The essay proposes a comparative study of the implementation of the constitutional rules concerning the division of powers between the state and the regions/autonomous communities in the field of social policies in Italy and Spain. The analysis focuses on the forms taken by state intervention and by vertical cooperation in this sector, which is nominally a competence of national legislators in both compound states. It leads to observe some differences, but also basic analogies and a general evolution which is similar in various aspects, particularly during the recent phase which has been characterised by the economic crisis and by the austerity context that this has implied in the European Union: namely, recentralising trends are pointed out by the examination of legislation and cooperation, as well as by the study of constitutional case law concerning them. The comparison finally enables common problems to be detected and possible solutions and present outlooks to be considered.
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