Intergovernmental relations in Spain have undergone a significant transformation during the past 22 years. With the transition to democracy, Spain has developed from a unitary-centralist into a quasi-federal polity in which the 17 autonomous communities enjoy significant political autonomy. However, Spain is not only moving toward federal democracy, it is also approaching a cooperative model of federalism in which multilateral intergovernmental cooperation and joint decision-making supersede the bilateral negotiations and regional competition that traditionally characterized intergovernmental relations. The shift from competitive regionalism to cooperative federalism is the result of the progressive Europeanization of the Spanish state and its autonomous communities, which has encouraged consultation and cooperation between the national government and the regions. As traditional forms of intergovernmental relations proved ineffective for necessary coordination and cooperation, the Spanish government and the autonomous communities established a new procedure for cooperating in European affairs-the first institutional framework to provide for the joint participation of all 17 autonomous communities in central-state decision-making.
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