Past Events, News & Jobs

Second Tier of Local Government

Survey on the councillors, political leaders/political executive and leading bureaucrats of the second tier of local government in European countries

Starting on January 1st, 2011

Little is know from a comparative perspective about the provinces, counties, départements, Landkreise etc. within the vertical structures of the political systems of European countries. The same is true for the horizontal power relations between the council, the political leaders or political executive and leading bureaucrats at this level of territorial government, that means, the level of (a) local self-government located (b) just above the municipal level.

To have a closer look at this level of local government in European countries is not only interesting because a comparative analysis of its competences, financial resources and functioning as well as its historical development is missing. Furthermore, this level of local government has been affected during the last years in many countries by reforms or is at least addressed by reform debates.


Jacob Aars, U Bergen
Ger Arendsen
Xavier Bertrana, U Barcelona
Colin Copus, Leicester
Dubravka Jurlina Alibegovic, Zagreb
Björn Egner, TU Darmstadt
Panagiotis Getimis, U Panteion, Athens
Hubert Heinelt, TU Darmstadt
Nikos Hlepas, U Athens
Eric Kerrouche, Bordeaux
Tomáš Kostelecký, IfS Prague
Max-Christopher Krapp, TU Darmstadt
Anders Lidström, U Umeå
Annick Magnier, U Florence
Dan Rysavy, U Palacký
Herwig Reynaert, U Ghent
Pavel Šaradín, U Palacký
Cristina Stanus, U Babes-Bolyai
David Sweeting, U Bristol
Pawel Swianiewicz, U Warsaw
Tony Valcke, U Ghent

Final Publication

The Second Tier of Local Government in Europe. Provinces, Counties, Départements and Landkreise in Comparison. Edited by Hubert Heinelt, Xavier Bertrana. Routledge.2012.


This book takes a comparative approach to local government across 14 European countries, looking at processes of decentralisation, regionalisation and reforms of local government.

Examining second levels of government, such as UK Counties, French Départements, Italian and Spanish Provinces, and German Landkreise, this book reveals both the specific characteristics of particular countries, and also similarities across Europe. As the first book focussing on the second level of local governments, this monograph combines comparative analysis of institutional trends and reforms of local government with examination of country-specific features to provide an original and insightful evaluation of European governance. Organised along common thematic lines, leading experts in their field outline the historical development of local government, and analyse recent or current reform debates. The book argues democratic quality and effectiveness of this territorial level of government is in the focus of on-going debates about the rescaling of statehood and a shift from ‘government to governance’.