Political Identity: territory and regions in Europe Alistair Cole Three ways of understanding regions and regionalism Ethno-territorial mobilisation Multi-level governance New Regionalism? Three approaches that might be ‘tested’ in relation to a broad variety of cases Identity and ethno-territorial mobilisation Moreno Ethno-territorial identities have developed as a result of the decline of the NationState, hollowed to the core by economic globalisation and political integration. The new politics in Europe is that of ethno-territorial mobilisation. This reflects itself in substate political institutions, distinctive party systems, language rights movements and cultural traditions and specific forms of elite accommodation. There has been renewed interest in minority nationalism, ethno-territorial mobilisation and how identity has an impact upon institutional arrangements . In Spain, in theory a unitary state, there has developed a State of Autonomies, where three ‘nations’ – Catalonia, Basque Country and Galicia – are recognised as historic nationalities in the 1978 constitution and given extended devolved powers. In the UK, the minority nationalist’ question has been nested in a broader class cleavage: in both Scotland and Wales, ‘ national’ identity came as a result of a specific feeling of class identity and of being different from the rest of the UK. If there are fashions, this is one. In Italy, a move to regional evolution has accompanied more assertive regional claims, such as that of Padania in the north. But are there other explanations. Is identity overplayed? Multi-level governance? A different approach – but one which focusses on regions – is that of multi-level governance Initially developed by Marks (1992), this approach views the European policy process as ‘a system of continuous negotiation among nested governments at several territorial tiers’ (Marks, 1993: p392). One of the strongest arguments by supporters of multi-level governance is that EU cohesion policy has transformed territorial policy styles across Europe, by encouraging and facilitating the development of new political strategies and networks, bypassing State administrations and creating new alliances between the European Commission and sub-state players. This perspective views the multi-level game played jointly by the European Commission (and latterly the European Parliament) and regional actors as a normative one, designed to ‘by-pass’ or ‘evade’ the centre qua central government, and result in an overall strengthening of both supranational and regional tiers. The multi-level governance perspective is in part a decentralisation narrative that emphasises the financing of regional and structural programmes, the institutionalisation of regional representation at EU level and the transnational activity of the regions Regions are functional spaces, in this model, more than harbingers of a post-nation-state future New Regionalism? Be careful.. The norm in Europe is for an ‘asymmetrical configuration of government and a multiplicity of institutional regimes…(Majone, 2003). Regions are strengthened not just because of identity, or strategy of the EU, but also because they represent functionally appropriate levels of government, especially for economic planning. Loughlin and Keating (2003): there has been a transformation of regions in Europe, from functional outposts of central government... to genuine political spaces, with directly elected institutions and developed forms of capacity Strengthening regions in a counterpart to the emasculation of the state But how accurate is this? The response lies in empirical investigation and comparison Identity... Against instrumentalism When considering the new regionalism debate above, we drew a basic distinction between identity-based forms of sub-state mobilisation capacity building and more instrumental considerations of competencies and inter-governmental relations. Instrumental models are more likely to focus on levels as being the appropriate ones for the delivery or co-ordination of a range of services, while identity models look to regions as historic, cultural and political entities and argue for an institutional focus for identity-based loyalties. A word of caution In some states, regions are weak or non-existent, especially where there is a tradition of strong local government, as in the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries or – for much of its history – the United Kingdom In some of the smaller European Union countries, such as Portugal, Greece or Ireland, there is a tradition of centralisation that has difficulties in accommodating regions. In the countries of central and Eastern Europe, there is no tradition of autonomous regional level administration (Marcou, 2003). During the EU enlargement negotiations, there was much opposition from within these countries to creating new decentralised structures, with the new entrants fearful lest irredentist national minorities try and break away and create their own states. Though the European Commission started off by advocating decentralisation, it swiftly moved to the idea of centralised ‘regional’ economic planning. In some countries, regions are principally city regions, based around large cities and their hinterland (Parkinson, 1992). Spain: an attractive model for devolutionists The move to democracy in Spain from 1975 onwards was closely linked with accommodating Spain’s historic nations and regions and rallying everybody to the democratic cause. The ‘State of Autonomies’ embodied in the 1978 Constitution represented the most radical regionalisation of any European state at the time. It created 17 Autonomous Communities with far reaching devolved powers. Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia were recognised early on as ‘historic nationalities’, facilitating their support for the plural Spanish nation. Spain: identity or institutions? The Spanish state is neither federal nor unitary.. here there is a strong institutional argument. No-one wants to be left behind and ACs are discovering ancient identities Until recently, Apart from one or two exceptions (such as the Basque taxraising powers) in theory all autonomous communities have the right to exercise the powers of the strongest communities. Since 1995, the weakest communities have caught up with the stronger ones in terms of competencies. The precise list of competencies depends on the organic laws in existence in each of the autonomous communities. In some policy areas, the autonomous community has complete legislative and regulatory powers, not dependent upon the Spanish State. In some areas, there are shared powers, and in still others exclusive Spanish state responsibility. Spain Institutional incentives to ‘identivise’ There is an inherent tension between recognising historic identities and providing the opportunity for all Spanish regions to develop their own institutional capacity within the Union State. In some important respects, the Spanish model does not favour the historic nationalities over other regions. The constitution does not establish a hierarchy between the historic communities and the others. In legal terms, any autonomous community can call itself a nation, if it so desires. While during the 1980s, only the three historic nationalities plus Andalusia had proclaimed themselves to be nations, by 1999 eight out of 17 autonomous communities were recognised as nationalities. Weaker regions have pointedly developed their ‘national’ identities in order to prevent incorporation by stronger neighbours (the case for Valencia in relation to Catalonia). Devolution in Spain has somewhat artificially provoked a wide range of regionalist demands. In the case of Spanish devolution, then, we can identify a clear institutional effect. Institutions create a spiral effect and have introduced a race for autonomy, a lesson policy-makers in the UK would be advised to take on board. Slippery slope… New Catalan statute approved by the Catalan parliament in 2006, setting out Catalonia as a nation. Eventually approved by the Spanish lower house on 30th March 2006. The Catalan statute involves: Recognition of Catalan national identity ‘national reality as a nationality’ Control over legal affairs Strengthens Catalonia in relation to the EU and foreign policy: Catalan parliament to raise 50% of income tax and VAT and create a revenue agency Catalan examples followed by Valencia, Andalucia and Basque country. Identity is exaggerated by institutions... Germany: instrumentalism ovder identity Germany provides a contrast both to Spanish asymmetry and Belgian communautarianism. The Federal Republic of Germany provides the interesting case of a federal system that does not allow great room for policy diversity. By imposing federalism upon western Germany in 1949, the occupying powers sought to reduce the power of central government and ensure a stable democracy. Even after sixty years of operation, there remains something artificial about German federalism. Unlike in a country such as Canada, German federalism does not reflect the organisation of a society with specific minorities. There are no significant ethnic, cultural, social or religious tensions in Germany. Moreover, the 16 state governments (the länder) are artificial units that do not correspond to historic German regions and do not reflect cultural, historic or linguistic differences within Germany. Even after sixty years of institutional existence, Germans feel themselves to be members of a local or a national community rather than a land. Their real attachment to regions is to those based on dialects, customs and culture such as the Rhineland, Palatinate, Badenia, or Franconia. Germany There is a very close interdependency between the federal and the state (länder) governments, the system of ‘interlocking politics’ described by Scharpf. The länder are legally bound into a system of joint decision-making and revenue-sharing, and share a strong normative commitment to policy uniformity. The länder co-operate closely with the federal government in matters of regional economic policy, agriculture and the planning of universities. The länder are closely involved in decision-making at the federal level through the composition of the second chamber, the bundesrat, which has a veto on federal legislation in around 50% of cases. Unlike in Belgium or even Spain, there is a strict system of fiscal redistribution and most resources for federal governments and the länder come from joint taxes. For all these reasons, there is a greater uniformity of policy in Germany than might be expected in a federal system. Identity is squeezed out by institutions… Belgium: linguistic fracture The case of Belgium is the most eloquent in terms of demonstrating the centrifugal effects of linguistic divisions . Belgium was created as an independent state in 1830… domination of the Frenchspeaking Walloons in the south.. at the expense of the Dutch speaking Flemish, mainly in the north. In the course of the mid 20th century, the economic and linguistic balance began to shift: so that the downtrodden Flemish now became the majority of the population and the more dynamic economic community. The only solution discovered to prevent the complete dissolution of the Belgian state: the policy of separate language communities (from 1963), to deal with issues of education and culture, for the different communities. The language issue has had a profound impact in Belgium, to the extent of changing the party system and replacing Belgian-wide parties - e.g. Socialists, with specific parties for each community. Here: language has had the effect of a cleavage Institutions have encouraged linguistic identities and language performs the role of a key cleavage. France Comparison with other EU states reveals the persistence of this belief in equality as uniformity and how this constricts local and regional capacity building. In comparative perspective, France still appears as the most resistant of the five major European nations to asymmetrical territorial development on its mainland. Germany, Spain, the UK and Italy have each undergone developments that can in some senses be labelled as federal, quasi-federal or asymmetrical (different parts of the ‘national’ territory developing more or less advanced forms of autonomy). In the case of France, a distinctive form of sub-national governance has evolved. But there are no equivalents to the strong regions with fiscal and/or legislative powers, such as Scotland, the Belgian and Italian regions, the Spanish Autonomous Communities, or the German länder. France’s 22 regions have a shared general competency, some tax-varying powers but no hierarchical control over other layers of local government. Governance might challenge the state, but not the unitary state form. Given its reaction to the Corsican example, it is highly likely that any attempt to derogate too seriously from the norm of uniformity will be resisted by the Council of State, the guardian of France’s conservative public law tradition. Institutions have, in the main, squeezed out identities Lesser Used languages as sources of identity There is a strong argument that recent moves to more differentiated forms of regional and local governance are likely to encourage linguistic pluralism (see, for example, Keating, Loughlin and Deschouwer, 2003). In countries such as Spain, Belgium and Italy, the move to enhanced regional self-consciousness in the 1980s and 1990s was associated with a rediscovery of the value of lesser-used languages and cultures and the adoption of new policy instruments to plan language revival. In the age of ‘think global, act local’, language can exercise a useful signalling function, demonstrating clearly the distinctiveness and value-added identity of specific regions. Some examples Catalonia, Basque country, Galicia: ability to speak the ‘regional’ language essential for selfpromotion Ireland: Gaelic speakers 2-3% of the population, but mastery essential for higher office Wales: Welsh Language Act (1993) introduces bilingualism. Welsh an official langiuage of the EU The Welsh Language: Identity, institutions In broad socio-economic terms, Welsh has expanded its usage considerably in the past two decades and the language is now used widely in education, the media, leisure and selected public services. Language survey data suggests that social context, family language transmission and exposure to formal bilingual education are the key factors in language reproduction. In the case of Wales, community and family are less powerful agents of language reproduction than they were previously, but formal bilingual education and language planning has slowed the rate of absolute decline. Welsh Identity: language Analysis of family/household composition patterns by Aitchison and Carter (1997) show that an extremely high proportion of Welsh speakers is linguistically isolated within their home environments. Many communities of the northern and western heartland seem to be fragmenting irretrievably, threatening the transmission of the Welsh language. Welsh is not secure as a community language despite its official status. Fluent and good Welsh-speakers manifesting a high proclivity towards Welsh identity, as do the intermediate and basic speakers, when contrasted with the non-Welsh speakers. Rather like in Spain, devolved instituions create a space for a linguistic identity Welsh Identity: Class There are clearly sociological differences in bases to identity. Cole and Evans (2007): Individuals residing in the Valleys showing a much greater propensity towards Welsh identity than the Cardiff reference. A Class Identity (Wyn Jones and Scully, 2003)? In terms of occupational class belonging, two classes stand out – the petty bourgeoisie, with the highest probability of British identity, and workers with conversely the highest level of Welsh identity. Interestingly, even in areas of reputed ‘Welshness’ such as the North-West of Wales and mid-Wales, there is no significant difference from the capital – indeed North-West Wales is slightly more British in its identification. Welsh Identity: Age Cole and Evans (2007): There is an almost monotonic relationship between age categories and identity, with the two youngest strata identifying most strongly with the Welsh identity, decreasing in the 55 and older categories. Educationally, a similarly clear profile emerges. Individuals with the lowest educational attainment have the highest level of Welsh identity, following by the mid-level group. Conclusion Moreno and ethno-terriorital mobilisation: mixing up normative and empirical evidence. Appropriate for a minority of cases? But how representatives are these? Multi-level governance? Useful as a metaphor, but regions contsructed in instrumental senses New Regionalism? In places.. Nut not as a general trend Comparsion: creates a spectrum. When does identity drive institutions? What do institutions confine identities? How do we explain variation?