Most of the time, regions lack attention in the shadow of their big “parents”, the nations, when it comes to EU policy. Nevertheless, debates and discourses on regions seem to heat up regularly, when they strive for independence. What is the threshold from autonomous region to independent nation, and why is the latter an upcoming request in contemporary Europe?
The case of the Scottish referendum 2016, the blockade of Wallonia against CETA 2016, and the Catalonian crisis in 2017 are only three recent examples for the regions’ unclarified role in the current EU. Closely linked to the political role of regions is the question of their (inner and outer) borders, not only evoked by the last major political changes in Europe e.g. the fall of the iron curtain or the Yugoslavian war.
„“The boundary is not a spatial fact with sociological consequences, but a sociological fact that forms itself spatially.”“
Who or what defines a region? What relations do regions maintain with “their” cities and neighbors, but also with their nations or even the European Union? What future regions are imaginable? And how do regions cope with current challenges like globalization or populism?
The third “Krems Annual Conference on European Democracy” was also intended to be the kick-off conference to our research project “Regional Parliaments in Europe” – REGIOPARL. On the one hand, we aimed to broaden the field of knowledge on definitions of regions, on the other Hand discussed recent challenges and pressing issues regions in Europe face today.