Union State

Unitary, union and federal states

Unitary state France

A highly centralised state in which political power is concentrated at the centre. Central government has ultimate authority over subnational institutions. The centre dominates the political, economic and cultural life of the state. All areas of the state are governed in the same way and there is a very high degree of administrative standardisation.

Union state UK

A state whose component parts have come together through a union of crowns or by treaty.

l There is a high degree of administrative standardisation but the component nations retain some of their pre-union features (e.g. separate churches or legal systems) Political power is concentrated at the centre but the component nations have some degree of autonomy (e.g. through devolution).

Federal state USA/Germany

A state in which the constitution divides decision- making authority between national (federal) and regional (state) tiers of government. The different tiers of government are protected by the constitution: one tier cannot abolish the other. The regions within the state have a distinctive political, and often cultural, identity.