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Edited by Gabriele Abels and Jan Battke

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Regional Governance in the EU

Regions and the Future of Europe

Edited by Gabriele Abels and Jan Battke

The role of regions in the European Union has been frequently debated since the 1980s. This comprehensive book provides a thorough overview of the issue from a variety of perspectives, analysing regional governance and territorial dynamics in the EU and its member states. Focusing on the implications of the democratisation–regionalisation nexus, it argues that a ‘Europe with the regions’ may promote good governance and ameliorate the democratic deficits of the EU.
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Marc Sanjaume-Calvet

This chapter offers a comparative perspective on citizenship and identity in Switzerland, Canada and Spain and compares these cases in relation to the EU. Switzerland has managed to bring together diverse identities in a historical process that has seen the transformation of confederalism into federalism; Canada has evolved towards an advanced form of federalism while dealing with internal minorities and First Nations and a major constitutional reform; Spain, in parallel to democratisation, has developed a regionalised model with some federal characteristics in a political context marked by political tensions and violence. Similar to these cases, the EU has to deal with diversity and can learn from three variables that are compared among the cases: constitutional inclusion of constituent units, accommodation of political identities and asymmetrical institutional arrangements in order to deal with internal minorities. The chapter concludes with some specific policy recommendations.

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Edited by Francis Cheneval and Mónica Ferrin

European Union citizenship is increasingly relevant in the context of both the refugee crisis and Brexit, yet the issue of citizenship is neither new nor unique to the EU. Using historical, political and sociological perspectives, the authors explore varied experiences of combining multiple identities into a single sense of citizenship. Cases are taken from Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. These examples of communities being successfully incorporated into one entity are exceptionally useful for addressing the challenges facing the EU today.
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Francis Cheneval and Mónica Ferrín

This chapter contains the main lessons from the case studies and the integrative chapters on centralistic and federalist solutions to conflicting claims to citizenship and identity. The models of Canada and Switzerland come closest to the EU integration process as they protect diversity while upholding common institutions. But the chapter also highlights the volume’s findings concerning unitary states. The strategy of de-complexification was not successful in creating a homogenous nation in Estonia, Turkey or Czechia and contradicts the declared values of the EU. However, a diversified political identity can be constructed within a unitary state, because not all issues that concern citizens relate to ethnicity and the state can accommodate many claims by protecting public goods. How individual and collective political rights can be balanced is something that both unitary and federal states struggle with from different starting points.

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Vít Hloušek

The Czech Republic embodies a remarkable exception to the set of cases dealt with in this volume. As a nationally and ethnically rather homogenous country it does not appear to be an appropriate object of research on minority claims. The path towards the present situation, however, shows a country struggling with the multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic and multi-religious composition of its population. The chapter reads the Czech history of the second half of the twentieth century as a story of the de-complexification of the population. Furthermore, by analysing actual claims of politically relevant minority issues, such as the situation of the Czech Roma population, the chapter reveals a path dependency on experiences with previous violent unification and homogenisation of the Czech Lands and points to lessons for the European Union.

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Clara Isabel, Velasco Rico and Marc Sanjaume-Calvet

This chapter analyses how Canada deals with diversity, internal minorities and immigration and compares the country’s institutions and policies with the EU. Issues such as diversity in immigration policies, internal minorities and majorities, multiple historical interpretations and constitutional debates on how to accommodate this diversity are common both in Canada and the EU. The origins of the EU and Canada as well as their institutional structure differ; however, the capacity of the Canadian federal model to accommodate multiple citizenship regimes, the development of a decentralised immigration policy and, most importantly, the model’s multicultural approach could be a source of inspiration for the EU.

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Francis Cheneval and Mónica Ferrín

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Andrea C. Bianculli, Jacint Jordana and Siresa Lopez

This chapter assesses how the current Spanish political regime has managed to accommodate the various linguistic communities. More specifically, this chapter aims at disentangling the political dilemmas and multifaceted claims regarding linguistic policies in Spain. Linguistic policy is a subtle policy area, in which multiple layers of national identity, social conflict and value formation converge. It often creates political tensions, not only across the national and regional levels, but also within the regional arena itself. A main finding of this chapter is that the linguistic policies, which were established in Spain to manage the diversity of languages that have existed at multiple levels since democratisation, are constantly exposed to political conflicts. This is because they occur at the crossroads where different types of communities interact.

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Gaabriel Tavits

Estonia is similar to the Czech Republic insofar as it is formally a unitary state. But the Estonian case is also very particular due to the presence of a Russian minority and to a conflictive past with Russia. This chapter gives a comprehensive overview of the different economic and cultural aspects of official Estonian policies to accommodate minority claims and to integrate its population. It considers the economic, social and cultural dimensions of citizen rights and aims at a differentiated and critical evaluation of the outcomes of the policies in relation to access to justice, the labour market, housing and education.