Joanna Ciesielska-Klikowska Tomasz Kamiński


Cities and regions play an increasingly vital role in international relations, even co-shaping their countries’ foreign policy. This phenomenon, usually called ‘paradiplomacy’, means that cities and regions develop links with foreign actors, both state and non-state. In this way, they contribute to the ‘pluralisation’ of diplomacy and are changing the shape of contemporary relations on the global stage. This process is also happening with regard to the international activities undertaken by the European Union (EU); yet the paradiplomacy trend is also only partially realised at the EU level. In this context, this article aims to conceptualise the impact that the paradiplomacy of European sub-state actors has on EU foreign policy. So far, it has not been adequately recognised in the academic literature as a potential factor influencing EU foreign affairs. In addition, the article analyses how cities and regions can influence the development of EU foreign policy and how the Union can use this potential for international activity on the part of local actors. The article has two parts. In the first part, we present three ways cities and regions can influence EU foreign policy. By giving specific examples, we show that cities and regions are already using their authority to: i) lobby and create networking communities, ii) use formal powers, and iii) apply direct actions. In the second part, we set out the opportunities and challenges that arise from the paradiplomatic activities of sub-state actors. To elucidate the issues, we consider the case of contemporary relations between the EU and China, which are becoming more intense at local government level but which are not used by Brussels to pursue EU interests.


Article Keywords

EU foreign policy, Paradiplomacy, Cities, Regions, Sub-state relations

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