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The Effect of a Changed European Union on Local and Regional Venue Shopping

Marcel Kiers

In the 1990s many regions within the European Union embraced the concept of a Europe of the Regions. The absence of a clear definition of such an Europe and of the challenges involved for the regions (and cities), was not an obstacle for this concept to emerge and to obtain visionary proportions. By the beginning of the new millennium, the 'hype' associated with Europe of the Regions had faded. Whatever images did exist of the concept, is seemed that none of them had actually materialized. Since the beginning of the new millennium the EU has gone through a period of profound changes. The term New Europe comprises the new dynamics of European integration since 2004. These dynamics include an enlarged and more heterogeneous Europe, but also an EU with a revised institutional set-up and a different socio-economic context given the fiscal crisis and its aftermath. Regions and cities became part of the European reality and are one of the many actors in the game of European multilevel politics. They have earned their place within the institutional structure of the EU and do not find themselves in a 'privileged' position as was envisioned in the Europe of the Regions. The paper explores in what way this changed setting affected the process of venue shopping (as a dynamic version of lobbying) for local and regional authorities. The key question is: has the New-Europe led to different strategic choices when it comes to the attempts to influence the EU-decision making process?

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