Competence ring-fencing from below? The drivers of regional demands for control over upwards dispersion
Central governments have dispersed powers horizontally and vertically. Such power dispersion has been uneven and piecemeal. A general tendency to emerge from this process has been greater overlap in competences between bodies operating at different levels or within specific sectors. This has resulted in a need for policy co-ordination but also in some frictions regarding different authorities’ autonomy to act independently. This contribution focusses on the challenges of vertical power dispersion
towards the supranational level (the European Union) and the sub-state level (regions).1 Powers have been both transferred and delegated to varying degrees of depth and scope at each level (power dispersion). The resulting competence overlap is sometimes substantial. This has driven a number of regional authorities to demand a greater say in future power dispersion to the supranational level, so as to pre-empt their proportional disempowerment (ring-fencing demands). We therefore ask a simple question: what are the determinants of regional demands for greater control over upwards power dispersion?