Is asymmetry unavoidable? Analysing territorial claims in unitary states.

The paper analyses whether asymmetry is an unavoidable phenomenon in the territorial evolution of states. The starting point is a definition of asymmetry from a constitutional perspective and how this kind of distribution of competences is related to the principles of equality, fairness, and institutional loyalty. The paper then introduces a comparative constitutional exercise of three “unitary” systems (France, Japan and Denmark), to observe if sub-state units (Départements, Ryōseikoku and Regioner) evolve differently in terms of constitutional aspirations and recognition of asymmetric elements. The paper focuses on unitary states that seem to be, in terms of territorial demands, more homogenous and there is a less tendency to asymmetric claims. The paper will end by answering the question of whether asymmetry is unavoidable in any political entity and, if this is the case, a constitutional accommodation of this fact will help to avoid potential territorial tensions.

The Jeffersonian moment of the European Union

While many have written about a “Hamiltonian moment” for the EU, in this paper we argue that the Union is going through a Jeffersonian moment, full of contradictions, but also deeply “federal”, in which states play a major role. While other scholars have used compact theory to read the process of EU integration, especially in the aftermath of the BVG ruling of May 2020, we stress the need to go beyond Calhoun's view of the compact and look at the real germs of compact theory, starting from Jefferson's federalism. In so doing, we reflect on Jefferson’s contribution to the history of federalism, paying attention to his concept of nullification. We focus on the relationship between Jefferson and the ‘anti-federalists’, on the one hand, and between Jefferson and the supporters of the compact theory, on the other. We argue that nullification and compact theory should not be confined to the history of federalism, as they are now relevant to understand the latest developments in the EU.

Intergovernmental relations during the pandemic and beyond: an even more centralisation for the Italian regional system?

This paper aims at providing an analysis of intergovernmental relations in the Italian regional system during the pandemic. The main purpose is to highlight differences between the Italian regional system and other classical model of federations such as Germany and Canada. Italy has witnessed a centralisation and the practice of intergovernmental relations has shown this trend in continuity with the past two decades after the 2001 Reform. Afterwards, the Italian Constitutional Court (ICC), the financial crisis and lastly the pandemic has strengthened the centre. The Italian Recovery Plan (PNRR) may represent an additional aspect to take into account, since central government will play a prominent role as coordinator, while Regions will play the executive part. Through the lens of intergovernmental relations, the Italian regional system appears still in search of its identity and it has been proved by recent proposal of constitutional reforms.