From Encyklopedia Administracji Publicznej

REGIONALISATION (→ region) – is the establishment of a new administrative division introducing a new local government, located directly under the state government. A region (r.) is the highest unit of the organisation of state territory, regardless of its political form, with a relatively large area and quite a large population, constituting a relatively homogeneous area from the economic, social and cultural point of view. R. is an indirect (although not necessarily intermediating) link between the state and other units of territorial organisation, which should be entirely within its borders. There are several models of regionalisation (regionalis.). The first model consists in the systemic separation of one or several parts of the territory of a given state, always on the basis of an exception and differentiation of the position of a given regional unit from the remaining parts of the administrative division of the country. As a result of such transformations, within one state organism, there are units of territorial division that are named in the same way, but with different positions and systemic powers (Italy, Portugal). The second model consists in the realization of universal territorial autonomy within the state. R. operate on the basis of autonomous statutes, given or approved by the parliament, in the form of ordinary, organic or constitutional acts. These statutes determine the scope of the legal, political and economic autonomy of the region (Spain). The objectives of regionalis. can be quite diverse. Most often in modern regionalis. they include: the empowerment of r. and ethnic minorities, improved governance, overcoming the crisis of central state structures, or protecting the state from growing ethnic conflict. There are different ways of introducing regionalis: 1. from the bottom – Spain is an example, whose constitution allows a provincial group to obtain the status of a r. as a result of their bottom-up initiative expressing spontaneous regional aspirations; 2. from the top – in which the central government initiates and implements reforms, the model solution is the French decentralization reforms of the early 1980s, another example is the introduction of Polish voivodship local governments since 1999. Regionalis. may (but does not have to) lead to the gradual federalization of the state (example of Belgium or the unsuccessful attempt to federate Italy) or separatism (the case of Catalonia in Spain). In Europe, regionalis. often means the coexistence of regional authorities elected in general elections with a representative of the central government in the regions (Poland, France, Spain). [D. Długosz]

Literature: T. Kaczmarek, Struktury terytorialno-administracyjne i ich reformy w krajach europejskich [Territorial and administrative structures and their reforms in European countries], Poznań 2005 ■ Z. Machelski, Struktury terytorialne państwa [Territorial structures of the state], Warszawa 2015.