European Union membership status and decentralization: a top-down approach

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Despite state resilience and the waning of the ‘Europe of the Regions’, European integration persists in affecting subnational actors. Subnational actors have maintained lobbying offices in Brussels to access European Union institutions while others have continued to organize around regionalist parties in the European Parliament. This study explores whether and how EU membership has influenced decentralization. I argue that states exposed to Europeanization, candidates and members of the EU, decentralize more compared to non-EU states. Quantitative tests using recent data on regional authority and three case studies of France, Poland, and Spain provide support for this argument. This article contributes to the research on Europeanization and multilevel governance by focusing on state-level motivations for decentralization. This study’s findings allude to the need of examining how other facets of European integration affect subnational actors and investigating variations in decentralization between EU member-states.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRegional and Federal Studies
Early online date27 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jun 2019


  • decentralization
  • European Union
  • Europeanization
  • regional authority
  • self-rule
  • shared rule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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