The Lessons That The American Experience With Federalism

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Report on the lessons that the American experience with federalism may offer to the development of the European Union

Jonathan Martin Brennan – Student ID: 14014998
Politics and Government - Seminar Tutor: Dr Mike Mills

Federalism laid the foundation of the United States of America as the powerful nation we know it today, and therefore it was ideal as an implement in the shaping of the European Union. The concept of federalism has been a part of the US’s political identity for as long as one can remember, but it has also been a key theory in intellectual and philosophical circles in the old continent. In order to outline the lessons that the European Union can learn from the success of federalism in the United
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Thus, these political divisions are granted a certain degree of autonomy, that unlike in decentralised states, it is based upon constitutional ground, this is, in states that are built by a decentralised system or devolution of powers, the central power has the capacity of overruling any decision it may wish to; however, in a federal state, the withdrawal of policy-making that the central government may not approve of is a much more complex process, as the local authority has the constitutional right to approve its own measures, as sovereignty is constitutionally divided (Norris, 2001. Chapter 7).

Effectiveness in multi-level governance (MLG)
Alexis de Tocqueville, one of the most important political thinkers of his time, and a great scholar in comparative federalism, in his “Democracy in America” mentions how “old Europe” could learn from “young America” regarding the enactment of the concept of federalism, particularly in terms of “the problem of legitimacy in the context of multi-level governance” (Nicolaidis & Howse, 2001). It is in this aspect, that the EU must avoid its statist approach to sovereignty and must keep on the track of the subsidiarity principle, i.e., “the allocation or the use of authority within a political order where there is no unitary sovereign” (Nicolaidis & Howse, 2001. Chapter 4.) This is, despite the fear of a loss of credit,
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