Horizontal Cooperation in the Autonomous State: The Conference of Autonomous Presidents

  • Zulima Pérez i Seguí


One of the most important constitutional problems in our country, and one that has not yet been solved, is precisely the territorial distribution and organisation of power. Our Constitution defined a State that could be territorially decentralised, leaving it to the Autonomy Statutes and other laws on development to give it its final shape. The State has now reached decentralisation levels that were unthinkable at the time when the Constitution was adopted. The Autonomous Communities have a consolidated institutional organisation, and they have undertaken numerous powers successfully. However, important deficiencies still exist in vertical cooperation relations—between the State and the Autonomous Communities, but, more importantly, in horizontal cooperation relations, i.e., among the Autonomous Communities themselves.

The recently created Conference of Governments of the Autonomous Communities, following the Meeting of the Autonomous Communities for the development of the Autonomy Statutes, is preparing the first Conference of Autonomous Presidents, which has been scheduled after the May elections. Horizontal cooperation has proven to be a powerful tool against centralisation as the Autonomous Communities can exercise their common powers jointly, even those that are outside their territorial scope, in such a manner that there is no need of intervention from the State. Furthermore, making use of mechanisms of horizontal cooperation allows a better and stronger working of vertical cooperation, which makes it possible for the Autonomous Communities to coordinate their stances and be in a stronger position to negotiate with the State. In recent years, a claim for a Conference of Presidents on the horizontal level has gained followers. This would serve as forum for the Presidents of the Autonomous Communities, without the participation of the President of the Government.

This paper analyses, firstly, the need to improve the existing cooperation mechanisms, especially those working on a horizontal level, and secondly, the potentiality of a Conference of Autonomous Presidents from a comparative law approach. Proposals on the configuration of the Conference and its relation to other powers will also be discussed in this paper.


Regional Government Plenary Session Autonomous Community Cooperation Relation Territorial Distribution 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultat de Dret, Departament de Dret Constitucional Ciència Política i de l’ AdministracióUniversitat de ValènciaValènciaSpain

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