This work considers the role of local government in 13 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The book aims to provide an account of the system of local government in each of the countries studied along with a critical and contextual approach to the level of autonomy that local government enjoys. The approach is comparative, based on a questionnaire which all of the authors considered. There is then a detailed conclusion to the book which offers a detailed summary and comparative analysis of the responses in order to better consider the role of local authorities as the ‘fourth level’ of governance in the EU. The book aims to offer a detailed introduction to and account of each system of local government which may appeal to those seeking an overview of the area, but also a critical and contextual approach that will be of interest to those actively researching in the areas of local and regional government or EU-central-local government relations. The book contains details of reform in local government up to November 2012, including an analysis of the impact of austerity measures on local autonomy where these have become significant.
Introduction: The Local Government in the EU Multi-Layered System of Governance, Panara and Varney 1. Municipalities as the "Third Tier" of Austrian Federalism, Harald Eberhard 2. Local Governance in Belgium: A ‘Catch 22’ Between Autonomy and Hierarchy, Alexander De Becker 3. Local Self-Government in the Czech Republic: History, Current Position, Prospective Evolution, Richard Pomahač 4. Territorial Decentralisation in France: Towards Autonomy and Democracy, Irène Couzigou 5. Local Government in Germany: An Indispensable Level of EU Governance, Eike Michael Frenzel 6. Local Authorities in Greece: Organisation, Recent Trends, European Integration, Reform, and the "Kapodistrias" Tendency, Grigoris Avdikos 7. Local Government in Hungary: A Creeping Centralisation?, Zoltán Szente 8. Organisation and Responsibilities of the Local Authorities in Italy Between Unity and Autonomy, Stefano Villamena 9. Local Authorities in the Polder – Dutch Municipalities and Provinces. 10. Local Government in Poland: Towards Consolidation?, Boguslaw Banaszak 11. Ungovernable Spain: Regional Subsidiarity and the Crisis of Local Governance, Gonzalo Villalta Puig 12. Local Government in Sweden: Flexibility and Independence in a Unitary State, Vilhelm Persson 13. Local Government in England: Localism Delivered?, Michael Varney 14. Conclusion: The Contribution of Local Self-Government to Constitutionalism in the Member States and in the EU Multi-Layered System of Governance, Carlo Panara and Michael R. Varney