Doing Europe: Local Governments as Agents of European Cohesion

Academia and practitioners agree that the local level is crucial for EU cohesion. However, further conceptual and empirical development is needed. The paper introduces an understanding of European cohesion consisting of a horizontal and a vertical dimension, covering individuals’ relationships with each other and the polity. We review the predominantly nation-state-focused, interdisciplinary literature on support for the European Union (vertical dimension) and societal Europeanization (horizontal dimension) through a ‘local lens’, arguing in favour of combining the two dimensions in one framework of cohesion. We derive empirical expectations about the role of local agency for European cohesion and operationalise European cohesion, thus designing a coherent framework for analysing the local foundations of European cohesion.


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