chapter  7
12 Pages

The regions and Amsterdam: Whatever happened to the third level?

One of the most widely discussed features of the Maastricht Treaty was the success of a broadly based regional lobby in securing formal recognition in the EU's treaty arrangements and important rights of access for regions to European decisionmaking. This lobby could count three major achievements in the Treaty. First, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) was established as an advisory body to Council and Commission, formally adding the sub-national level to the existing forms of representation in the EU: Member States (in the Council), popular representation (the European Parliament) and socio-economic interests (in the Economic and Social Committee). 1 Second, a semantically anodyne but highly significant amendment to Article 146 of the EC Treaty opened up the possibility for regionallevel ministers to lead their countries' delegations in the Council. And third, the principle of subsidiarity was incorporated formally in Article 3b of the Treaty, albeit in a form which did not explicitly extend the application of the principle to the sub-national level.