Regional governance in mid-sized EU member countries

Dr. Pekka Kettunen
Prof. Zdravko Petak

The aim of the paper is to analyse the politico-administrative architecture in mid-sized member states of the European Union. The countries in question are Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, and Slovakia. The number of inhabitants in these five countries is very close to each other, i.e. around 5 million inhabitants. The paper starts with delineating the basic institutional structure of the countries. How is the intermediate level of the mid-sized countries organised in relation to principal tasks and division of labour? Thereafter the paper moves on to analysing change factors in the institutional structure. Is the regional organizational structure being centralised or decentralised, and which explanations or driving factors are there? In some cases, centralizing state administration for the sake of coordination, and enlarging the size of local governments, may leave regional institutions in shadow. In other cases small local governments may require regional structures to take care of services, such as health care. In order to analyse the similarities and differences, and the underlying explanations, the paper applies comparative analysis (Kuhlmann & Wollmann 2019).