Marc Debus, Jochen Müller, Peter Obert
Europeanisation and government formation in multi-level systems: Evidence from the Czech Republic

European Union Politics, 2011: 12, issue 3, p. 381-403

The development towards a "Europe of the Regions" is accompanied by a complex system of cooperation and interdependence between the different levels of policy-making. In this paper, we ask how European integration impacts the partisan composition of regional governments. We argue that the EU classification system of regions – the so called “Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics” (NUTS) – sets incentives to form similar coalition governments among regions that belong to the same ‘NUTS’ area. We test our argument by analysing government formation in the Czech regions and thus in an EU member state whose regions benefit financially from EU structural policy. The results show that there is empirical evidence to support our main hypotheses: even when controlling for variables that reflect standard coalition theories and for patterns of party competition on the national sphere, we find that coalitions are more likely to form if the respective parties are also part of the government in the regions that belong to the same NUTS area.