Elisabeth Donat & Barbara Mataloni: Perception of Collective Agency and Networks of Relations: The Case of Regional Parliaments in Four EU Member States. [Abstract]
Regional parliaments have only limited formal possibilities to engage in the European Union’s (EU’s) multi-level system of governance. Our paper focuses on networking activities of regional members of parliaments (MPs) as informal attempts to make agency claims and as a main driver for perceived collective agency. We employ a relational perspective, taking into account the various stakeholders and environments which regional parliaments have to deal with in the EU. Engaging in such networks can enhance collective agency since such activity is linked to recognition and can open doors to new resources and networks. We use data from a survey of regional deputies in Austria, Germany, Spain, and the Czech Republic to investigate these associations. The results point to the importance of such activities for the perceived influence of regional parliaments on political decision-making in the region and for perceptions about the future role of regions in the EU. Contacts with European actors prove to be crucial in this respect since they can lead to new, agency-enhancing contacts and resources.