Intergovernmental relations

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INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS – a notion used in particular in Anglo-Saxon federal states (the USA, Canada, Australia), concerning network relations between various public authorities, sharing the power of public exchange, rivalry, negotiations, cooperation in the area of state tasks. Int.rel. are called “federalism in action”. The subjects of int.rel. share, exchange resources and activities for the implementation of agreed goals. The reason for the increase in the importance of int.rel. are problems that go beyond the constitutionally-defined powers of the central government and federal units (states, provinces, countries, etc.) and the increasing interdependencies between public policies implemented at various levels of public authorities. Int.rel. assume the most institutionalized forms of cooperation between the central government and federal units as well as other local government units in the form of, for example, administrative “summits”, councils, general and industry intergovernmental committees (e.g. for the federal finance system, social and educational policy). In contrast to the systemic decisions regarding the federal structure of the state, int.rel. concern everyday cooperation between governments (central level, federal units) in areas of shared or necessary responsibility. Forms of int.rel. change in relation to the evolution of forms of federalism (executive, cooperative, fiscal, etc.). The general frame of int.rel. are constitutional relations. Essential elements of the int.rel. are issues of the sub-division of responsibility for public tasks, negotiations regarding the financing of programmes implemented in the federation countries by the central government. In political science, one can observe a tendency to expand the concept of the int.rel. to local government, not only in countries with a federal system. This applies in particular to countries with a strong position of local authorities and applying the → principle of subsidiarity. [D. Długosz]

Literature: T. Wieciech, Ustroje federalne Stanów Zjednoczonych, Kanady i Australii [Federal systems of the United States, Canada and Australia], Kraków 2009.