What is the advantage of federalism
Federalism is an organizational principle of individual units that together form a whole, but remain largely independent. From a political point of view, federalism is about an order in which the state tasks are divided between the state as a whole and the individual states in such a way that both political levels are solely responsible for certain tasks set out in the constitution. The individual states and the state as a whole coordinate their decisions with one another.
Forms of federalism
Federalism can be designed as a confederation or as a federal state. In the confederation of states, independent states form a loose association that deal with certain matters in joint organs. In the case of a federal state, on the other hand, a new state is created through the amalgamation of states. In addition to the newly formed state as a whole, the member states retain their independent state authority.
Federalism in Germany
In the Federal Republic of Germany as a federal state, federalism is enshrined in the Basic Law. It provides for cooperation between the federal and state governments, with specific tasks being assigned to the two levels of legislation, administration and jurisdiction. In principle, legislation is a matter for the federal government and administration is a matter for the states. The case law is closely interlinked between the federal and state governments.
Advantages of federalism
If the states are delimited according to regional or functional responsibilities, the tasks can be assigned according to the principle of subsidiarity. In this way, the advantages of smaller communities can be combined with those of larger ones, in that a (state) task is to be carried out as far as possible by the lower level or smaller unit, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. The principle is based on the assumption that this is the best way to develop the strengths of the member states and to perform their tasks most effectively with the greatest possible self-determination and responsibility.
Another argument in favor of a federal form of organization is the restriction of political power through its division on different levels - the vertical separation of powers. In addition, there are several levels of political participation on the one hand, which strengthens the citizens' understanding of democracy by giving them several options for participation, from local to federal elections. On the other hand, there are also different ways of performing tasks, which promotes competition between the individual states and thus the search for the most effective solution.
Criticism of German federalism
Critics complain that the cooperation between the federal government and the federal states has been so strictly regulated over the years that the two now more than complement each other. As a state body, the Bundesrat would regularly delay the federal government's draft bills, while more and more competencies would be shifted to the federal government, which in turn increases the number of approval laws. In 2006, the Bundestag and Bundesrat passed a federal reform with an amendment to the Basic Law, which aims to clearly assign competencies to the federal government and the federal states and to reorganize financial relations.
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