The Europeanization of national politics is considered to be one of the main political developments of the past decades. However, also local authorities are confronted with the growing European dimension of their village streets. This leads to the guiding question for this book: how does Europe impact on the behaviour of lower tier governments? In other words, how and to what extent do local governments (re)act to this 'Europeanization'?
So far, Europeanization studies at the local level mainly focused on a top-down approach, defining Europeanization as the implementation of EU legislation or as meeting the criteria for receiving money from the EU structural funds. There are however also indications that local governments have started to by-pass national or regional governments and tried to gain direct access to European institutions to defend their interests (bottom-up dimension). They also became active in all sorts of networks and partnerships to facilitate best practice transfer, which is another important aspect of local (horizontal) Europeanization. The main purpose of this book is therefore to analyse both the theoretical as well as the empirical implications of Europeanization at the local level within different European countries.