Lynch, Peter. (2007) Organising for a Europe of the Regions: The European Free Alliance-DPPE and Political Representation in the European Union. In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)
[From the introduction]. For a period in the later 1980s and early 1990s, the idea of a Europe of the regions gained political prominence within the European Union. The idea of a Europe of the regions was an old one, but it was given contemporary resonance in this period due to the European Union’s structural fund reforms in 1988 which gave a new level of prominence to regional governments, with those regional governments also seeking some level of institutional representation within the EU. The outcome of this pressure was twofold: the creation of the Committee of the Regions as a consultative body within the EU (Loughlin 1996, Kennedy 1997), comprised of members of local and regional authorities, and the passage of the Treaty of European Union (Maastricht), which gave regional governments the constitutional ability to represent Member State interests within the Council of Ministers. For regional governments (as well as local governments), there was now a level of institutional recognition in the EU, with efforts to improve the regional level at subsequent EU treaty revisions at Amsterdam, Nice and then with the Convention on the Future of Europe. At this latter juncture, some regional governments had grouped together to establish the Congress of Local And Regional Authorities in Europe in 1999. This body sought to promote the interest of ‘constitutional regions’ in the EU – meaning those regions with strong powers and the ability to make legislation. This organisation also gave birth to REGLEG (Regions with legislative powers) and sought to promote greater representation for constitutional regions in the EU, a defined role for the regions in the EU constitution, a clear definition of powers and functions between the EU, national and subnational level, a strengthening of the Committee of the Regions and a direct right of appeal for regions to the European Court of Justice (Lynch 2004).
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