Moore, Carolyn. (2007) A Europe of the Regions vs. the Regions in Europe: reflections on regional engagement in Brussels. In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)
[From the introduction]. This paper addresses the somewhat paradoxical situation whereby on the one hand, the concept of a "Europe of the Regions" has largely been discredited and has generally fallen out of favour, whilst at the same time, the level of regional engagement in Europe continues to grow at an exponential rate. Regions themselves continue to operate actively in Europe. The number of offices in Brussels representing regional authorities from member states has grown exponentially over the past twenty years (Jeffery, 1997; Bomberg and Peterson, 1998; Heichlinger, 1999; Moore, 2006a). Regions from the new member states have been racing to set up representative bureaux in Brussels and thus to get ahead of 'the competition' or at least, be in the game. Beyond this, the older and more established regional representations are expanding their capacity in Brussels by deploying more resources, hiring more staff and moving to larger, better-located premises in the city (Moore, 2006b). The question this paper seeks to answer is how we can best explain this paradox. Why should the 'Europe of the Regions' be such a marginal idea when there is clear evidence to support a stronger and increasingly mobilised regional level establishing itself at the heart of the decision-making centre in Brussels? What contribution does a regional presence in Brussels make to territorial politics? How is regional engagement in EU affairs manifesting itself and what are the implications for the future of regional Europe? These core questions underpin the reflections presented in this paper. In seeking to address this paradox, the paper is structured into three sections. The first section considers the institutional dimension of regional engagement in Brussels, arguing that the presence of a regional grouping around the EU decision-makers contributes substantially to regional interest mediation. The permanence of this engagement can be regarded as the institutionalisation of a regional voice in Brussels. The second section then addresses the scope and extent of that regional voice, examining the core measures by which we can identify an increasing presence for regional actors within the EU. It considers the 'value added' of this regional grouping both to the EU decision-makers and to key actors within the home regions. The third section of the paper then focuses on the fact that a number of different clusters of regional actors are emerging within the Brussels arena today. Analysis of divergent roles and strategies provides further explanation for the declining salience of the concept of a "Europe of the Regions", given the contrasting aims and agendas of different types of regional actors.
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