This page relates to the Federal states. More on the federalism in general, to see Federalism.
A Federal state (or federation) (of Latin foedus , alliance), usually is a sovereign State composed of several autonomous entities equipped with their own government, generally named States (see federate States). The statute of these entities is generally guaranteed by the Constitution and cannot be called into question by a unilateral decision of the central government. The form of government of the Federal state or its constitutional structure is named Fédéralisme.
The federations can be multi-ethnic and cover vast territories, even if it is not necessarily the case. The federations can be founded by an agreement between several independent States, sometimes after an intermediate period where they coexist in a confederation. The federate States generally do not have the unilateral right of secession.
The Federal state and other forms of State
The federal state is distinguished in particular from the state centralized or, on the other hand, from the simple co-operation Intergouvernemental E. In addition an amount of federalism can exist in entities not properly federal, either by the recognition of institutions Supranational are in certain fields, or contrary by the devolution at the regional and local level to certain capacities (Décentralisation).
The Member States of a federation are regarded as being sovereign, in the sense that they have clean and exclusive competences which cannot be exerted by the federal government. However a Federal state is more than one simple alliance or a confederation. Competences of the federate entities generally do not include/understand the foreign politics and thus do not have the statute of State independent taking into consideration international law.
The structure of the government is thus organized on two levels as a whole of the federation. One meets sometimes exceptions whenever certain parts of the territory are directly under the control of the federal government. It is the case of the autonomous territories of Canada and Australia, of the territories of the Union in India and the District of Columbia in the United States. It is unusual that only of small outlying areas are autonomous and that the essence of the territory is managed by the federal government.
A federation is often born from an initial agreement between independent States which meet in order to solve common problems, in particular defense. It was the case of the United States, of Switzerland, of Canada or Australia.
The unit State
The unit State is the opposite of the federalism. It can merge with the State-nation centralized equipped with a single central government, but can also include/understand areas on which certain competences were conferred, without to have the statute of the federate entities. One speaks then about Décentralisation. In the unit State, the autonomy of the areas can be revoked unilaterally by the central capacity. They do not have on the one hand of sovereignty but only competences granted by the Central state.
Whereas the federations are often consisted the bringing together of States before independent, the areas of the unit States generally profit from a process of decentralization where a State, formerly centralized, grants competences even autonomy to the areas. The step thus comes from the top towards the infra-official level.
In the philosophy of the unit State, whatever its level of decentralization, the territory constitutes a whole and the central government only has the full sovereignty on him. In a federation, on the contrary, sovereignty is often regarded as pertaining to the federated States, or is shared between the federal level and its components.
The distinction between Federal state and unit State is sometimes ambiguous. A unit State can resemble in its structure in a Federal state. Whereas the central government could theoretically revoke the rights of the infra-official entities, such a step would be politically not easily realizable. The autonomous regions of certain unit States lay out sometimes of more than competences than certain federate States. For this reason, one estimates sometimes that certain unit States are de facto federations.
Thus, the Spain approaches the federalism because its autonomous communities have more competences that the federate States of certain federations. It politically seems also impossible that the Spanish National parliament revokes unilaterally the statute of the Galicia, of the Catalogne or the Basque Country, for example. It is the same for the United Kingdom with the Wales and the Scotland.
Other forms of union between States
ConfederationThe Federal state must also be distinguished from the confederation. (for more information cf: Confederation (political organization))
A confederation is an association of State S independent which has, by treaty, delegated the exercise of certain competences to common bodies, without however constituting a new State superimposed on the Member States.
The confederation is an association of States which respects in theory the international Souveraineté of its members, but which results in the installation of organization intended to coordinate their policy in a certain number of fields. The confederation does not constitute a State taking into consideration International law, its statute results from a treaty which can be modified only by the unanimous agreement of all its signatories. Some vague confederations resemble international organizations, whereas others more narrowly integrated can resemble federations. Sometimes, this word is wrongly used in the place of Fédération. The Swiss which started as a confederation preserved the word in its title after being become a federation. The the United States were initially organized in confederation and became later a federation with the ratification of the constitution in 1789. The American Civil War was an side effect of the formation of the states confederated by the American States combined in their will to form a looser political union by keeping certain rights for themselves.
WorsenA Empire is an multi-ethnic State or a group of country, equipped with a central government; this one is in general imposed by the force (on the model of the Roman Empire or the Persian Empire Achéménide). Often an empire counts autonomous regions, but this degree of autonomy depends on goodwill central government. The term of empire, except when it is used in a metaphorical way, is usually reserved for an entity controlled by an emperor or an empress, although its constitutional role can be limited to a purely protocolar function. In certain cases, an empire can be made up of several organized kingdoms whole with a high sovereign designated as emperor. An good example is the Saint Germanic Roman Empire.
Introduction of the federalism in Belgium which did not intervene that after the years 1980 was preceded by a Walloon National congress October 20th and 21st 1945 which followed little all the traumatisms of the Second world war. This gathering of the most important personalities of the Wallonia of the political world and trade-union heard a talk which is connected with a course of public law: the Speech of F.Dehousse on the federalism, which will inspire the successive constitutional reforms of the Belgian State which applied (in the following decades), this theoretical talk of the Walloon National congress of 1945. The intellectual radicality of the speech, the fact that Belgium contains in its center three large components (Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders), explains why the Belgian federalism grants to its components a broad autonomy which is prolonged on the international plan almost without possible restriction nor veto, with an strict application of the principles of the équipollence of the standards and Exclusive competence and aspects of confederation, system itself evoked in 1945 per Fernand Dehousse.
Forum of the federations: global area network on the federalism.
- Geography of the Federal states Specialized site on the federalism, lists organizations, specialized library…
- the Federal states in the world: article of Maurice Croisat.
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