Switzerland - Europe's First Federation

Dardanelli, Paolo (2013) Switzerland - Europe's First Federation. In: Loughlin, John and Kincaid, John and Swenden, Wilfried, eds. Routledge Handbook of Regionalism and Federalism. Routledge Handbooks . Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 248-258. ISBN 978-0-415-56621-6. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://www.routledge.com/books/details/97804155662...

Abstract

Switzerland is a prominent example of a federal state. It is the second oldest such state in the world and has long been held as a model of federalism. This is particularly so in that the country has managed to achieve political and economic success in spite of significant linguistic and religious – though, not national – diversity. Many see the federal nature of its political system as a key factor that has made this possible. Federalism is one of the fundamental institutional features of the country and enjoys strong support among political actors and the wider population. At its inception in 1848 the Swiss federal state was extremely decentralized, with federal competences confined to a few key areas and the bulk of governing responsibilities in the hands of the cantons. Since then, although the fundamental features of the system have been exceptionally stable, more and more legislative competences have been transferred to the federation but responsibility for policy implementation and delivery has remained with the cantons. The trend deepened in the second half of the 20th century and has led to a form of federalism characterized by complex interlocking and dense vertical cooperation. Over the last two decades concerted efforts have been made to contain centralization through a new system of competence allocation and the development of horizontal cooperation among the cantons. Although there has undeniably been a significant erosion of cantonal autonomy over time, hence of the ‘federality’ of the system, this has not gone as far as fundamentally changing the nature of the Swiss state. Indeed, in comparative perspective, Switzerland remains among the most decentralized federal states in the world, i.e. those furthest away from having acquired unitary features. The Swiss state thus displays a low level of ‘hybridity’ and this is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: Switzerland, federalism, federal state, centralisation, centralization, decentralisation, decentralization, cantons
Subjects: J Political Science
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations > Centre for Federal Studies
Depositing User: Paolo Dardanelli
Date Deposited: 24 May 2013 15:08 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2013 08:23 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/33989 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):