Intergovernmental relations in Spain and the United Kingdom: the institutionalization of multilateral cooperation in asymmetric polities

Considering their dynamic and asymmetric character, the Spanish and British territorial constitutions seem particularly suitable for a comparative analysis. As regards the framework for intergovernmental relations (IGR), the traditional pattern of cooperation in both countries has been mainly limited to bilateral and ad hoc interactions between the central government and the government of each devolved territory. Even if asymmetry incentives bilateral IGR, Spain and Great Britain have followed parallel paths in order to institutionalize multilateral cooperation. This paper offers a comparative approach to the evolution of IGR in Spain and the UK and, particularly, to the progressive institutionalization of the multilateral ministerial meetings (the Sectoral Conferences in Spain and the Joint Ministerial Committees in the UK). The paper also analyses the recent developments of the Spanish IGR (formalization of bilateral committees; enhanced cooperation for the governance of the long-term care services) and the prospects for their implementation in the UK.
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