Federal Studies

Featured story

Picture by Michael D Beckwith

Subnational governments and their growing pivotal role in a Covid-19 Scenario

This webinar explored the dynamics and practices of subnational and local governments in responding to the challenges facing Latin America and the Caribbean as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Presenting perspectives from within the hemisphere and experiences from Europe, speakers discussed key lessons and needs for local governance resilience-building initiatives. On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, the webinar highlighted the unique opportunity that the pandemic offers to refocus priorities and redirect resources towards building more just and peaceful societies. Please see practical guide and online event here

Centralization vs. Decentralization Against COVID-19

Centralization or decentralization: what works best against pandemics? Which one has proven to be the most effective strategy during the past few months?

In an online debate co-hosted by the Centre for Contemporary Studies (CETC) and the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (DIPLOCAT), experts on the territorial politics Nicola McEwen, Francesco Palermo, Mireia Grau and Johanna Schabel exchanged views on the topic and analysed the way United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Spain have dealt with the coronavirus crisis. The discussants focused on the role of sub-state entities in the COVID-19 context, especially in the idea of cooperation between central and regional governments in multi-level governance political systems. The panellists agreed that the coronavirus crisis has shown that political systems are more centralized than they look on paper. They also stressed the importance of the political culture to analyse and understand the COVID19 institutional response in each country. Marc Sanjaume, political scientist and professor at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, moderated the debate.


Building Federalism: Security Precedents, Federal Courts, Local Government in Cyprus

On November 11 2019, the Forum, in collaboration with the High Commission of Canada, held an event exploring the potential of federal models in the development of a settlement to the Cyprus conflict.


‘Devolution in England: International Perspectives, Politics and Policy Ideas after Brexit’ Conference

The Centre for Federal Studies (University of Kent), the James Madison Charitable Trust, the Forum of Federations and the Federal Trust Fund co-organised a conference ‘Devolution in England: International Perspectives, Politics and Policy Ideas after Brexit,’ on the 20-21 June 2017 at the University of Kent. Around 40 participants, politicians, senior academics, policy makers and NGO representatives from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Spain and Italy, attended the conference. The conference aimed to shed the light on the on-going debate over devolution in the UK and more specifically the implication that Brexit will have on the future of institutional design within the UK. The conference was organised in seven sessions that looked on lessons from across the countries such as Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain and Canada in order to provide policy ideas and recommendations.


Tuesday 20 – 21 June 2017, University of Kent, Woolf College, Canterbury, UK

A conference co-organised by the Centre for Federal Studies, the James Madison Charitable Trust, the Forum of Federations and the Federal Trust.


Monday 19 June 2017

Arrival and check-in from 15:00
18:30 – Informal dinner for invited speakers and participants

Tuesday 20 June 2017

08:45 – 09:15 Coffee and registration
09:15 – 10:45 Session 1. Federal Devolution in Theory and Practice (I): new concepts

Questions for speakers:

  1. What are the latest conceptual innovations in the field of federalism studies in relation to devolving power to lower tiers of government (regional, local)?
  2. Is the centralisation of power at national and possibly supranational levels the single greatest challenges? What are the other main challenges?

Chair: Mary Southcott (Friends of Cyprus)
Confirmed speakers: Thibaud Bodson (Free University Berlin); Jonathan Carr-West (LGiU); Feargal Cochrane (Kent); Paolo Dardanelli (Kent)

10:45 – 11:15 Coffee
11:15 – 13:15 Session 2. Federal Devolution in Theory and Practice (II): examples from Canada, Germany, Spain and Switzerland

Questions for speakers:

  1. What has been the country-specific experience over the past 20-30 years in relation to the centralisation of power (e.g. in the context of globalisation, European integration)?
  2. How have the four countries devolved power to lower levels or protected their decentralised models of government and governance?
  3. What lessons might there be for other countries such as England in terms of devolving powers (institutionally and in policy areas such as transport, health, housing and education)?

Chair: Felix Knüpling (Forum of Federations)
Confirmed speakers: Rupak Chattopadhyay (Forum of Federations); César Colino (St Antony’s, Oxford & Open University, Spain); Klaus Detterbeck (University of Göttingen); Willi Haag (Council of St. Gallen)

13:15 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 15:30 Session 3. A new constitutional settlement for England in a more federal UK?

Questions for speakers:

  1. How has the place of England within the UK evolved since devolution to Scotland and Wales and more recently after the 2014 Scottish referendum and now Brexit?
  2. What options are there for devolving more powers to England? A parliament? Regional assemblies? More elected mayors? Some combination?

Chair: Adrian Pabst (Kent)
Confirmed speakers: Vernon Bogdanor (KCL); Maurice Glasman (Labour Life Peer); Meg Russell (UCL)

15:30 – 16:00 Tea
16:00 – 17:30 Session 4. English devolution: advances and limits of city and metro mayors

Questions for the keynote speaker and the panellists:

  1. What has been the experience of city and metro mayors in terms of devolved powers?
  2. What are the main advances and limits of creating city and metro mayors?
  3. Is there a case in favour of devolving new powers and creating more city and metro mayors?

Chair: Rupak Chattopadhyay (Forum of Federations)
Confirmed keynote speaker: John Denham (former Cabinet Minister; University of Winchester)
Invited panellists: Richard Brown (Centre for London); Jon Cruddas (Labour parliamentary candidate for Dagenham and Rainham); Andrew Percy (Minister for Northern Powerhouses)

17:30 – 18:00 Drinks reception (Woolf Foyer)
18:30 – 20:30 Dinner
20:30 – 22:00 Panel conversation on the life and legacy of John Pinder

Chair: Terry Bishop (Chair, JMCT)
Confirmed panellists: Stanley Henig (Vice Chair, JMCT); Lucio Levi (University of Turin); Angus Sladen (Honorary Treasurer, JMCT)

Wednesday 21 June 2017

09:00 – 09:30 Coffee
09:30 – 11:15 Session 5. New policy ideas for a devolved settlement in England: more mayors, stronger counties, or an English parliament?

Questions for speakers:

  1. Is there a case for creating mayors across English villages, towns and cities (analogous to the case of Italy and France in the 1980s)?
  2. What role could and should play counties in a new devolved settlement for England?
  3. Is there space for an English Parliament while maintaining the UK Parliament?

Chair: Adrian Pabst (Kent)
Confirmed speakers: Phillip Blond (ResPublica; co-author of the report Devo Max Devo Manc); Jonathan Carr-West (LGiU); Jane Wills (Queen Mary London);

11:15 – 11:45 Coffee
11:45 – 13:00 Session 6. Brexit and the consequences for devolved external affairs

Chair: Brendan Donnolly (Federal Trust)
Speaker: Richard Whitman (Kent), author of “Devolved External Affairs: The Impact of Brexit”, a research paper published by Chatham House
Invited discussants: Nicholas Whyte (APCO, Brussels)

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 16:00 Session 7. Panel debate: federal devolution in a comparative perspective

Questions for speakers:

  1. What, if any, insights for devolving powers might apply across countries?
  2. What are the main lessons in relation to political strategies and policy areas?

Invited Chair: Richard Sakwa (Kent)
Confirmed panellists: Clive Grace (Cardiff Business School); Neophytos Loizides (Kent)
Roundtable discussion with Rupak Chattopadhyay (Forum of Federations); César Colino (St Antony’s, Oxford & Open University, Spain); Klaus Detterbeck (University of Göttingen); Willi Haag (Council of St. Gallen)

16:00 – 16:30 Tea and departure

List of invited speakers and participants

  • Bishop, Terry, Chair, JMCT
  • Blond, Phillip, Director, ResPublica think-tank
  • Bodson, Thibaud, PhD candidate, Freie Universität Berlin
  • Bogdanor, Vernon, Research Professor, Institute for Contemporary British History, King’s College London
  • Brown, Richard, Research Director, Centre for London
  • Carr-West, Jonathan, Chief Executive, LGiU
  • Chattopadhyay, Rupak, President and CEO, Forum of Federations, Canada
  • Cochrane, Feargal, Professor of International Conflict Analysis, Director, Conflict Analysis Research Centre, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent
  • Colino, César, Santander Fellow in Iberian and European Studies at the European Studies Centre (2016-2017); Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Spanish Open University (UNED)
  • Lord (Patrick) Cormack, Life Peer (Conservative)
  • Cruddas, Jon, Labour parliamentary candidate for Dagenham and Rainham
  • Dardanelli, Paolo, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent
  • Denham, John, Professor and Director, Centre for English for English Identity and Politics, University of Winchester; former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (2009-10)
  • Detterbeck, Klaus, Professor of Politics, Institut für Politikwissenschaft, University of Göttingen
  • Donnelly, Brendan, Director, The Federal Trust
  • Forbes, Nick, Councillor and Leader of Newcastle City Council (Labour)
  • Lord (Maurice) Glasman, Life Peer (Labour)
  • Grace, Clive, Honorary Research Fellow in international public services, Cardiff Business School
  • Haag, Willi, former Cantonal Councillor of St. Gallen
  • Henig, Stanley, Vice Chair, JMCT
  • Knüpling, Felix, Head of Programs, Forum of Federations, Berlin
  • Levi, Lucio, Professor of Politics, University of Turin
  • Loizides, Neophytos, Professor of International Conflict Analysis, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent
  • Lowndes, Vivien, Professor of Public Policy, Institute of Local Government Studies and School of Government and Society, University of Birmingham
  • Pabst, Adrian, Reader in Politics, School of Politics and International Relations; Director, Centre for Federal Studies, University of Kent
  • Percy, Andrew, Minister for the Northern Powerhouses, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Brigg and Goole (Conservative)
  • Russell, Meg, Director of the Constitution Unit; Professor of British and Comparative Politics, University College London
  • Sakwa, Richard, Professor of Russian and Eastern European Politics, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent; Associate Fellow, Chatham House
  • Sheldon, Jack, Researcher, Constitutional Unit, University College London
  • Sladen, Angus, Honorary Treasurer, JMCT
  • Southcott, Mary, Coordinator, Friends of Cyprus
  • Traylor, Owen; Senior Research Associate, Conflict Analysis Research Centre, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent; former British diplomat
  • Whitman, Richard, Professor of Politics and International Politics and Head of School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent; Associate Fellow, Chatham House
  • Whyte, Nicholas, Senior Director, global solutions, APCO, Brussels
  • Wills, Jane, Professor of Human Geography, Queen Mary University of London; author of Locating localism: Statecraft, citizenship and democracy (Bristol: Policy Press, 2016)

‘Building Federalism: International Lessons and Perspectives’ Conference

Monday 26 June 2017

The programme and the speaker’s keynote address can be viewed here.