Politisk integration och gränsöverskridande regionbildning i Europa
Sammanfattning: This study starts out with the hypothesis that the integration process in Europe is connected to cross-border régionalisation, a process which supports the institutionalization of subnational cross-border cooperation - region-building. Cross-border régionalisation is characterized by the decentralisation of vertical links and enhanced opportunities for horizontal links across state borders. In addition, political integration is expected to have some impact on the cross-border institutional forms that emerge at the subnational level. Three different approaches are utilized in order to establish the empirical connection between political integration and region-building. These are: an analysis of the factors which determine the general pattern of cross-border cooperation in Europe, an analysis of the policy network related to the regional and structural policies of the European Union (EU), and case studies of cooperation in the heartland of Europe, the Regio Basiliensis along the external border of the EU, and the EUREGIO along one of the internal borders.Two institutional factors are found to have a significant impact on the number of subnational cross-border cooperations, EU-membership and centrality. Federal constitution was shown not to be significant. It is suggested that the interaction between actors at different politico- administrative levels creates network relations, which typically bring both private and public actors together. More precisely, region-building is described as the outcome of the interaction which takes place between actors. A closer examination of the emerging policy network shows that community initiatives, the Interreg-programme in particular, improve the prospects for multilevel interaction. The EU plays a crucial role in providing the incentives for cooperation by increasing resource dependency and by establishing direct ties between the European Commission and a large number of subnational actors through partnerships. It appears as if the Commission wishes to demonstrate its capacity to deal with problems relevant to individual citizens. By, in part, bypassing central governments, it seems to increase its own importance vis- à-vis member states. The modus vivendi of cross-border region-building and régionalisation is the degree to which institutional actors at different levels share the same objectives. As shown by the case studies, there is a common interest in cross-border cooperation up to the point were public statues are introduced. Interests seem to coincide as long as the structures and contents of cross-border cooperation do not ultimately challenge the authority of state institutions. Therefore, it is not surprising that it seems impossible to give cross-border regions any rights under international law. Functional cooperation, rather than regionalist manifestations of cultural or political unity across borders, constitutes the backbone of region-building. Activities transcending borders are less controversial than those that may contribute to the establishment of new borders.It is concluded that region-building is a process which is embedded in the institutionalization of a multi-level interaction pattern. More favourable multilevel relations have been achieved through the transfer of some authority to the supranational level. This is the main reason why traditional integration theory fails to explain why there is a connection between political integration and cross-border cooperation.
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