- Preface and Acknowledgements
- List of Figures
- List of Maps
- List of Tables
- List of Text Boxes
- List of Contributors
- Introduction: Subnational Democracy in Europe: Changing Backgrounds and Theoretical Models
- The United Kingdom: Is there Really an Anglo Model?
- Ireland: Halting Steps Towards Local Democracy
- Belgium: A Tale of Regional Divergence?
- The Netherlands: Subnational Democracy and the Reinvention of Tradition
- Luxembourg: The Challenge of Inclusive Democracy in a ‘Local State’
- Germany: Varieties of Democracy in a Federal System
- Austria: From Consensus to Competition and Participation?
- Switzerland: Subsidiarity, Power‐Sharing, and Direct Democracy
- Denmark: Between Local Democracy and Implementing Agency of the Welfare State
- Finland: The Limits of the Unitary Decentralized Model
- Sweden: Party‐dominated Subnational Democracy Under Challenge?
- Norway: The Decline of Subnational Democracy?
- France: Between Centralization and Fragmentation
- Italy: The Subnational Dimension to Strengthening Democracy Since the 1990s
- Spain: The Consolidation of Strong Regional Governments and the Limits of Local Decentralization
- Portugal: Local Democracy in a Small Centralized Republic
- Greece: A Case of Fragmented Centralism and ‘Behind the Scenes’ Localism
- Malta: Local Government: A Slowly Maturing Process
- Cyprus: Political Modernity and the Structures of Democracy in a Divided Island
- Poland: Europeanization of Subnational Governments
- The Czech Republic: Local Government in the Years after the Reform
- Hungary: Remarkable Successes and Costly Failures: An Evaluation of Subnational Democracy
- Slovakia: Local Government: Establishing Democracy at the Grassroots
- Estonia: Challenges and Lessons of the Development of Local Autonomy
- Latvia: Experiments and Reforms in Decentralization
- Lithuania: Brave Enough to Implement Daring Democratic Reforms?
- Slovenia in Transition: Decentralization as a Goal
- Bulgaria: The Dawn of a New Era of Inclusive Subnational Democracy?
- Romania: From Historical Regions to Local Decentralization via the Unitary State
- European Subnational Democracy: Comparative Reflections and Conclusions
- Structure of Subnational Governments in Europe, 2007
- Subnational finances in Europe
- Trust, importance of local/regional government, and levels of corruption in Europe
- Subject Index
- Name Index
Abstract and Keywords
The narrative of Norway is often narrated as series of national liberations culminating recently in deliverance from Nazi occupation. Another strand of the story is that of progressive social equalization resulting in the present welfare state and one of the most egalitarian societies in Europe. These stories have engendered a ‘freedom, equality, and peace’ syndrome in Norway which is a source of tension in central-local relations as well as in internal relations. Fear of losing control has resulted in a lack of constitutional protection for local self-government and two ‘No’ outcomes in referendums on Norwegian EU membership. This article discusses Norway and its assumed declining subnational democracy. Norway is a decentralized welfare state which belongs to the Scandinavian state tradition with distinctly cooperative central-local relations. Whereas local government is legally free to engage in tasks that are not explicitly granted to other public bodies or prohibited by law, in practice most important local functions are seen as joint responsibilities shared by the local and central government. Although decentralization and the transfer of functions were dominant in the early 1990s, these changed in the recent years as the state required the transfer of several functions of the local government to the state. There is also a parallel trend of more active central government intervention in local affairs. This indicated the diminishing tolerance of variation in levels and manners of local governance and local service provision.
Harald Baldersheim is Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo, Norway.
Lawrence E. Rose is Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo, Norway.
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