52nd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Regions in Motion - Breaking the Path", 21-25 August 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia
The aim of this study is to examine the regional policy and the governance model of Lombardy and to highlight the most important factors of its success and to address the relevant risks. The main source of success of Lombardy was the implementation of the subsidiarity principle in the area of the provision of public services. Due to the recent opportunities (limited federalism) for regions in Italy to establish their own government system and philosophy, Lombardy has made the best of these opportunities by using the principle of subsidiarity. Applying this principle to a governance model offers a real alternative to the current state-market combinations. The effect of the model is to develop responsibility on both sides, and it may revitalise the actors of both state and market. Whilst the principle is implemented the government should not response or satisfy every need of the people, but ought to create the necessary conditions for civil society to fulfil them. This concept has been implemented in many sectors – evidently with varying outcomes. The Lombardy model of governance is based on three basic foundations: the social and economic circumstances, the pioneering way of governance and the principle of subsidiarity. The importance of a strong civil society and highly developed economic structures foster the evolution of a proper mentality among the population and sustain the necessary means for the policies. The Lombardy model builds on the existence of distinct regional social capital. Therefore the implementation of the model in other countries heavily depends on a very active private sector: in which a combination of for-profit and non-profit organisations is elemental. The model is a success in Lombardy, although there are internal and external risks which have to be answered. The problems of the "quasi-market", the requirement for further evaluation, the act of networks in civil society, the collaboration among public actors, and the mentality of public administration are all significant internal elements of the model. From outside, fiscal insecurity, unbalanced federalism, the serious differences in the development level of Lombardy and the other Italian regions and new challenges all influence the operation of the Lombardy way of governance.