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EL NIVEL SUPRAMUNICIPAL DE GOBIERNO LOCAL EN ALEMANIA

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Author(s): Ricard Gracia Retortillo

Journal: Revista d'Estudis Autonòmics i Federals
ISSN 1886-2632

Issue: 11;
Start page: 83;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Germany | territorial structure | local government | local autonomy | Kreis | county | region | local cooperation

ABSTRACT
This study analyzes the local government structure in Germany from a PublicLaw perspective. Specifically, it focuses on the local government levelcomposed by the public entities that exert powers above the territorial limitsof a municipality (Gemeinde) and below those of a Federated State (Bundesland).The analysis of the constitutional and legal position, the administrativeorganization and the powers of each of those entities, which is carriedout in this article, reveals a plural and heterogeneous system of local corporations,which can be best described as an asymmetrical multilevel system.This system articulates itself in the first place around Kreis’ central position,whose constitutional protection situates it as a second compulsory level oflocal government nationwide. Notwithstanding the diversity of Länder’s legislations,it is possible to identify a double tendency. While the legal regulationof the entities acting in the level below the Kreis (Gesamtgemeinden)appears to be quite stable, those above the Kreis (höhere Kommunalverbände,Regionalplanungskörperschaften and Stadt-Umland-Verbände) undergo importantprocesses of reform. Inasmuch these reforms tend to build “regional”levels of local government, they challenge the territorial and functionalstatus of the Kreise themselves.
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