Federal Systems in Europe
Several countries in Europe have a federal system of government. For example, Austria, Bosnia, Belgium, and Switzerland. Also known as federalism, federal systems of governments share power between the centralized government and other simultaneous regions. Germany is the largest state practicing federalism in Europe. It is made up of 16 states. Russia is also a federal state. However, its executive branch is not as powerful that of Germany.
The European Union is also characterized to possess some federalism traits. It was established in 1951 to help boost integration and maximize economic and political outcomes among member states. It began with only six states. Currently, it has 28 member states from European countries. Academicians argue that the European Union has several federalism traits such as, it has a judiciary that settles disputes between member states and an auditory body that oversees whether funds are used for the intended purpose. It also has a parliament that consists of members elected from all the member states. The European Council is made up of leaders from all the 28 member states.
Although the European Union has several federalism traits, it is not a fully grown federal system. This is because it lacks fiscal federalism or the tax and spends capacity. The member states are also sovereign, they can change the treaty between them and the European Union. They are also in charge of the military and foreign relations.
Germany splits power between Bundestag, the parliament of Germany and Bundesrat, the regional states. The central power is responsible for foreign affairs, defense and currency regulation. It also handles matters related to foreign affairs, immigration, and transportation. The states are responsible for nature conservation and regional planning. They also attend to matters of mass media and public service. Both the federal and state governments are in charge of public welfare, health, and civil laws.
Located in the South-Eastern part of Europe, is Bosnia and Herzegovina nation. It is a federal state. The federal system was formed in 1995 during the creation of its constitution. Its constitution was formed as a peace treaty during peace discussions between Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia. The negotiations were moderated by the European Union and the USA. The central government of Bosnia and Herzegovina shares powers with other regional units.
Several federal systems exist in Europe. Germany is the largest. Scholars have argued that the European Union is developing to become a federal system. However, lack of fiscal federalism and sovereignty of member states, exempt it from federalism. Federalism is a form of governance that allows the division of labor and power between the central government and the local governments.
Engel, L.C. and Ortloff, D.H., 2009. From the local to the supranational: curriculum reform and the production of the ideal citizen in two federal systems, Germany and Spain. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 41(2), pp.179-198.
Menon, A. and Schain, M., 2006. Comparative federalism: the European Union and the United States from a comparative perspective. Oxford University Press on Demand.
Keil, S., 2016. Multinational Federalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Routledge.
Federal Systems in Europe