Fiscal Federalism and Fiscal Decentralisation in Europe

Monday, 4. June 2012 (All day)

Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Veranstaltungssaal); Otto Wagner Platz 3; A 1090 Vienna

The first conference of the series on Fiscal Federalism and Fiscal Decentralisation in Europe and a public-round-table. 

Fiscal Federalism and Fiscal Decentralisation are next to the regional parliaments the cornerstones of any multi-level-governance systems. Nevertheless polities, politics, and policies differ significantly from country to country applying a multi-level-governance system in Europe. Substantial differences can be identified in the histories of bringing about a decentralized fiscal system, among others:

  • the conceptual approaches (bottom-up versus top-down; federal state, decentralisation and federalisation),
  • the centre-constituent relations,
  • symmetries or a-symmetries among the constituents,
  • degree of fiscal and financial right to decide
  • a general consensus on the joint statehood is given or trends to independence.

In the conference in the Central Bank of Austria case studies from a set of very heterogeneous, sometimes conflicting fiscal systems and multi-level concepts will be studied. 

Furthermore to study fiscal federalism and decentralisation the scholarly areas of public finances and comparative federal studies have to be ancillary combined. 

The conference aims to approach this in four levels that promise to allow a comparative perspective analysing:

  • The given status quo of the applied systems in the four case studies as well as their special features (Panel 1)
  • The impact of a change in power on the centre level and on the constituent level on shaping fiscal systems in Spain, UK and Italy (Panel 2)
  • The impact of the economic crisis and the sovereign debt crisis, that hit the countries in varying degrees on decentralised fiscal concepts (Panel 3)
  • An overview on mayor trends, reforms and problems to be solved in the country discourses (Panel 4)

The conference intends, next to fostering the academic debate and exchange, to stimulate the public discourse on federalism, decentralisation and devolution as a main trend of politics in Europe. Therefore following the scholarly conference a public-round-table (in German) will be held with the participation of academic experts and decision makers. 

The conference series is a joint project of Foster Europe, Foundation for Strong European Regions, the Institut d’Estudis Autonomics, Barcelona , the Fundación Manuel Giménez Abad de Estudios Parlamentarios y del Estado Autonómico, Zaragosa, the Institute for Studies on Federalism and Regionalism, European Research Academy, Bozen/Bolzano the Academy of Government an der University of Edinburgh, School of Social and Political Science, and the Austrian Institut für Föderalismus, Innsbruck. The Austrian daily newspaper Wiener Zeitung is media partner of the conference series.