European integration and regionalism are two developments which are altering the architecture of the western European state. Their combined effects have created new forms of politics. Much has been written on the Europe of the regions (Petschen 1993) which some observers think, or hope, will rival or even displace the Europe of states. Others have written of new forms of 'multilevel governance' (Scharpf 1994; Marks 1992, 1993) or third-level politics (Bullman 1994). In this chapter we examine the emergence of the region in the context of the state and of the European Union. Then we look at the links between regions and the EU and the influence of regions in EU policy-making. We find that, rather than a new and ordered territorial hierarchy, there is a complex mixture of different territorial units. Policy continues to be focused on the state, but this is penetrated by European and regional influences.
The emergence of the region as a level of politics and government has been a response to impulses from 'below' and from 'above. States have regionalised their systems of government in the pursuit of modernisation and rationalisation. From the 1960s, they have engaged in regional policies aimed at correcting territorial imbalances in economic development. Diversionary policies based on fiscal incentives gradually gave way to more elaborate forms of regional planning, involving the state and regionally-based political and economic actors. From below, there have been demands for decentralisation in the name of efficiency and democracy, and for recognition of the historic and cultural specificities of regions and minority nations. The interplay between top-down and bottom-up regionalism produced its own dynamic. Regions discovered their own territorial identities, encouraged by state policies which invited them to articulate their demands in spatial terms. For their part, states sought to control the evolution of regionalism, engaging in ever more elaborate forms of territorial management, including spatial development policies, administrative and, in some cases political, decentralisation, systems of intergovernmental co-operation, clientelism and policy differentiation. In some cases, the effort to balance state needs with the emerging regional politics produced a crisis of territorial representation, especially where the new territorial politics coincided with a crisis of the national party system or the central regime (Keating 1988).