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Local Government Reforms in Italy and Spain: Towards Institutional Sustainability or Weaker Local Authorities?

Silvia Bolgherini
European Academy of Bolzano
Silvia Bolgherini
European Academy of Bolzano
Silvia Bolgherini
European Academy of Bolzano
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Abstract

Aim of this paper is to give an account of the evolution of local government in Italy and Spain during the years of the global crisis. A comparative analysis of the recent institutional reforms addressing the local level in both countries and the consequent challenges to representative institutions and territorial governance will be attempted. Starting from the concept of institutional sustainability, the argument proposed is that pre-reform local governments in both countries present a critical picture. Therefore, to what extent may the (recently approved) reforms impact local self-government and how? Two main aspects will be discussed: first, that with the reforms a significant reduction in self-government and in local authorities’ room of manoeuver is under way; second, that over-municipal cooperation (both in form of intermunicipality or metropolitan areas) may be the most effective form of territorial governance as long as institutional sustainability and democratic proximity are pursued.