Although many assessments of the recent evolution of regional planning and development policy in Europe have placed emphasis on the growing coincidence of theory and practice across countries and sectors of the economy, many individual and distinctive features remain. These reflect the variations that exist in the structure of government, the success or failure of particular initiatives and the inherited characteristics of regions. These variations are important, because they represent a continuing need to balance the desirability of promoting a common European agenda and approach, against the specific characteristics, problems, needs and opportunities evident in individual regions. Whilst subsidiarity as a principle has now been accepted and introduced as a fundamental requirement into the basic European Union legislation, considerable differences persist in the practice of devolution at national level and in the operation of systems of regional management and governance.