Regionalism as a driver of European regions’ activity in their relations with national authorities

Regionalism as a driver of European regions’ activity in their relations with national authorities

Sulimov K.A.,

Perm State University, Perm, Russia; Perm Federal Research Center of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Perm, Russia,

elibrary_id: 165171 | ORCID: 0000-0003-4277-3135 | RESEARCHER_ID: N9455-2018

Article received: 2021.12.27. Accepted: 2022.06.17
DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2022.06.04

For citation:

Sulimov K.A. Regionalism as a driver of European regions’ activity in their relations with national authorities. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No. 6. P. 38-54. (In Russ.).

This work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation under Grant no. 19-18-00053 “Subnational Regionalism and Dynamics of Multi-Level Politics (Russian and European Practices)”, Perm Federal Research Center of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.


Over the past decades, decentralization has become one of the driving forces in the institutional transformation of EU member states. Regions have achieved greater authority both in their own power (self-rule) and in their involvement in decision-making at the national level (shared-rule). Nevertheless, the use of these powers varies greatly across the regions from both a national and a subnational perspective. There is a good reason to suppose that regionalism, which is defined as a movement seeking greater regional autonomy and is primarily expressed by regionalist parties, is one of the main factors of this variability. Testing this hypothesis, we focus on two instruments of shared-rule, the rights of the regions to submit legislative initiatives to the national parliament, and to appeal to the constitutional court against the national authorities. We identified all regionalist parties and their strength in regional legislatures (77 parties in 34 regions), regional initiatives (2610) and appeals (1444) over 2001-2020 in Italy, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland, where all the regions have these rights. OLS regression confirms that the strength of regionalist parties has a positive and statistically significant impact on the activity of the regions in both legislative initiatives and appeals to the court, in combination with the less significant influence of such factors as resource capacity and regional specificities. At the same time, we find substantial cross-national differences in using two instruments of shared-rule.

regionalism, regionalist parties, regions, Italy, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, regional legislative initiative, constitutional court, multilevel politics.

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Content No. 6, 2022

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