Regions with regionalism? The rescaling of interest groups in six European states

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Abstract

In many European countries a regional or meso level of government has emerged, with significant policy responsibilities. It has been suggested that the representation of social and economic interests has not followed, so that policy communities remain state-wide, giving ‘regions without regionalism’. This study of interest groups in six European states examines their adaptation to devolution, focusing on organisation, cognitive change and relationships. It finds there has been a regionalisation of interest representation, but it is uneven, depending on the strength of regional government, territorial identities and the interests of social actors. Business, trades unions, farmer organisations and environmental groups are all cross-pressured on the regional question. The region is emerging in some cases as a site of interest intermediation. Territorial policy communities are emerging in some regions, but in most cases these supplement, rather than replace, state-wide policy communities.

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