European federalism must be conceived at multiple levels, not just that of the state and the EU. A regional level has emerged below and across the states, as a result of spatial rescaling: the migration of functional systems, political change and the institutionalization of the regional level. The sub-state region remains a contested space, both as to its territorial boundary and its control. The EU itself has used the regional level for the framing and implementation of its own policies. Regional politics are characterized by inter-regional competition. Demands for recognition and autonomy from below have added another dimension. There is not a uniform regional level of politics or policy but a variety of constructions of the region. Federalism helps us understand this changing dynamic, if it is seen not as a specific form of government but as a general principle of order, combining unity with diversity.