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Lobbying 'Brussels': the case of Scotland Europa

Mitchell, James (1995) Lobbying 'Brussels': the case of Scotland Europa. European Urban and Regional Studies, 2 (4). 287 - 298. ISSN 0969-7764

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Abstract

The increase in paradiplomacy the activities of regions below the level of the state in international politics particularly in matters of trade and economic affairs - has been noted by scholars of federal states. This paper draws on this literature to consider the background and debates within the United Kingdom, one of the most centralized states in the European Union, on the setting up of Scotland Europa, a Scot tish lobbying office in Brussels in May 1992. The resurgence of political nationalism in Scotland in the late 1980s coincided with the 'relaunch' of Europe, with the Single European Act and the single European Market providing significant backdrops. Government fears that such an office might be used by its oppo nents to articulate alternative views were voiced in leaked memoranda and these provide important insights into its thinking. In essence, the issue of 'Who speaks for Scotland?' lay at the heart of debates on the nature and functions of the Brussels office. Europe was offering a new battleground in an old war. In particular, difficulties existed between the Scottish Office, representing central government, and the Scottish local authorities. These were ultimately resolved largely due to the skills of the first chief executive of the lobbying office. To date, a limited role has been cut out for Scotland Europa. Conse quently, the fears that paradiplomacy might become protodiplomacy- whereby the international activities of regions no longer parallel those of their central governments but act against them and threaten the integrity of the state - have proved unfounded.