Federalism is a principle of order which is based on the fact that individual parts retain their independence, although together they form a whole. From a political point of view, federalism means that state tasks are distributed among the local authorities and the state as a whole. In Germany these tasks are shared by the federal government, the federal states and the municipalities.

The opposite regulatory principle to federalism is centralism, in which the decision-making authority lies exclusively with the state as a whole.

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