During the recent COVID-19 pandemic the issue of the intergovernmental relations has been called into question on several occasions. In situations of emergency a decentralised architecture of the government constraints the central government’s power through competition among different levels of government. Therefore, it is crucial to reconsider the role of government in the European democracies and the necessity to protect civil liberties and economic freedom through the activity of different levels of government which interact and confront the central government’s power and, if necessary, limit it. Indeed, small and competing jurisdictions may transform the decentralised architecture into a laboratory of public policies where there is trial-and-error learning from experimentation and also an induced competitive effect for the selection of good politicians, implying an accountability improvement. 

The choice between centralisation and decentralisation depends on the trade-off between the inefficiencies derived from the uniform policies and those derived from the lack of coordination at local level. The differentiation of situations and the information available locally favour the role of the sub-national governments and may be a multiplier of the economic and social growth. 

The project aims to compare the experiences of different models of government (centralised, decentralised, mixed) in Europe in the phase of the emergency, and that of the recovery in terms of innovation and differentiation of the policies and limitation of the Leviathan’s power. 

The project will: 

About the event 

The event consists in the presentation of the book ”Decentralisation in Times of Crisis”, published by the European Liberal Forum in cooperation with Fondazione Luigi Einaudi and Paddy Ashdown Forum, and in a conference where speakers from several EU countries assess the current situation of decentralisation in their countries – either on a political, economic, social or legal point of views. 

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