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Schweden im 21. Jahrhundert: föderale Strukturen statt Einheitsstaat?

Sweden in the 21st century: federal structures instead of a single state?
[journal article]

Moding, Philip; Aring, Jürgen

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Abstract Trends have developed during the nineties in Sweden which point towards a political regionalisation. After an intensive discussion process, new territorial, political and administrative structures are to be or have been created in three regions of Sweden. These are the regions of Schonen (centred in Malmö), West Sweden (centred in Göteborg) and Gotland. This article focuses in particular on the development in Schonen. The traditional political-administrative system in Sweden in based on a combination of strong, autonomous local government units and a strong, centralist state. The reform is intended to change this system and introduce a new, middle level. In this way, the regions gain more responsibility for themselves and more possibilities to design their own political structures. The influence of the central government in Stockholm or their representatives in the former administrated provinces (Län) is to be reduced. The efforts towards regionalisation in Sweden, which have occurred very late in European comparison, are based in essence on two causes. First of all, the "Model Sweden" -the welfare and distribution state- has reached its limits in view of a globalised and flexible economy. Additionally, networks which cross the boundaries of local government units are growing in Sweden as well. The local government units have only limited possibilities to solve problems which have a regional character. In regionalism -defined as a gain in im portance of regional units for the process of political decision-making and for the implementation of political strategies- Sweden obviously sees a way out of the dissatisfactory current situation. There are therefore motives from above and below in favour of regionalisation. Discussions focused on how far the regionalisation should be taken. The creation of new regional administration structures alone was not viewed as being a satisfactory solution. There was fear of a growth in democracy deficit, if regions were apolitical executive levels without democratic control in a bi polar administrative structure (local government units and state). That is why the regions were set up as new, political executive levels, with a regional parliament, a regional administration and their own budget. The hope in Sweden for the creation of regions as political levels is to establish suitable political-administrative structures for the 21st century. The formation of regions in Sweden has initially been viewed as a "test" limited in terms of area and time, and it will be re-examined after several years. However, it appears likely -in the test regions at least- that this will be made permanent law.
Keywords Sweden; geopolitics; regionalism; administration; reform; population; economy; network; national state; municipality; population development; regional distribution; regional policy
Classification Area Development Planning, Regional Research; Political System, Constitution, Government
Document language German
Publication Year 1998
Page/Pages p. 10-17
Journal Europa Regional, 6.1998 (1998) 2
ISSN 0943-7142
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications