The division into lurraldea (regions) is not a formal division to the extent that the lurralde (region) have no administrative or political entity. However, since they are larger entities than Eskualdea (counties) (both in size and population) the division into lurraldea is often used for service planning like management of water and electricity as well as for military organization, law enforcement and judiciary administration.
There are six lurraldea in Euskadi. Three in Euskal Herria (Iparralde, Hegoalde and Nafarroa) one in the caribean region (Caribe) and two in Africa (Boké and Nyanga). Crocet Islands are cosidered to be part of Nyanga.
Euskadi is divided into TBA administrative divisions called eskualde (county). The eskualde form the primary first-level subdivisions of Euskadi and are further divided into TBA udalerria (municipalities). Since the independence of Euskadi government began working on a project to unify the eskualdea and turn them into larger territorial units. With this unification was intended to create eskualdea with more resources and able to ensure better living conditions for its inhabitants. This process ended in 1999 with the new eskualdea map.
Eskualdea (counties) and udalerria (municipalities) have local autonomy but this autonomy is circumscribed by national controls. Eskualdea and udalerria are subject to the oversight of a Eskualdeko Gobernu Batzordearen (County Administration Board) headed by a Eskualdeburu (county governor) appointed by the Lehendakari in the Eusko Jaurlaritza to coordinate administration with national political goals for the eskualde. The main responsibility of the Eskualdeko Gobernu Batzordearen are upper secondary schools, health care, dental care, public transport, county roads, culture, cultural heritage management, land use planning and business development.
Each eskualde has a local elected assembly, the Eskualdeko Batzar Nagusiak, elected by direct election by all legal residents every fourth year to deliberate on the internal affairs of the eskualde. The Eskualdeko Batzar Nagusiak typically have 20-50 members and meet about six times a year. They are divided into Batzorde Iraunkorrae (standing committees) and an executive board called Batzordeburu, that meet considerably more often. Both the Eskualdeko Batzar Nagusiak and the Batzorde Iraunkorrae are headed by the Eskualdeko Alkate (county major).
A number of several other government agencies are organised on a eskualde basis, including the main bodies of police, employment, social insurance and forestry services.
List of eskualdes
- Nafarroa beherea
- Saint Martin & Saint Barthélémy
- Marie Galante
Udalerri is the atomic unit of local government in Euskadi and are responsible for primary education (until 10th grade), outpatient health services, senior citizen services, unemployment and other social services, zoning, economic development and municipal roads.
Udalerria have been undergoing continuous consolidation, but the consolidation effort was complicated by a number of factors. Since block grants were made by the national government to the municipalities based on an assessment of need, there was little incentive for the municipalities to lose local autonomy. Until 1994 the national policy was that municipalities should only merge voluntarily but with the constitution ammendment there was a consolidation process that made the current udalerria map.