UC Law SF International Law Review


The process of European integration has been accompanied by a movement towards decentralization and devolution of power in many states within the European Union (EU). Subnational governments like L.nder, regions, or autonomous communities are seeking increased participation in the design and implementation of EU policies and in EU-level institutions. This Article explores the role of regions within the EU. It considers why subnational governments have assumed a growing role in European affairs, summarizes the mechanisms available in the most decentralized states for subnational input into EU policy formulation and implementation. It then focuses on the institutional mechanisms devised to allow subnational governments a greater role in EU affairs. These include the "subsidiarity" principle, other treaty innovations, and especially the Committee of Regions established in the 1992 Treaty on European Union. The Article evaluates the Committee's structure, operation and impact, and its potential role within an expanded, more heterogeneous European Union.