European Devolution

Michael Keating

in The Oxford Handbook of British Politics

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780199230952
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

European Devolution


Devolution is a peculiarly British term and it was introduced in the nineteenth century to resolve a problem that is characteristically (but not uniquely) British. It is also a response to the spatial rescaling of economic and social systems; to shifting responsibilities of government and the need for new governing instruments; and to pressures for territorial autonomy. Since devolution is a general term covering a range of constitutional arrangements, it is difficult to break it down into specific models, yet two broad types can be discerned. The division of powers is described. Scotland possesses a high degree of legislative devolution with the full set of parliamentary, executive, and administrative institutions and a broad set of responsibilities as a general-purpose government. Its relationship with the United Kingdom is a quasi-federal one, like the Spanish autonomous communities. The devolution settlement in the United Kingdom is unstable.

Keywords: European devolution; powers; Scotland; United Kingdom; Spain; legislative devolution; territorial autonomy

Article.  6905 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; UK Politics ; European Union

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »