Western European Politics
Assess the arguments for and against a ‘Europe of the regions’
A ‘Europe of the Regions’ seems to be a phrase, which encourages the dissolution of states in favour of smaller regional identities. A region can be defined by four criteria: a region does not have a limited size; it displays homogeneity in terms of specific criteria; it may also be distinguished from bordering areas by a particular kind of association of related features; and it should possess some kind of internal cohesion.
Since the passage of the Single European Act: “the goal of economic and social cohesion has become a central part of the debate on the prospect for an impact of economic integration and monetary union on member states and regions in the European Community.” The definition of cohesion, in the Single European Act, is the attenuation of the disparities between the well off regions and the least favoured ones. Some member states have shown more interest and have provided more freedom to regions than others. The importance and the autonomy of regions have been significantly increasing over the years. This implies that all regions in Europe are facing the need for adjustment and for instance they must develop their own response shaped by their social context. Therefore in response to the development of regional dimension of Community affairs, the Commission in 1988 decided to establish the Consultative Council of Regional Development.
Because of the sudden significance of regions, many sub-national levels of government have formed direct lines of communication with decision-making in Brussels. There are definite positive assets in a ‘Europe of regions’. However there are also lots of disadvantages for some regions. In this essay, I will be discussing the arguments for and against a ‘Europe of regions’.
There are a lot of positive aspects of a ‘Europe of regions’; here are some examples of such.
All regions are looking for competitive advantage. The most important factor for the latter is innovation. Therefore regions and the European institutions are now working together with national government to promote regional growth. Indeed there is a strong need for adjustment because of the new global conditions: no regions have been totally immuned to the pressure of global competition. The increase in globalisation of markets has changed the environment of the European companies, making them face intensive price, time and quality competition abroad but also at home.
To stay competitive regions have to innovate. This concept is used in connection with the analysis of processes of technological change. Once can state three different stages in technological change: invention, innovation and diffusion. “Invention is defined as the stage of production of new knowledge; innovation as the first application of the existing knowledge to production; and diffusion as the broadening use of new technologies.” An innovation system is...