A confederal government is a form of government in which sovereign states delegate power to a centralized government. The central government is weaker than the states, and states can choose to follow the lead of the central government or not. The powers of the central government are typically limited to defense and foreign commerce.
A confederal system of government utilizes a weak centralized government to handle those tasks that are assigned to it by an alliance of sovereign states. These tasks tend to deal with foreign trade and defense, but since there is no central authority, there is often conflict. An example of a modern government using a system that most closely resembles a confederal government is the European Union. The advantage to having a confederal government is that it prevents the central government from gaining too much power and allows states to retain their individual identities. The disadvantage to having a confederal system includes the potential for a lack of unity between the states and an inability on the part of the central government to enforce the laws. While it allows individual states to retain their autonomy, it is not a very efficient system of government when a consensus cannot be reached.