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European Integration from a Local Government Perspective - Theoretical Considerations

Marius Guderjan

National governments remain the key players in the EU policy-cycle, however, during the last two decades a number of local authorities across Europe have become important actors within the European integration process. Their involvement does not only cover implementation of EU legislation and allocation of funding, depending on their resources and the role of agents, such as municipal associations and networks, local authorities have started to actively engage with the EU's institutions in order to promote their own agendas, as well as to conduct projects with their counterparts in other member states for the purpose of exchanging experience and identification of common agendas. Most studies of the relationship between the local level and the EU focus on single authorities or certain policy areas, while a comprehensive theoretical framework for the study of integration from a local government perspective has not been established yet. This paper thus provides some initial considerations on which empirical realities such a framework would need to address and how it can be linked to the 'bigger' picture of the EU's evolution. Thereby, the Fusion approach as introduced by Wolfgang Wessels and further developed by Lee Miles offers valuable insights of the trajectories of integration to which the study of local government can be linked.

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