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A confederation is a loose association of sovereign states, which govern the entire confederation through consensus (usually, but not always, requiring unanimous consensus). It thus allows smaller groups to work together, while retaining a large degree of their independence on most issues.

A confederation means that smaller groups can band together on important issues (often collective security and economic policy), thus putting truth to the phrase "strength in numbers".

The current European Union is a confederation, in that it shares common decision-making on certain issues of economic policy and personal liberty, but leaves the constituent nations to pursue their own foreign policy.

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