La participación de regiones y comunidades durante las presidencias rotatorias federales de la Unión Europea en 2010.

GT 5.1 Veinticinco años de España en la UE: Cambio institucional y elaboración de políticas europeizadas en los niveles central y autonómico

Régis Dandoy (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
Jorge Tuñón Navarro

The theoretical development in several social disciplines identifies a transformation of the functionality of sub-state governments. It has been argued that regions progressively acquire functions of representation, legitimacy and governability within the state, at national but also at international scale. Furthermore, it has been claimed that the European Union (EU) rotating presidencies (which still co-exists even with the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon) constitute such an interesting opportunity for the Member States to –during a six months period- highlight their own interests, at European scale. And thus, influencing the EU political agenda. Within this context, we will seek to underline how the Member States regional participation affects the different EU presidencies.

The 2010 presidency is characterised by the overlap between agendas coming from three different policy levels (European, national, regional). Having the EU presidency is not only the occasion of promoting its country but also to find a European-wide solution and/or support to specific national and regional issues. In the Spanish and Belgian cases, as the national agenda is heavily determined by the regional issues, these issues therefore manage, especially during the EU presidency, to – directly or indirectly – reach the European level. This paper intends to study the agenda-setting capacities of the Spanish regions (autonomous communities) but also of the Belgian regions and communities at the EU level during the presidency. The EU presidency is for the Spanish/Belgian regions a unique opportunity to influence both the national and the European levels.

Hence, the objective of this research will be to assess the influence of the regional institutional actors (regional parliaments, cabinets and representation offices in Brussels) on the main priorities and policies of the countries’ presidency of the EU. Very little scientific research has been done on the study of the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU and, to our knowledge; nothing has ever been done around the involvement of the regional actors in such process. Our aim is therefore to fill in this gap in the political science literature by identifying the key regional actors in the Presidency of the EU and drawing conclusions from the comparison of the recent experiences of two highly regionalised countries, this is the Spanish (January – June 2010) and Belgian (July – December 2010) presidencies. This attempt constitutes an innovative and unique opportunity to fully study the impact of the regions on the presidency of the Council of the EU (the next presidencies of the EU for Spain and Belgium are scheduled in 2023).