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Decentralisation - 03.07.2006
More competences for the German regions
The lower house of the German Parliament has approved, on 30 June 2006, the reform of the federal system by giving greater powers to the sixteen regions (Länder) but restricting the veto powers of the Bundesrat, the Chamber of regions of the parliament.
The reform has been approved by 428 votes for and 162 against; it entails some 20 amendments to the German constitution and will enhance the powers of the regions in the fields of education, housing and the organisation of the judicial system.
As a counterweight, in view to speed up the federal legislative work, the veto right of the Bundesrat will be curtailed to 40% of the legislation, as opposed to 60% currently. The federation will see its competences in waste management widened. In the fields of science and research in the higher eduction sector, the federation and the regions will be able to cooperate closer on supra-regional projects.
This state reform, perceived as the most ambitious one since 1949, still has to be endorced by the Bundesrat by a two-thirds majority of the votes.
The German Bundestag website (the lower house of the national assembly)
The German Bundesrat website (the upper house of the national assembly)