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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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Introduction

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Fabio ZUCCA Jean Monnet Chair, University of Insubria - Varese The book reports the results of research lasting many years on the international prominence of local institutions within the European integration process, taking as examples significant cases involving the retrieval of a capacity for action by local communities that the advent of centralised and sovereign states in the 19th century seemed to have all but abolished.1 The definition of the international role of municipalities and regions, leading institutional participants in multilevel governance within the European Union, are two aspects little explored by historical research, but which nowadays are clearly evident in both the context of current political as well as territorial and economic affairs. The strengthening of the European Union, on the basis of a bottom up process, involves local institutions at all levels of representation, while the global crisis, which powerfully affects the very structure of European institutions with the single currency as well as the living standards of citizens, emphasizes the need to overcome the current incapacity of national governments to adequately react to change. In fact, the cities and intermediate institutions have increasingly become 1 The contents of the book are the result of new research on twinning undertaken by the cities of Florence and Milan or analyse in-depth subjects I have addressed in individual essays thanks to contributions discovered while studying papers in archives for which inventories have only recently be created (the Umberto Serafini archives deposited with Archivio Storico dell’Università degli Studi di Pavia) or...

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