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What is federalism?

Federalism is a form of state formation in which the individual parts (countries/regions) have a high degree of sovereignty. As a result, citizens themselves can influence the preservation of values to which they attach great importance. Think of language, culture, identity, morals and customs. Other social issues are better dealt with at a federal (transnational) level because of their complexity. For example, foreign policy, defence, climate issues, migration.

 

There are now 27 federal states in the world, housing 40% of the world's population. Well-known examples of strong federations are Germany, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, India.

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Why is federalism a unique instrument for achieving and maintaining peace?

There are too many conflicts in the world. Mostly as a result of colliding interests. Result: refugees, violation of human rights, destruction of cities, terrorism, autocracy, violation of the rule of law and other acts that harm the rights of innocent citizens. Due to the fact that within a federation member states remain sovereign tensions between countries and regions can be mitigated in order to restore living together without provoking resistance and taking up arms. Thus, federal state formation combines sovereignty resting on the foundations of society with the promotion of common interests at a higher level. This might not be easy in highly conflictuous parts of the world, but it can and must be done.

 

Examples of such conflict areas where a federal solution is obvious are Indonesia/Moluccas, Israel/Palestine, Cameroon, Kurdistan.

 

Federal state formation is also an instrument with a lot of added value in other situations: federalisation of the European Union, of the United Kingdom after Brexit, of Spain to keep the separatist movements of Catalonia and the Basque country inboard, federalizing Ukraine with its North, South and Crimea parts, and Cyprus with the Turkish and Greek sub-regions. See the section Projects for a small provisional list of places where the Federalism for Peace Foundation is intending to apply its expertise. 

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