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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


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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PART I BRING MUNICIPALITIES TOGETHER TO BRING EUROPE TOGETHER 57 CHAPTER 1 The Birth of the European Local Autonomies Movement Western civilisation has its roots in the Greek polis and the continua- tion of this urban tradition in Rome and the system of Italic cities, which involved autochthonous experiences. When the Urbe started to dominate large territories, in Italy and then in the rest of the continental and Mediterranean world, it sent magistrates as administrators with the authority to impose the law of Rome in those more or less distant places. These were vast regions, at times coinciding with current national states or macro-regions, falling under the Roman imperium which was enforced through the presence of the legions. Administrative units were called provinces, and there were 87 under Domitian, spread over the known world. All traces of them vanished with the dissolution of the imperial system, and subsequent territorial reorganisation once again emphasised all over western Europe the central role played by cities. The reorganisation of Europe during the Middle Ages began in urban communities, which provided the energy to progress following the impulse provided by political, economic and cultural life. Through a profound regionalisation process that started around the year 1000 and then was resumed with greater vigour in the 12th century, the Europe of cities was born or regenerated from below with autonomous growth that was to become the driving force of European civilisation. Cities were places of cohesive communities and centres of commerce and manufacturing, art and...

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