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Unformatted text preview: conomic affairs and education.
In Spain, the autonomous communities’ share of public spending has risen sharply over the last 20 years. Whereas
autonomous communities did not exist just over 20 years ago they now account for about one third of public spending
and their share is growing. All the autonomous communities now have jurisdiction in a large number of fields (including
education) and will all soon have jurisdiction over health.
In Italy, between 1990 and 1997, the share of public spending attributable to the regions rose from 23% to 26% while
that of local governments held steady at 20% and this trend has doubtless been accentuated in recent years, according
to Laura Raimondo. However, the regions’ share remained stable in relation to GDP. Italy is currently undergoing an
extensive decentralization process (the 1997 Bassanini I law and its sequels), strongly influenced by the subsidiarity
principle. In a referendum in October 1991, 64% of voters approved the regionalization of jurisdiction over education and
health, in particular.
In 1997, the United Kingdom, a unitary country, initiated a process of devolution of jurisdictions to the Parliament of
Scotland and to the Assemblies of Northern Ireland and Wales. In France, whose administrative decentralization
legislation of the 1980s produced a relatively “decentralized” unitary country among the countries of the European
Union, current trends point to a possible recentralization, according to Guy Gilbert. 15
16 8 This section does not deal with Germany since the texts contain little discussion of this question.
Flanders, however, is demanding that this sector be decentralized. Commission on Fiscal Imbalance 3.3. Reforms of Intergovernmental Fiscal Arrangements
In their texts, the authors describe the recent history of intergovernmental fiscal arrangements and the efforts currently
being made in these countries to change these arrangements. Beyond the specific situation of each country, some
general observations emerge regarding these past and present reforms. They are often responses to demands or
pressure from federated states; they seek to adapt the financial arrangements to changes that make them necessary;
they are generally the culmination of a public negotiation process that unfolds within an institutional framework that
stipulates the active and formal participation of the federated entities; as a general rule, they are political agreements
from which the federated governments do not expect to emerge with a loss and, lastly, these reforms are most often not
implemented unilaterally by the federal government.
In Germany, the system of financial arrangements has shown its great flexibility by successfully adapting to the major
shock of the entry of the much less affluent eastern Länder into the equalization system. In addition, the reform of
intergovernmental fiscal relations passed in 2001, which will become effective in 2005, is the result of pressure brought
to bear by three Länder (Bavaria, Baden-Wurtemberg and Hesse) and the decision of the...
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