Metropolia a region – problemy ustrojowe i polityczne
In the context of territorial governance, a metropolis is not a single city within its administrative boundaries but a wider functional area comprising several municipal units. All attempts to create formalized institutions for such areas lead to the problem of establishing political and organizational relations between the metropolitan and the regional authorities. Achieving a balance of power between them is not an easy task and is sometimes even more difficult due to the political and partisan rivalry between the opposing sides. In this paper experiences of West European countries are presented and confronted with the recent discussion about statutory metropolitan areas in Poland. Four types of relations between the metropolitan and the regional level are distinguished: patronage, insignificant, conflict-provoking, and internalized. The essential conclusion of the paper is that strengthening the regional and metropolitan governments at the same time inevitably leads to institutional and political conflicts. This is especially true when both the regional and metropolitan authorities feel that their position is not fixed and grounded within the administrative system of the state. The latest draft of the so-called Metropolitan Act in Poland is most likely to lead to the conflict-provoking model of political relations between the metropolitan and regional governments. Introducing a strong metropolitan level of territorial governance seems to be very controversial because it breaks the current status quo. However, another scenario – an institutional void between the local and the regional government – is much worse for the development of Poland’s largest metropolitan areas.