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Decentralization in Spain and Italy

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The Spanish model is different from the French unitary state, the German federal state as well as the Italian regional state. Spain is, indeed, among the most decentralized unitary countries in Europe. Indeed, it takes into account the cultural, linguistic and historical territories.

As for Italy, regionalism is less extensive than in Spain, due to the considerable number of skills that remain at the center and the many instruments of centralization that still holds the administration. Differences in "decentralization" can also be explained by the respective histories of both countries.

Thus, the local organization of Spain and Italy should be seen in a descriptive way. One of the problems common to both countries may be the complexity of the division of powers between different levels. It seems that these two countries are still seeking their model (federation/decentralization). However, we can consider that they have chosen a middle way between federalism and the unitary state. Spanish and Italian models are still largely under construction, although both tend to federalism.

The Spanish Constitution of December 6, 1978 organized a state based on the principle of territorial autonomy, involving the disappearance of a French-style centralized state. The question of the territorial organization of the state has also not been discussed during the drafting of the constitution.

Political decentralization was seen as obvious and indisputable fact of the experience of Franco, because of the historical legitimacy of the regional formula established by the Republican Constitution of December 9, 1931, because of the need to find a solution to the contentious history of the Basque and Catalan nationalists, because of the division of territory into autonomous entities even before the adoption of the constitution but the components do not have a defined model of territorial organization of the state: recognition of the principle of autonomy, self-initiative belonging to the territories Autonomy was thus a possibility and not a constitutional obligation.

Thus, Spain is territorially organized into three levels (section 137 of the Constitution): Common (8098), provinces (50) and the Autonomous Communities (17). Each entity has the autonomy to manage its interests. Also, there is a division of powers between each level, which sometimes leads to power-sharing between two levels (as in France), making the system complicated.

At the regional level, Spain is made of 17 autonomous communities. The acquisition of autonomy for all regions was done as and when: Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country (1979/1980), Andalusia (1980), Aragon, Castilla- Piece (1982); Madrid, the Balearic Islands (1983). Note that the constitution has established different paths to independence:
1) The general route, also slow (art.143.2) where skills are limited to a list (art.148). Only after a period of 5 years can communities expand their skills to the limit of that of the state, egs. - Asturias, Murcia, Aragon, Madrid.
2) The special and strengthened path, so-called fast (Article 151), immediate access to a maximum level of competence within the limits of the state, without waiting period of 5 years. This procedure was followed by Andalusia, with some difficulty.
3) The unique way, enabling immediate and direct access to the maximum of expertise. These are territories that were adopted by referendum of the draft statutes of autonomy during the Second Republic. The formation of these so-called historic nationalities was interrupted by civil war and Franco (Catalonia, Galicia, Basque Country).

Tags: Spanish Constitution, autonomous communities, German federal state

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