This book explores how regional political parties use Europe to advance their territorial projects in times of rapid state restructuring. It examines the ways in which decentralisation and supranational integration have encouraged regional parties to pursue their strategies across multiple territorial levels. The book constitutes the first attempt to unravel the complexities of how nationalist and statewide parties manoeuvre around the twin issues of European integration and decentralisation, and exploit the shifting linkages within multi-level political systems. In a detailed comparative examination of three cases—Scotland, Bavaria and Sardinia—over a thirty-year period, it explores how integration has altered the nature of territorial party competition and identifies the limits of Europe for territorial projects. In addressing these issues, this work moves beyond present scholarship on multi-level governance to explain the diversity of regional responses to Europe. It provides insights and empirical research on the conduct of territorial party politics, and a model of territorial mobilisation in Europe.
The cyclical nature of territorial strategies in Europe
This chapter reviews the cyclical nature of territorial strategies in the three cases. It explains variation in responses to Europe, exploring why some parties perceived Europe as a means of advancing autonomy, whilst others viewed it as a threat. It also summarises the different interpretations of building ‘capacity’ in Europe—which has meant influence over central policy-making in Scotland, protection of competences in Bavaria, and increased resources in Sardinia. The discussion also explores parties' changing attitudes to European integration over time. In particular, it considers why parties became more Eurosceptical at the end of the 1990s. The concluding section makes more generalisable statements about territorial mobilisation in Europe by extending the model developed herein to other cases of regional mobilisation in Catalonia, Galicia, Flanders, Wales, South Tyrol and elsewhere.
This chapter introduces the main themes of the book, which are all related to looking at regional party strategies in Europe. The main focus of this book is on the variety of ways in which regional parties have responded to and used European integration in their pursuit of territorial interests. There are a number of issues that are considered in this analysis, such as regional party ‘adaptation’ to European integration and identification with the EU; the salience of the European dimension in party programmes, discourse and strategies; and party utilisation of Europe-wide networks to strengthen their interests. This chapter considers the decentralising of the state; the territorialisation of political parties; regions in an integrating Europe; the Europeanisation of political parties; multi-level governance; multi-dimensional party competition; and the framework of the analysis.
This chapter explores in depth the types of territorial strategies available to regional parties in Europe. It conceptualises territorial strategies on two separate but interrelated dimensions: ‘autonomy’ strategies, which lie on a continuum ranging from unitarism to independence; and ‘capacity’ strategies that are pursued to obtain political, socioeconomic or cultural policy benefits for the region. Thus, the discussion makes a distinction between the pursuit of (constitutional) autonomy from the state, and the capacity to act and control resources. These concepts are used to develop a framework for analysing territorial mobilisation in Europe, and party competition at the regional level. As building capacity may require more access to the state, the discussion theorises on trade-offs between autonomy and capacity.
This chapter begins with an overview of the main political traditions in Scotland, examining how party autonomy goals have been shaped by different ideological discourses. Then, it examines how parties conceptualise the ‘nation’ and Scotland's position within Britain and Europe. Next, it introduces the European dimension, with consideration of party responses to European integration since 1979. It argues that Scottish parties have continuously re-positioned themselves on Europe. In the early 1980s, Labour and the SNP opposed European integration as a Conservative free-market project that would undermine Scottish values. This changed in the late 1980s with a new emphasis on the social and political dimensions of integration. Labour and the Liberal Democrats began to view subsidiarity as intrinsic to Scottish devolution, whilst the SNP re-conceptualised the EU as an alternative arena to the UK for security and trading opportunities.
This chapter shows that, whilst all parties are unquestionably pro-European, this masks a growth of scepticism about what Europe can do for Bavarians, and where its limits should be drawn. Demands for a ‘Europe of the Regions’ were motivated by the fear that European integration was encroaching on Länder competences. In response, the Christian Social Union proposed that regional rights must be protected in Europe, and used this argument to lobby for a Committee of the Regions. However, the weakness of this body, and the expansion of European competences into ever-wider areas, forced the CSU to adopt a different strategy: to protect the ‘hard shell’ of the member state, which also meant protecting the Länder. Meanwhile, opposition parties sought to counter the CSU's strategy by arguing that a regionalised Europe should mean strengthening the local level against Bavarian state centralisation.
This chapter explores why European integration was linked to hopes for economic modernisation in Sardinia, but failed to have any resonance as a political opportunity structure for pursuing self-determination. Demands for self-determination were only loosely linked to processes of integration and regionalisation in Europe. Instead, the primary concern was breaking Sardinia's dependence on Roman patronage, becoming economically self-sufficient, and seeking to exercise Sardinian autonomy in a Mediterranean political framework, where Sardinia could act as a ‘bridge’ between Europe and Northern Africa. This option was much more attractive than trying to increase Sardinia's influence in the distant political and economic centres of Europe.