011, 91–111. On the genesis of EC regional policy, see Tömmel, Regulierung, 37–45, and Antonio Varsori, “Die europäische Regionalpolitik. Anfänge einer Solidarität,” in Michel Dumoulin (ed.), Die Europäische Kommission 1958–1972: Geschichte und Erinnerungen einer Institution, Brussels 2007, 443–458, here 454.↩︎

  • The Florentine city councilor Giancarlo Zoli was, for example, the representative of the enti locali in the European Economic and Social Committee from 1958 to 1970; see Official Journal of the European Communities L 017 of 6 October 1958, 400/58. When the German interior minister Gerhard Schröder expressed a wish in in 1958 “that the municipalities be represented in the committee,” Chancellor Konrad Adenauer rejected the suggestion with no further challenges; the issue was not brought up again (minutes of the 153rd cabinet meeting on April 14, 1958, in Die Kabinettsprotokolle der Bundesregierung, vol. 11: 1958, edited for the federal archives by Hartmut Weber, edited by Ulrich Enders and Christoph Schawe with the assistance of Ralf Behrendt, Josef Henke, and Uta Rössel, Munich 2002, 194).↩︎

  • Jean-Marie Palayret, “De la CECA au Comité des Régions: Le Conseil des communes et des régions d’Europe: un demi siècle de lobbying en faveur de l’Europe des régions,” in Bitsch (ed.), Le fait régional, 85–114; Zucca, “International Relations,” 73–84; Fabio Zucca, “Spinelli, Serafini e l’Associazione italiana per il Consiglio dei Comuni e delle Regioni d’Europa,” in Daniela Preda (ed.), Altiero Spinelli e i movimenti per l’unità europea, Padua 2010, 203–230.↩︎

  • Auel, Regionalisiertes Europa, 132.↩︎

  • Wegmaier, Europäer, 343–351.↩︎

  • Interview with Franz Heubl, in Hanns Seidel Foundation (ed.), Geschichte einer Volkspartei: 50 Jahre CSU 1945–1995, Munich 1995, 541–562, here 559.↩︎

  • Rombeck-Jaschinski, Nordrhein-Westfalen, 77 and 139–142. The Hamburg Senate began regular informative visits from the mid-1970s onward (Thiemeyer, “Stiefkinder,” 357f.) after Hamburg had already, with its “policy of the Elbe,” been charting a course of its own in trade and European policy since the 1950s that differed markedly from the positions advanced by Germany’s national government; see Frank Bajohr, “Hochburg des Internationalismus: Hamburger ‘Außenpolitik’ in den 1950er und 1960er Jahren,” in Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg [Research Center for Contemporary History in Hamburg] (ed.), Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg 2008, Hamburg 2009, 25–43; Christoph Strupp, “Das Tor zur Welt. Die ‘Politik der Elbe’ und die EWG: Hamburger Europapolitik in den 1950er und 1960er Jahren,” published 2010, in Themenportal Europäische Geschichte, URL: (last accessed March 7, 2021).↩︎

  • Art. “Thomson Looks at Italian Regions,” European Community 183 (1975): 12; Giovanni Damele, “Gli orientamenti della classe politica piemontese nei riguardi della causa comunitaria,” in Valerio Castronovo (ed.), Il Piemonte nel processo di integrazione europea, Milan 2008, 181–259, here 191. Morviducci, “Activities,” 211. The president of Tuscany, Lelio Lagorio, also sought contact with European institutions early on (Emilio Diodato, “Politiche di internazionalizzazione e arene della rappresentanza. Una comparazione tra Lombardia e Toscana,” Rivista italiana di scienza politica 2 (2007): 207–231).↩︎

  • Wegmaier, Europäer, 355–357.↩︎

  • Wegmaier, Europäer, 362–364.↩︎

  • For an appraisal of the role of the SNP for Scotland, see Hepburn, Europe, 71–80.↩︎

  • Jean-François Drevet, Histoire de la politique régionale de l’Union européenne, Paris 2008, 56.↩︎

  • For more on CELIB, see Romain Pasquier, La capacité politique des régions. Une comparaison France-Espagne, Rennes 2004, 34–48.↩︎

  • Pasquier, Pouvoir regional, 272; Gilbert Noël, “La Conférence des régions périphériques maritimes d’Europe. Une initiative originale pour une politique régionale européenne,” in Yves Denéchère and Marie-Bénédicte Vincent (eds.), Vivre et construire l’Europe à l’échelle territoriale de 1945 à nos jours, Brussels 2010, 265–279, here 271.↩︎

  • Auel, Regionalisiertes Europa, 131 and 158f. Whether other regional interest groups such as CEBSO in Aquitaine (Benz and Frenzel, “Bordeaux”) attempted similar strategies has not yet been investigated.↩︎

  • Auel, Regionalisiertes Europa, 131f. and 159f.↩︎

  • Grasse, “Regionale Außenkompetenz,” 167.↩︎

  • Les Annales Conferencia 68 (1961), 8; see also André Mutter, L’Alsace à l’heure de l’Europe, Paris 1968, 87.↩︎

  • Jacob Krumrey, The Symbolic Politics of European Integration: Staging Europe, Cham 2018, 175.↩︎

  • Der Föderalist: Zeitschrift für europäischen Föderalismus 2 (1958): 29; Alain Howiller, Mémoires de midi. Les mutations de l’Alsace (1960–1993), Strasbourg 1994, 21.↩︎

  • On Pflimlin, see François Brunagel: Pierre Pflimlin. Alsacien et Européen, Strasbourg 2007. In the Consultative Assembly of the European Parliament, René Radius was another highly significant figure from Alsace.↩︎

  • Robert Asam, Der Luis: Luis Durnwalders Aufstieg zur Macht, Die Biographie, Bolzano 2001, 188–190; Italian Association for the Council of European Municipalities, “Policy Document on Agricultural Reform in the European Community,” May 1969, (↩︎

  • Harnisch, Politik, 33.↩︎

  • Claudia Breuer, Europäische Integration und grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit. Konsens oder Konflikt? Das Beispiel EUREGIO, Bochum 2001; Verena Müller, 25 Jahre EUREGIO-Rat. Rückblick auf die Arbeit eines politischen Gremiums im “kleinen Europa, Gronau and Enschede 2003; Claudia Hiepel, “Grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit in Europa. Die deutsch-niederländische EUREGIO,” in Christian Henrich-Franke et al. (eds.), Grenzüberschreitende institutionalisierte Zusammenarbeit von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, Baden-Baden 2019, 79–100.↩︎

  • Gerhard Eickhorn, “Grenzen verbinden: Die Arbeitsgemeinschaft Europäischer Grenzregionen – eine Bocholter Initiative,” in Hans Dieter Metz and Heiner Timmermann (eds.), Europa – Ziel und Aufgabe: Festschrift für Arno Krause zum 70. Geburtstag, Berlin 2000, 181–190.↩︎

  • Kessler, “Arbeitsgemeinschaft,” 273f. See also Wegmaier, Europäer, 371–382.↩︎

  • Hans Mayer, “Multilaterale Zusammenarbeit von Ländern und Regionen in Mitteleuropa,” Jahrbuch des Föderalismus 7 (2006): 496–512, here 497; Andreas Kiefer, “Salzburgs Mitwirkung in europäischen Regionalinstitutionen,” in Roland Floimair (ed.), Die regionale Außenpolitik des Landes Salzburg, Salzburg 1993, 147–176, here 147. For an introductory overview of the various working communities, see Rudolf Hrbek and Sabine Weyand, betrifft: Das Europa der Regionen. Fakten, Probleme, Perspektiven, Munich 1994, 53–68. For more detail, see Schmitt-Egner, Handbuch, 143–506.↩︎

  • Pasquier, Pouvoir regional, 272, Noël, “Conférence,” 269f., Georges Pierret, Régions d’Europe: La face chachée de l’union. Une aventure vécue, Rennes 1997, 97–113.↩︎

  • Noël, “Conférence,” 270f.↩︎

  • Pierret, Régions, 114.↩︎

  • For further examples, see Martin Nagelschmidt, Das oberrheinische Mehrebenensystem. Institutionelle Bedingungen und funktionale Herausforderungen grenzübergreifender Zusammenarbeit in Europa, Basel 2005; Wolfgang Ott, Grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit Bayerns. Fallbeispiel EUREGIO Egrensis, Baden-Baden 2010.↩︎

  • Petra Zimmermann-Steinhart, “Die Entstehung der Initiative ‘Vier Motoren für Europa,’” in Thomas Fischer and Siegfried Frech (eds.), Baden-Württemberg und seine Partnerregionen, Stuttgart 2001, 48–61.↩︎

  • Yasemin Haack, Europäische Integration durch transnationale Strategien der Regionenbildung? Grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit im böhmisch-bayerischen Grenzgebiet, Passau 2010, 42.↩︎

  • Schmitt-Egner, Handbuch, 469.↩︎

  • For an overview, see Rudolf Hrbek, “Die Regionen in Europa,” Jahrbuch der Europäischen Integration 11 (1990/91): 277–284, here 280–283.↩︎

  • Drevet, Histoire, 44.↩︎

  • Dieter Eissel et al., Interregionale Zusammenarbeit in der EU: Analysen zur Partnerschaft zwischen Hessen, der Emilia-Romagna und der Aquitaine, Opladen 1999, 136f.↩︎

  • Schulz, Regionalismus, 194.↩︎

  • Schmitz-Wenzel, Länder, 152.↩︎

  • Varsori, Regionalpolitik.↩︎

  • Lecture given by Borschette to the Munich-based Foreign Affairs Association (Gesellschaft für Auslandskunde) on April 21, 1972, Archives of the European Commission BAC 12/1992 267.↩︎

  • Note from the Bundesrat Ministry dated January 20, 1964, German Federal Archives B144/1024.↩︎

  • Grant Jordan, “Scottish Local Government and Europe,” in Clive Archer and John Main (eds.), Scotland’s Voice in International Affairs: The Overseas Representation of Scottish Interests, with special reference to the European Community, London 1980, 19–36, here 35. On Scotland’s positioning vis-à-vis Europe, see also Hepburn, Europe, 53–98.↩︎

  • Noël, “Conférence,” 271.↩︎

  • Eissel, Interregionale Zusammenarbeit, 131.↩︎

  • Viktor von Malchus, Partnerschaft an europäischen Grenzen. Integration durch grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit, Bonn 1975, 109; Bert Schaffarzik, Handbuch der Europäischen Charta der kommunalen Selbstverwaltung, Stuttgart et al. 2002, 17f.↩︎

  • See Klaus Fiedler, “Zwanzig Jahre Europäische Kommunalkonferenz,” Der Städtetag 31 (1978): 200–202, 274–276, and 344–346, here 201 f.; Dirk Gerdes, Regionalismus als soziale Bewegung. Westeuropa, Frankreich, Korsika: Vom Vergleich zur Kontextanalyse, Frankfurt am Main 1985, 88.↩︎

  • Schulz, Regionalismus, 195. Dehousse and Signorello were established regional politicians who were active in the Conference of Local Authorities of Europe and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR). Dehousse, a federalist and an activist in the Walloon movement, was a senator for the province of Liège (1950–1971), a member of the Consultative Assembly (1954–1961), its president (1956–1959), and subsequently the chairperson of the Special Committee on Municipal and Regional Affairs. Signorello was a member of the Provincial Council of the Province of Rome (1952–1960), president of the Province of Rome (1961–1965), and a senator for the Lazio region (1968–1985).↩︎

  • Council of Europe: 50 Years of Local Democracy in Europe, Strasbourg 2007, 22; Pierre Kukawa and Jean Tournon, The Council of Europe and Regionalism. The Regional Dimension in the Work of the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLARE), 1957–85, Strasbourg 1987, 6.↩︎

  • Fiedler, “Zwanzig Jahre,” 345.↩︎

  • Grom, Zusammenarbeit, 85.↩︎

  • Robert D. Putnam, “Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games,” International Organization 42 (1988): 427–460.↩︎

  • Grasse, “Regionale Außenkompetenz,” 167.↩︎

  • Auel, Regionalisiertes Europa, 132.↩︎

  • Tömmel, Regulierung, 41f.↩︎

  • Locatelli, “Conférence,” 226.↩︎

  • Cf. Fiedler, “Zwanzig Jahre,” 201f.; Gerdes, Regionalismus, 88.↩︎

  • Beyerlein, “Zusammenarbeit,” 574f.↩︎

  • See Peter Hänni (ed.), Schweizerischer Föderalismus und europäische Integration. Die Rolle der Kantone in einem sich wandelnden internationalen Kontext, Zürich 2000; Dieter Freiburghaus (ed.), Die Kantone und Europa, Bern 1994; Martin Bundi/Christian Rathgeb (eds.), Graubünden zwischen Integration und Isolation, Chur 2006; Fritz Staudigl and Renate Fischler (eds.), Die Teilnahme der Bundesländer am europäischen Integrationsprozess, Vienna 1996; Stefan Hammer and Peter Bussjäger (eds.), Außenbeziehungen im Bundesstaat, Vienna 2007.↩︎

  • File note from the Bavarian State Chancellery, June 24, 1972, BayHStA Stk 16600.↩︎

  • DPA copy dated May 17, 1972, BayHStA Stk 16601.↩︎

  • Alois Lugger, Mayor of Innsbruck and President of the Tyrolean Parliament, was president of the seventh session of the European Conference of Local Authorities and its vice-president on several occasions. He was also vice president of the Council of European Municipalities (Erich Pramböck, 90 Jahre kommunale Interessenvertretung. Österreichischer Städtebund 1915–2005, Vienna 2005, 26–28). Alois Larcher was secretary of the Committee of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe for Municipal Affairs (and later Spatial Planning and Regional Affairs) from 1967 on (Pauliner Forum. Mitteilungen des Paulinervereins No. 15, March 1991, 13f., and Pauliner Forum. Mitteilungen des Paulinervereins No. 44, Juni 2006, 12f.).↩︎

  • Kessler, “Arbeitsgemeinschaft,” 275.↩︎

  • Cited from Landespressebüro Salzburg: Leitbild für die Entwicklung und Sicherung des Alpengebietes, Salzburg 1981, 26.↩︎

  • Cited from Hans Köchler, “Regionalpolitische Initiativen Tirols,” in Hans Köchler (ed.), Die europäische Aufgabe der Alpenregion, Innsbruck 1972, 87–99, here 89.↩︎

  • Hanns Hummer, Eduard Wallnöfer. Eine Biographie, Innsbruck 1999, 54. On the evolution of the discussion of transalpine road projects in general and the Ulm–Milan link in particular, see Magdalena Pernold, Traumstraße oder Transithölle? Eine Diskursgeschichte der Brennerautobahn in Tirol und Südtirol (1950–1980), Bielefeld 2016, 187–192.↩︎

  • European Conference of Local Authorities: Tenth ordinary session 16–20 September 1974. Official Report of Debates, Strasbourg 1974.↩︎

  • Jan Eik Grindheim, Knut Heidar, and Kaare W. Strøm (eds.), Norsk politikk, Oslo 2017; Hermann Gross and Walter Rothholz, “Das politische System Norwegens,” in Wolfgang Ismayr (ed.), Die politischen Systeme Westeuropas, Wiesbaden 2009, 151–194.↩︎

  • On the Norwegian regions, see Gro Sandkjær Hanssen, Jan Erling Klausen, and Ove Langeland (eds.), Det regionale Norge 1950–2050, Oslo 2012; Yngve Flo, Statens mann, fylkets mann: Norsk amtmanns- og fylkesmannshistorie 1814–2014, Bergen 2014.↩︎

  • For more on Evers, see Andreas Hompland and Jon Helge Lesjø, Konstante Spenninger. KS i den norske modellen, Oslo 2016, 146–157.↩︎

  • See European Conference of Local Authorities: Tenth ordinary session 16–20 September 1974. Official Report of Debates, Strasbourg 1974.↩︎

  • Maja Busch Sevaldsen, Regional representasjon i Brussel. En kvalitativ analyse av Nord-Norges Europakontor, Trondheim 2015.↩︎

  • “Résolution finale votée a l’issue de la 1re conférence de Saint-Malo le 23 juin 1973 (adoptée a l’unanimité),” in George Pierret, Vivre l’Europe... autrement. Les Régions entrent en scène, Paris 2001, 315–318.↩︎

  • Noël, “Conférence,” 272f.↩︎

  • In the consultation process on the EU Commission’s Green Paper on EU Maritime Policy 2005, for example, the Western Norway Council and the Regional Committee for Northern Norway participated in a coordinated manner through the CPMR. The two fylkesordfører Roald Bergsaker (Rogaland) and Gunn Marit Helgesen (Telemark) were both board members of CPMR at that time (Policy Document: “CPMR og EU: Utforming av ein heilskapleg maritim politikk for Europa. Vidare engasjement frå Vestlandsrådet,” Vestlandsrådet, Arkivsaksnr. 05/79).↩︎

  • See Peter Austin et al., Norske regioner som internasjonale aktører. KS Forskning og utvikling, 03/2006 (; Andreas Børnick, Europeisering av fylkeskommunen. En sammenlignende studie av regionale europeiseringsprosesser i Norge og EU, Oslo 2007; Kjell A. Eliassen and Pavlina Peneva, Norwegian Non-Governmental Actors in Brussels 1980–2010: Interest Representation and Lobbying, Oslo 2011; Jan Erik Grindheim, Norway, in Søren Dosenrode and Henrik Halkier (eds.), The Nordic Regions and the European Union, Aldershot 2004, 55–76.↩︎

  • “Gesellschaftliche Strukturen als Verfassungsproblem. Intermediäre Gewalten, Assoziationen, Öffentliche Körperschaften im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert,” [Proceedings of the founding conference of the Vereinigung für Verfassungsgeschichte, October 3–4, 1977, in Hofgeismar] (Supplements to Der Staat: Zeitschrift für Staatslehre, Öffentliches Recht und Verfassungsgeschichte, Issue 2), Berlin 1978; Peter Claus Hartmann (ed.), Regionen in der Frühen Neuzeit. Reichskreise im deutschen Raum, Provinzen in Frankreich, Regionen unter polnischer Oberhoheit: Ein Vergleich ihrer Strukturen, Funktionen und ihrer Bedeutung, Berlin 1994.↩︎

  • Ferdinand Kramer, “Landesgeschichte in europäischer Perspektive. Zusammenfassung und Diskussionsbeitrag,” in Sigrid Hirbodian et al. (eds.), Methoden und Wege der Landesgeschichte, Ostfildern 2015, 209–217, here 215.↩︎

  • For a discussion of this basic idea in connection with spatial models, see Martin Ott, “Raumkonzepte in der Landesgeschichte nach dem Spatial Turn,” in Sigrid Hirbodian et al. (eds.), Methoden und Wege der Landesgeschichte, Ostfildern 2015, 111–125, here 114.↩︎

  • Andreas Rutz, “Landesgeschichte in Europa: Traditionen – Institutionen – Perspektiven,” in Werner Freitag et al. (eds.), Handbuch Landesgeschichte, Oldenburg 2018, 102–126, here 103.↩︎

  • See, for example, Angelika Fox, Die wirtschaftliche Integration Bayerns in das Zweite Deutsche Kaiserreich: Studien zu den wirtschaftspolitischen Spielräumen eines deutschen Mittelstaates zwischen 1862 und 1875, Munich 2001; Wolfgang Benz, Süddeutschland in der Weimarer Republik. Ein Beitrag zur deutschen Innenpolitik 1918–1923, Berlin 1970; Ursula Münch, Freistaat im Bundesstaat. Bayerns Politik in 50 Jahren Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Munich 1999, and the “Bayern im Bund” series edited by Thomas Schlemmer and Hans Woller. For Rhineland-Palatinate, see, for instance, Heinrich Küppers, Staatsaufbau zwischen Bruch und Tradition. Geschichte des Landes Rheinland-Pfalz 1946–1955, Mainz 1990. For North Rhine-Westphalia, see Ulrich Schmidt (ed.), Karl Arnold. Nordrhein-Westfalens Ministerpräsident 1947–1956, Düsseldorf 2001..↩︎

  • See also: Grüner, Wirtschaftswunder; Gerhardt, Agrarmodernisierung; Himpsl, Außenwirtschaftspolitik; Jehle, Kulturpolitik, and Kurt Düwell, “Nordrhein-Westfalens Minister für Bundesangelegenheiten. Ihr Wirken zwischen Landeskabinett, Bundesrat und europäischer Ebene,” in Jürgen Brautmeier and Ulrich Heinemann (eds.), Mythen – Möglichkeiten – Wirklichkeiten: 60 Jahre Nordrhein-Westfalen, Essen 2007, 131–153; Walter Helfrich, Die Anfänge der Europabewegung in der Pfalz nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, Kaiserslautern 2013.↩︎

  • For instance, in Stefan Lülf, London – Regensburg – Indien. Die Einbindung bayerischer Städte in den Luftverkehr 1919–1933, Kallmünz 2017,, and Julia Mattern, Dörfer nach der Gebietsreform: Die Auswirkungen der kommunalen Neuordnung auf kleine Gemeinden in Bayern (1978–2008), Regensburg 2020.↩︎

  • Kramer, “Landesgeschichte,” 216.↩︎

  • Keijo Viljanen, Zum Wortschatz der wirtschaftlichen Integration nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg in Europa: Eine terminologische Untersuchung, Turku 1984, 137–143, 194. A contemporary account is available in, for example, Kurt Birrenbach, “Europe, the European Economic Community and the Outer Seven,” International Journal 15 (1960): 59–65. The language of this narrative, at least, is still present in, for instance, Wolfram Kaiser, “Das Europa der ‘äußeren Sieben’: Die ‘surcharge’-Krise der Europäischen Freihandelsgemeinschaft im Herbst 1964,” published 2016, in Themenportal Europäische Geschichte, URL: (last accessed March 7, 2021).↩︎

  • Ferdinand Kramer, “Zur regionalen Dimension der europäischen Geschichte,” Blätter für deutsche Landesgeschichte 147 (2011): 1–6, here 2.↩︎

  • Rutz, “Landesgeschichte,” 117.↩︎

  • Jana Osterkamp, “Föderale Schwebelage: Die Habsburgermonarchie als politisches Mehrebenensystem,” in Gerold Ambrosius et al. (eds.), Föderalismus in vergleichender historischer Perspektive, vol. 2, Föderale Systeme: Kaiserreich – Donaumonarchie – Europäische Union, Baden-Baden 2015, 197–219, here 198 and 214.↩︎

  • Udo Schäfer, “Rechtsvielfalt und Rechtseinheit in Europa. Zum Einfluss des europäischen Rechts auf das nationale Archivwesen,” Archivalische Zeitschrift 88 (2006): 819–846, here 822–824. Georg Schmidt, Der Dreißigjährige Krieg, 9th ed., Munich 2018, 7 and 22.↩︎

  • Karl Härter, “Der Immerwährende Reichstag (1663–1806) in der historischen Forschung,” zeitenblicke 11, no. 2 (January 30, 2013), URL: (last accessed March 7, 2021).↩︎

  • Klaus Kremb, “Macht und Gegenmacht im mittelalterlichen Mehrebenensystem. Das römisch-deutsche Königtum Richards von Cornwall als Beispiel prekärer Staatlichkeit im Interregnum,” in Anton Neugebauer et al. (eds.), Richard von Cornwall. Römisch-deutsches Königtum in nachstaufischer Zeit, Kaiserslautern 2010, 267–280; Jörg Broschek, Der kanadische Föderalismus. Eine historisch-institutionalistische Analyse, Wiesbaden 2009, 111; Felix Selgert, “Die politische Entscheidungsfindung im Mehrebenensystem des Deutschen Kaiserreichs am Beispiel des Aktienrechts (1873–1897),” in Gerold Ambrosius/Christian Henrich-Franke/CorneliusNeutsch (eds.), Föderalismus in historisch vergleichender Perspektive, vol. 6: Integrieren durch Regieren, Baden-Baden 2018, 151–196.↩︎

  • Rolf Grawert et al. (eds.), Offene Staatlichkeit. Festschrift für Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde zum 65. Geburtstag, Berlin 1995; Rainer Wahl, “Der offene Staat und seine Rechtsgrundlagen,” Juristische Schulung 43 (2003): 1145–1150.↩︎

  • Axel Gotthard, Das Alte Reich. 1495–1806, Darmstadt 2003, 2f., cf. also Axel Gotthard, Der Dreißigjährige Krieg: Eine Einführung, Cologne 2016, 299f.↩︎

  • Georg Schmidt, “Freisein unter Zwang? Die alte, die neue und die deutsche Freiheit,” in Daniel Fulda et al. (eds.), Freiheit und Zwang: Studien zu ihrer Interdependenz von der Aufklärung bis zur Gegenwart, Paderborn 2018, 77–96, here 95.↩︎

  • Stefan Esders and Gunnar Folke Schuppert, Mittelalterliches Regieren in der Moderne oder modernes Regieren im Mittelalter?, Baden-Baden 2015, 17.↩︎

  • Wolfgang Reinhard, Geschichte der Staatsgewalt: Eine vergleichende Verfassungsgeschichte Europas von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, Munich 2002, 27–29.↩︎

  • For example, the “framework legislation” of the imperial diet, the “commissioned administration” by the imperial estates, and the participation of the estates in decision-making in the provincial, district, and imperial diets. Johannes Burkhardt, “Wer hat Angst vor den Reichskreisen? Problemaufriss und Lösungsvorschlag,” in Wolfgang Wüst and Michael Müller (eds.), Reichskreise und Regionen im frühmodernen Europa. Horizonte und Grenzen im spatial turn, Frankfurt am Main 2011, 39–60, here 49. Karl Härter, “Das Recht des Alten Reiches: Reichsherkommen, Reichsgesetzgebung und ‘gute Policey,’” in Stephan Wendehorst and Siegrid Westphal (eds.), Lesebuch Altes Reich, Munich 2014, 87–94, here 92f.↩︎

  • Peter Claus Hartmann, “Subsidiarität, politische Willensbildung und Repräsentation im frühneuzeitlichen Alten Reich,” in Wolfgang Wüst (ed.), Mitregieren und Herrschaftsteilung in der Frühen Neuzeit. Beiträge zur Machtfrage im Alten Reich und in Bayern, Stegaurach 2016, 41–53, here 44.↩︎

  • See, for example, Thomas O. Hueglin, Early Modern Concepts for a Late Modern World: Althusius on Community and Federalism, Waterloo (Ontario) 1999, 3–6; Flavio G. I. Inocencio, Reconceptualizing Sovereignty in the Post-National State. Statehood Attributes in the International Order: The Federal Tradition, Bloomington 2014, 98.↩︎

  • Ludwig Petry, In Grenzen unbegrenzt: Möglichkeiten und Wege der geschichtlichen Landeskunde. Jahresgabe des Instituts für geschichtliche Landeskunde an der Universität Mainz 1961, Mainz 1961.↩︎

  • Reinhard Stauber, “Regionalgeschichte versus Landesgeschichte? Entwicklung und Bewertung von Konzepten der Erforschung von ‘Geschichte in kleinen Räumen,’” Geschichte und Region / Storia e Regione 3 (1994): 227–260, here 246.↩︎

  • Ott, “Raumkonzepte,” 114f. Important steps towards abandoning a “container geography” in social geography were taken by Benno Werlen, Sozialgeographie alltäglicher Regionalisierungen, vol. 2: Globalisierung, Region und Regionalisierung, Stuttgart 1997.↩︎

  • Alois Schmid, “Interterritoriale Landesgeschichte. Die Beziehungen Bayerns zum Benelux-Raum im Alten Reich,” in Alois Schmid, Neue Wege der bayerischen Landesgeschichte, Wiesbaden 2008, 37–76, here 43.↩︎

  • Michael Ruck, “‘Mehrebenensystem’” – ein Impuls für die Landesgeschichte im 21. Jahrhundert?,” Zeitschrift für bayerische Landesgeschichte 84 (2021), 11–24, here 23f.↩︎

  • This article is a translation and was originally published in German as:

    Alexander Wegmaier, “Das Potential des ʹMehrebenensystemsʹ für die Landesgeschichte”, in Zeitschrift für bayerische Landesgeschichte 84 (2021), 25-75.