Local and regional power: its role in European Integration and the protection of the rule of law


  • Bruno Miguel de Lima Saraiva University of Minho




Regions, subsidiarity, European integration, rule of law


A failure in administrative approximation, as established by the EU Treaties, tends towards the perpetuation of systems that keep an organisational statu quo favorable to the stagnation of European integration by limiting its spread beyond urban areas to rural areas. The phenomena of asymmetric economic development within Member States, in turn, allows for the maintenance of this organisational and integrative inertia in highly centralised Member States, serving as a one of the engines for the development of anti-EU sentiment and vote. In this sense the reasoning behind the establishment of local and regional power as a constitutional bulwark against the development of an illiberal or authoritarian list, especially in young democracies, becomes especially important when framed in context with the growth of authoritarian anti-EU movements throughout Europe. This growth, finding an eager bulwark in rural areas, is not coincidental and might be attributed to the distance from the decision-making process that local and regional government struggle with, combined with economic stagnation and difficulties in the use of resources and opportunities that are theoretically afforded by EU membership, leads to the development of anti-EU sentiment, offering political support and democratic legitimacy to projects which oppose the EU and prove detrimental to democratic systems. This paper therefore posits that to safeguard the development of the greater European project and democracy within Member States, there must be an expansion of the very same principles that govern the interactions between Member States and the EU to the subnational level, with a special focus on subsidiarity.


Download data is not yet available.




How to Cite

de Lima Saraiva, B. M. (2021). Local and regional power: its role in European Integration and the protection of the rule of law. UNIO – EU Law Journal, 7(1), 82-95. https://doi.org/10.21814/unio.7.1.3573