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Categoria/Category: Anno XXX, n. 131, settembre-ottobre 1995
Editore/Publisher: Centro Einaudi
Anno/Year: 1995

Abstract

Testo disponibile solo in lingua inglese.
All existing federal states have undergone a process – with varying degrees of profundity but, in all cases, wide-ranging – of progressive centralisation. This has happened despite the fact that federal constitutions contain specific clauses to protect against such a risk. The European Union has to learn from the experience of the past, and hence to avoid repeating mistakes. Analysis of the experience of other federal states (of the United States, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Australia in particular) demonstrates that centralisation processes occur mainly in five areas. It is here that specific constitutional safeguards have to be introduced. They comprise the procedures for the revision of the Constitution, the composition and role of the federal constitutional court, the Union's power to raise taxes, the guaranteeing of the member states' right to secession and, finally, the need to introduce asymmetrical voting rules for ordinary legislation – rules capable, that is, of facilitating decisions to decentralise and restore competences to the lower levels of government as opposed to decisions to centralise and regulate. If it is to be liberal, the Constitution of the future European Union must contain specific, rigid guarantees on these five points.

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