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Regionalism and Sub-Regional Representation: A Guide to the County Transformation of Croatia

Vedran Đulabić orcid id ; Pravni fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu
Dario Čepo ; Pravni fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 177 Kb

str. 539-568

preuzimanja: 650



The aim of the paper is to explore regionalism and the representation of sub-regional identities in a regional institutional-setting. The main research question is how large political regions should be and how various sub-regional identities should be represented in the institutional structure of these regions, mainly in representative bodies as the main democratic institutions of representative democracy. Do larger regions allow the preservation of particular sub-regional identities or are these identities completely absorbed by a wider regional identity? How have sub-regional identities been represented in the institutional structure of wider regions? This is especially important for Croatia as it struggles and repeatedly fails to introduce a territorial restructuring of the meso-level of its local government (counties) and to increase the size of its counties by transforming them into regions, in parallel with a stronger push towards decentralisation. The academic community and the general public have been advocating the transformation of 20 counties into a smaller number (mostly five) of larger and stronger regions, but opposition has come from interest groups connected with the current county system, including local political elites. The paper focuses on ways to overcome some of the stronger disagreements over the potential “bundling”, or amalgamation, of areas with differing and idiosyncratic cultural, political, historic, and socio-economic heritages into a greater region. Therefore, a comparative analysis of sub-regional representations in selected European countries is used to show a way to resolve the impasse. The analysis covers parliaments and sub-regional
representation in Scotland, Wales, England, and Poland. The paper is divided into five parts. The introduction is followed by an analysis of the interconnectedness of the political ideology of regionalism and regionalisation as an effort to introduce regions into the institutional architecture of a particular country. Part three deals with sub-regional representation and identity formation as a particularly important issue of regionalisation, and creating bigger political regions comprised of several local communities, which often have a stronger sub-regional
political and social identity. Part four deals with the need in Croatian society, advocated by various actors (e.g. the academic community, the media, the general public, and some smaller political parties), to reform the current county structure, which is perceived as too fragmented and not suitable for the performance of tasks connected with the regional government tier. The concluding part combines the previously elaborated arguments and sketches the main points that could lead to the potential reorganisation of the Croatian county structure. The
paper shows that by employing innovative institutional changes and focusing sub-regional differences in a regional representative body, there can be a move towards the regional spaces definition of regionalisation, where sub-regions, such as Istria or Rijeka might see commonalities with one another and with neighbouring sub-regions. This would then make logical the idea of the amalgamation of sub-regions into a larger and more successful meso-region.

Ključne riječi

regionalism, regionalisation, sub-regional representation, regional parliaments, counties, Croatia, local government

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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