The German constitution stipulates that in certain fields the federal authorities are to work with the states in order to fulfill their tasks. This is the case when these tasks are significant for all and the contribution of the federal authorities is necessary to improve living conditions (Joint Tasks). Art. 91a of the German constitution names the Joint Tasks:
1. Improvement of Regional Economic Structure
2. Improvement of Agricultural Structure and Costal Protection
These Joint Tasks and details of coordination are more closely defined through federal law requiring the consent of the Federal Council. The former Joint Task “Extension and Building of Institutions of Higher Education” was abolished in the course of federal reform. Since then the newly drawn up Art. 91b of the German constitution regulates the working together of the federal and state authorities for research funding in cases of supra-regional significance (Joint Task Research Funding).
The Joint Tasks “Improvement of Regional Economic Structure” and “Improvement of Agricultural Structure” are particularly important for spatial development. For rural areas these tasks can be seen as complementary to one another.