The committee of the regions: the recon models from a subnational perspective
The Committee of the Regions is a relatively young institution in the European Union context. Since having been set up by the Maastricht Treaty, it has gone through an interesting development which saw an increase in its consultative role, an important expansion of its remit and also its resources, and a number of new initiatives in trying to act as the platform and voice of local and regional interests in the EU policy process. The present paper tries to evaluate the CoR's trajectory through the prism of the three models of EU democracy development (audit democracy, multi-national federal democracy and regional-European cosmopolitan democracy) as developed in the RECON project. It is argued that the sub-national level has to be directly involved in the EU structures in any attempt at 're-constituting' democracy at EU level. The Committee of the Regions as it stands today does have elements of all three models of democracy in it, and these different features seem to pull the Committee in different directions at times. It emerges clearly from this analysis, however, that the CoR has an important role to play in an EU conceived as a genuine multi-level system of governance.
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