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Federal Systems and European Union - Essay Example

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Federal Systems and European Union

Defining federalism, Auer (2005) states that federalism consists of a specific combination of autonomy or self rule, superposition or limited rule and participation or shared rule so that two independent levels of government could coexist and work simultaneously for the citizens1. Thus autonomy, limited rule and shared rule in which centralized governance is importance could all be important features of federalism. Distribution of powers between political units, defining these constituent units and providing a scheme or approach towards resolution of conflicts are some of the functions of federal constitutions. Auer argues that EU performs all these functions and could be considered in legal terms as having a multinational federal type of system. As the EU is primarily focused in bringing out a balance of power between European nations albeit through a centralized EU control network, the system of governance and politics is highly federal or at least meant to be so2. However we may ask whether the plan or blueprint of having an EU federal system has really worked and whether EU federalism is a reality in any way or simply a theoretical term. These are issues that have to be understood on the basis of political, social and economic factors and changes within the EU.
The subject of federalism is important in the context of the Eur...
Nicholson explored the routes to a united Europe and world government advocating federal union and functionalism. Drinkwater suggests that Nicholson gave a new meaning to idealism and realism through his liberal realism and used a new approach to solve sociopolitical problems. Thus liberal realism could be considered as a way towards federalism as the need to find peace and banish war would be in the spirit of working together in a centralized unified manner and federalism in the European Union would be especially important to bring peace and cooperation in the region3. The value of federalism thus relates to large longer term political agendas of peace and unification and not just short term social goals of having trust among members or improving the structure of power sharing between nations.
Elaborating on issues of trust and accountability, Follesdal (2005) suggest that the Constitutional Treaty for Europe or CTE has helped in strengthening the federalism of European political order, especially for the future and multiple forms of balancing and changes in the CTE have actually helped in improvements of the political scenario within Europe. The treaty of Europe is thus geared towards creating a European political order that would have federal features to enhance trust aspects among European citizens4. Thus the true advantage of such a treaty would be to increase the trust factor among Europeans by creating a more congenial political order. With the increased federal features and emphasis on federalism in the new political order, the central changes are related to increased emphasis on human rights, issues related to national and European parliament and political parties and seeking greater transparency of operations within ...Show more


Federalism refers to a group of members governed by a representative head and in which the system of government is divided between a central authority and constituent units. In a federal system of government or federation, the power to govern is shared between national and regional governments…
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Federal Systems and European Union essay example
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