The Impact of the Cohesion Policies on the 'Form of Union'
Perspectives on Federalism, Vol. 1, Single Issue, 2009
25 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2008 Last revised: 3 Sep 2013
Date Written: August 14, 2009
From a “formalistic” point of view Regions have been traditionally neglected in the EU law context.
To define such a situation the German constitutional lawyers used the formula “Landesblindheit” (legal blindness towards the territorial subnational entities). This is confirmed in the Treaties (specifically in Article 10, ECT), where it can be seen that the subjects of the Community legal order are the states, as holders of the duty to collaborate with each other, which is instrumental for guaranteeing the effectiveness of the supranational law. It could well be argued that this “regional carelessness” constitutes just one “element” of the democratic deficit of the EU.
Starting from a “broad” concept of the democratic gap (i.e. focused not only on the question of the EU Parliament’s powers) we can in fact conceive the absence of a strong legal status for the Regions as one of the most important “constitutional wounds” of the EU.
Against this legal background, the cohesion policies have given Regions a very important role in the economic dynamics of the EC/EU, forcing the political actors to “deal” with the regional blindness.
On the other hand, some political scientists have identified cases of negative effects of the cohesion policies on the form of the Union like, for example, the presumed improvement of the role of non-elected/bureaucratic actors at local level.
Keywords: Landesblindheit, multilevel governance, cohesion policies, Form of Union, democratic deficit
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