Exploring European Union Macro-regional Strategies through the Lens of Multilevel Governance

  • Simona Piattoni
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)


The term ‘region’ is normally used to denote a subnational authority located between the national centre and the local periphery, but it is also (with increasing frequency) used to denote a space of varying size with economic, social and cultural significance. Institutional regions have precise boundaries, defined powers and belong to nation states. Spatial regions, in contrast, have fuzzy borders, informal or derivative powers and may span across nation states. ‘Regionalization’ — the process through which regions develop or acquire new prominence — is therefore a polysemic word. Regionalization can denote the process of creating free trade areas, common markets and monetary unions among sovereign states (so it is synonymous with regional integration); it can indicate the process of political or administrative devolution to institutional tiers located below the national centre (as in regional decentralization); and it can indicate the creation of intermediate entities among sovereign states and subnational governments in order to jointly carry out certain activities (also denoted as sub- or macro-regionalization, see Gänzle and Kern, chapter 1 in this volume). Finally, it can indicate more bottom-up processes that do not generate any new institutional structures but are nevertheless characterized by intensified economic, social and cultural exchanges between the people living in contiguous or distant places (Fioramonti, 2012a, 2012b). This broader phenomenon is loosely indicated as ‘cross-border cooperation’ (CBC), regardless of whether such cooperation gives rise to mere agreements, working communities or novel institutional tiers. In all cases, the aim is to reap material and symbolic benefits.


Member State Lisbon Strategy European Neighbourhood Policy Multilevel Governance Governance Architecture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Simona Piattoni 2016

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  • Simona Piattoni

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