This book takes a comparative approach to local government across 14 European countries, looking at processes of decentralisation, regionalisation and reforms of local government. Examining second levels of government, such as UK Counties, French Departements, Italian and Spanish Provinces, and German Landkreise, this book reveals both the specific characteristics of particular countries, and also similarities across Europe. As the first book focussing on the second level of local governments, this monograph combines comparative analysis of institutional trends and reforms of local government with examination of country-specific features to provide an original and insightful evaluation of European governance. Organised along common thematic lines, leading experts in their field outline the historical development of local government, and analyse recent or current reform debates. The book argues democratic quality and effectiveness of this territorial level of government is in the focus of on-going debates about the rescaling of statehood and a shift from 'government to governance'. The Second Tier of Local Government in Europe will be of interest to students and scholars studying local government, public administration and multi-level governance.