Reshaping local borders in Europe today. A critical reflection founded on an analysis of the case of Finland
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CitationAlbacete Xavier. Tort Joan. (2017). Reshaping local borders in Europe today. A critical reflection founded on an analysis of the case of Finland. Miscellanea Geographica: Regional Studies on Development, 21 (1) , 1-6. 10.1515/mgrsd-2017-0001.
In Europe, the amalgamation of local authorities is currently used to optimize public resources. Although amalgamation involves several advantages, it needs to fulfil three conditions to be considered successful. First, address local preferences and needs; second, be fair, transparent and accessible to citizens; and third, be a compromise between central and local political elites. In the current paper the fulfilling of these three conditions is analysed using the comprehensive, bottom-up, Finnish reform introduced during the period of 2008-2013. The findings conclude that while the Finnish local reform plan has been successful in reaching a compromise between local and central governments, it has failed insofar as it has not fulfilled the condition of making the process fair, transparent and accessible to citizens. Furthermore, whether the amalgamation has allowed local government to address citizens’ preferences and needs in a meaningful and responsive way has yet to be demonstrated.