Devolution and the Politics of Territory in the European Union

Final year module

Lecturer: tbc

Throughout the Member States of the European Union, regional governments are increasingly finding new opportunities to participate in policy-making and implementation. In part this reflects the changing institutional structure of the EU itself, but it also reflects the changing nature of the relationship between the nation-state and its constituent parts. The form of intergovernmental relations between actors is evolving, not least in response to changing ideas on what constitutes ‘good governance’.

This module examines the territorial impact of adaptation at the supranational and national levels on regional level actors. This examination draws on the current debate within the UK, where national pressures for devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and the English regions have impacted on interaction between the central government, the European level and the regional bodies. Comparative lessons for the UK will be drawn by considering the range of territorial structures in other countries such as Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria. The overall implications of the growing move to devolution and regionalism will be brought together in assessing the future shape of the EU and the role of regions as multilevel governance actors within it. .

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module the student should be able to: 

  • To give a broad introduction to issues and ideas concerning devolution, territorial politics and the role of regional actors in EU policymaking 
  • To promote awareness of the development of UK devolution, providing insights and lessons from the territorial politics of the constituent parts of the UK and other EU Member States 
  • On the basis of comparative practical policy analysis, to develop an understanding of the inter-relationships between regional, national and supranational governance structures 
  • To explore the role and significance of regional governments in the UK and elsewhere in the EU on debates about the future of Europe


  • 1 x 3000 word assessed work (40%) 
  • 1 x 4000 word assessed work (50%) 
  • Presentation (10%)