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Local 'Foreign Policy': Concepts, Definitions and Methods in Transborder Relations Research

Comparative Politics
Foreign Policy
Local Government
P235
Thomas Conzelmann
Maastricht Universiteit
Colin Copus
De Montfort University

Saturday 09:00 - 10:40 (10/09/2016)

Building: Faculty of Social Sciences Floor: Ground Room: FS014

Abstract

Municipalities across Europe are developing extensive international networks, both with other municipalities and EU organisations. Those networks and interconnections represent a set of complex policy orientated processes that bring municipalities, of all levels, into a dynamic interaction that represent the development of local foreign policy. Paradiplomacy is a term to describe a broad set of processes were local government interact across national borders but there is no generally agreed conceptualisation of those processes which have been variously called: local foreign policy, cross-border cooperation, interregional cooperation, transborder cooperation, twinning and municipal internationalism, which describe the same or similar occurrences. Moreover, there is a distinction in the study of how local government, in different national settings, works together between research conducted in border areas and research on all remaining types of relations. The research in border areas is focused on cross-border co-operation and is aimed at region building (social and economic cohesion) and enhancing regional competitiveness. The remaining types of interaction – also possible in border areas – cover fields, such as: the policy of big cities (eg EUROCITIES activity) versus the policy of smaller local governments; relations built by politicians versus those built by administration; relations built on the basis of European Territorial Co-operation versus those built on the basis of other financial means; activity of cities versus activity of regions etc. In the context of globalisation local government foreign policy seems all the more pertinent for exploration. Still there is little common understanding of the concept, definitions and previous knowledge of how local government interacts across national boundaries in a global context and what might be called ‘local foreign policy’. The papers for this panel will be expected to address the following questions: 1. What is the range and main focus of local government “foreign policy” and are there specific areas that emerge as the subject of these types of relationships or do they differ and if so, how? 2. How can we effectively conceptualise, theorises and scrutinise local government international relations and what models can be developed? 3. Does local “foreign policy” differ according to type of sub-state local government? 4. What are the most important factors differentiating “foreign policy” of local government? 5. What can be learnt from studying co-operation in border areas to assess and evaluate local “foreign policy” in general? 6. Are there common goals of local governments in Europe when it comes to foreign policy? 7. What are the main actors in governance network created under the “foreign policy” of local government? 8. How do councils construct effective working relationships with councils in other national settings so as to shape policy responses in governance networks to a range of policy issues? 9. What strategies do councils devise to enhance their working relationships within a European-wide context? 10. How do councillors employ a democratic mandate to construct local foreign policy and develop international coalitions around policy problems? 11. What factors stimulate or hinder the development, influence and effectiveness of local foreign policy?

Title Details
Allies at Home in Search of Allies Abroad: The Role of Cooperation in Local Foreign Policy View Paper Details
Para-diplomacy of the largest Polish cities – luxurious supplement or important policy? View Paper Details
Developing Local Foreign Policy: Enhancing Local Policy Influence and Governing Capacity View Paper Details