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The International Relations of Local Authorities

From Institutional Twinning to the Committee of the Regions: Fifty Years of European Integration History

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Fabio Zucca

This book examines the innovative and supportive role that the Council of European Municipalities and Regions has played in the process of European integration, focusing on the idea of a federal state centred on municipalities, the basis of Western democracy.
The author’s analysis considers the twinning of cities within Europe to be a political action that will lead to a Europe for its citizens. He argues that the global financial crisis could lead to the break-up of the European unification process and that the way to deal with this challenge is to give local authorities greater involvement in decision-making processes.
The book is the result of research in little known and rarely consulted archives and brings significant new information into the academic sphere. This focus on the local level is increasingly relevant, offering new perspectives on current issues within European integration and explaining the dynamics of a process still under way.

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Presentation (Maurizio Degl’Innocenti)

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19 Presentation Maurizio DEGL’INNOCENTI Full Professor in Contemporary History, University of Siena Fabio Zucca, the author of an excellent essay entitled Autonomie locali e federazione sopranazionale. La battaglia del Conseil des Communes et Régions d’Europe per l’unità europea, with a preface by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, now presents a work on the international relations of local authorities that addresses European integration and includes a wide-ranging report on studies concerning the birth of the “movements” representing local autonomies in and for Europe, the “long march” towards a full legitimisation of local authorities within the European institutions, and the politics of twinning. Twinning, used as a parameter of real international policy implemented by municipalities, is the most original aspect of this book, which is based on archival sources. With only a few exceptions, it is not a subject matter often studied and one difficult to address, due in part to the dispersion of source material and because it is perhaps considered of secondary importance. It is no mistake to consider this delay in research, even in academic studies, as reflecting and supporting a way of considering European integration as achieved by states and government bureaucracies. Even leaving aside the somewhat significant information provided, the essay presented here deserves recognition simply for going against this trend. It is possible to envisage five stages in this “long march”. The first, that of its origins, is set at the beginning of the 20th century, when, faced with the emergence of a mass society, urbanisation...

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