21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Adopted texts

      Recommendations

      Recommendation 307 Citizen participation at local and regional level in Europe

      Recommendation 308 Local and regional democracy in Slovenia

      Recommendation 309 The office of Ombudsman and local and regional authorities

      Recommendation 310 Local and regional democracy in Bulgaria

      Recommendation 311 Local and regional democracy in Finland

      Recommendation 312 Local elections in Albania (8 May 2011)

      Recommendation 313 Local elections in Moldova (5 June 2011)

      Recommendation 314 Reservations and declarations to the European Charter of Local
      Self-Government

      Recommendation 315 The situation of Roma in Europe: a challenge for local and regional authorities

      Recommendation 316 Local and regional democracy in Serbia

      Recommendation 317 Local and regional democracy in Latvia

      Resolutions

      Resolution 325 Verification of new members’ credentials and new appointment procedures

      Resolution 326 Citizen participation at local and regional level in Europe

      Resolution 327 The office of Ombudsman and local and regional authorities

      Resolution 328 Local elections in Albania (8 May 2011)

      Resolution 329 Local elections in Moldova (5 June 2011)

      Resolution 330 Reservations and declarations to the European Charter of Local
      Self-Government

      Resolution 331 The European Charter of Local Self-Government in domestic law

      Resolution 332 Tools for democratic citizenship

      Resolution 333 The situation of Roma in Europe: a challenge for local and regional authorities

      Resolution 334 Developing indicators to raise awareness of human rights at local and regional level

      Resolution 335 Energy supply and energy efficiency at local and regional level: promoting energy transition

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Citizen participation at local and regional level in Europe

      Recommendation 307 (2011)1

      1. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities reaffirms its commitment to public participation in local and regional affairs as a basic right at the heart of local democracy, giving people the ability to influence the decisions of the representative bodies that affect their lives and communities. To participate effectively people need to have both the capacity and the motivation to act. Local and regional authorities, for their part, need to have dynamic communication policies and ensure easy access to relevant information.

      2. The Congress recalls Recommendation (2001)19 of the Committee of Ministers on the participation of citizens in local life and notes that, in the ten years since this recommendation was adopted, many member states have instituted and use an increasingly wide variety of tools and institutions to encourage citizen participation and strengthen local and regional democracy.

      3. These tools vary from informal instruments such as citizen’s panels to binding local and regional referendums. It is important that such instruments are not just empty frameworks but are actively used: however good an instrument is, poor implementation can damage trust in the democratic process rather than encourage it.

      4. Citizen participation can be hampered by many factors. Citizen groups and popular initiatives can be disheartened by the complicated and rigid procedures in place. There can be a lack of information on the opportunities to participate in local public affairs or the information may only reach certain groups leading to participants who are not representative of all of the community. Through encouraging dialogue between all groups a more cohesive community can be attained.

      5. The Congress believes that, in these times of increasing cuts to local and regional authority allocations and disenchantment with the political process, it is more important than ever that citizens actively participate at the level closest to them. The way forward is through innovation and active citizenship at grassroots level. Increased public participation and direct involvement in local governance will give citizens a sense of empowerment, and will help to restore confidence.

      6. Local and regional authorities are experimenting with new and different ways to engage their citizens in contributing to the governance of their communities. There is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach; cultural as well as locally specific factors can influence the effectiveness of participation initiatives.

      7. Providing clear, comprehensive and accessible information on local and regional policies strengthens active citizenship and fosters a feeling of belonging to a community as well as the civic duty to contribute to this community in a democratic society. Recent developments concerning the online publication of raw government information as ‘open data’ in some countries have shown how new information and communication technologies combined with a policy of transparency can have a direct impact on participation and services at the local and regional level.2

      8. Through actively consulting citizens, elected representatives are increasing their knowledge base and ensuring that decisions and policies are more innovative, informed, cost-effective and balanced.

      9. The Congress regrets that, despite the importance that the Council of Europe places on the active participation of citizens in local and regional life, the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-government on the Right to Participate in the Affairs of a Local Authority (ETS No. 207) has not yet entered into force. The Council of Europe Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level (ETS No. 144), opened for signature in 1997, has also received few ratifications.

      10. The Congress welcomes Recommendation (2009)2 of the Committee of Ministers on the evaluation, auditing and monitoring of participation and participation policies at local and regional level and is ready to participate in any follow-up to this recommendation which aims to ascertain what works well in participatory democracy and to ensure that best practices are shared.

      11. The Congress recommends that the Committee of Ministers invite member States:

      a. to follow the example of certain member states and publish public data online, creating an ‘open data’ source for public government information, which is a valuable element to increasing dialogue with citizens at the local and regional level;

      b. to make greater use of existing instruments in their countries which are available for direct democracy at local and regional level and, in those countries where regulation of local government is entrusted to a regional level of government, to encourage the regional authorities to do likewise;

      c. to introduce incentives to encourage local and regional authorities to use new information and communication technologies, including social networks, to increase citizen participation, and improve transparency and services to the public;

      d. in those countries where it is not yet possible, to allow local and regional authorities to introduce participatory budgeting in order to increase confidence in the democratic process and strengthen social cohesion in local communities;

      e. to ensure that national and, where applicable, regional rules governing citizens’ initiatives are straightforward and not a disincentive for those wishing to launch an initiative;

      f. to sign and ratify the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-government on the Right to Participate in the Affairs of a Local Authority (ETS No. 207);

      g. to sign and ratify the Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level (ETS No. 144) to ensure reasonable efforts are made to involve foreign residents in consultations on local matters;

      h. to ensure that all forms of democratic participation at local level are open to all people, regardless of citizenship or nationality.

      12. The Congress invites the Committee of Ministers:

      a. to follow up its Recommendation (2009)2 by asking member states to report on its implementation, and encourage those member States which are not yet using direct forms of citizen participation to begin doing so;

      b. to support the Congress in its efforts to continue taking the right of citizens to participate in the conduct of local public affairs into account during its visits to assess the application of the European Charter of Local Self-Government in member States;

      c. to continue its dialogue with the Congress on improving democratic participation at the local and regional level.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Local and regional democracy in Slovenia

      Recommendation 308 (2011)3

      1. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe refers to:

      a. Article 2, paragraph 1.b of Statutory Resolution (2011)2 relating to the Congress, which provides that one of the aims of the Congress shall be “to submit proposals to the Committee of Ministers in order to promote local and regional democracy”;

      b. Article 2, paragraph 3 of Statutory Resolution (2011)2 relating to the Congress, stipulating that “The Congress shall prepare on a regular basis country-by-country reports on the situation of local and regional democracy in all member states and in states which have applied to join the Council of Europe, and shall ensure, in particular, that the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government are implemented’’;

      c. Congress Resolution 299 (2010), which states that the Congress will use the Council of Europe Reference Framework for Regional Democracy in its monitoring activities, as well as the reply made by the Committee of Ministers to the Congress recommendation 282 (2010) (CM/CONG(2011)Rec282final, encouraging the governments of member states to take account of the above mentioned Reference Framework;

      d. the explanatory memorandum on local democracy in Slovenia drawn up by the Rapporteurs, Jos Wienen, the Netherlands (L, EPP/CD) and Merita Jegeni Yildiz, Turkey (R, EPP/CD) following an official visit to Slovenia from 8 to 10 November 2010. In their work, the Rapporteurs were assisted by a consultant, Mrs Inga Vilka (Latvia), a member of the Group of Independent Experts on the European Charter of Local Self-Government.

      2. The Congress recalls that:

      a. Slovenia signed the European Charter of Local Self-Government on 11 October 1994 and ratified it on 15 October 1996 with a commitment to observe all the provisions thereof with no reservations or declarations;

      b. Slovenia signed the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority on 16 November 2009. The Congress notes with satisfaction that Slovenia ratified it on 5 September 2011;

      c. The state of local and regional democracy in Slovenia had been the subject of a Congress monitoring report in 2001. The Institutional Committee4 decided on 2 July 2010 to carry out a visit for monitoring the state of local and regional self-government in Slovenia and its compliance with the European Charter of Local Self-Government. It instructed Mr Jos Wienen (Netherlands, L, EPP/CD) and Mrs Merita Jegeni Yıldız (Turkey, R, EPP/CD)as Rapporteurs to update the above mentioned report on local democracy in Slovenia, and to submit it to the Congress;

      d. The Congress delegation carried out a monitoring visit to Slovenia from 8 to 10 November 2010;

      3. The Congress wishes to thank the Permanent Representation of Slovenia to the Council of Europe, the Slovenian authorities at central, regional and local levels, the Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia (Skupnost občin Slovenije, SOS) and the Association of Municipalities of Slovenia (Združenje občin Slovenije, ZOS) as well as other interlocutors for their valuable cooperation at different stages of the monitoring procedure and the information conveyed to the delegation.

      4. It notes with satisfaction that:

      a. Slovenia, in general, complies with the provisions of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, and in particular provides options for citizen participation in local communities;

      b. the distribution of shared state taxes (mainly personal income tax) was changed in 2006 and later in 2008 giving way to a system based on a per capita amount, calculated by the Ministry of Finance in accordance with the law and negotiated with the local authorities;

      c. the Capital City Act was passed in 2004;

      d. the Slovenian government has committed itself to the creation of regions, by amending the constitutional provisions on regional self-government which are a significant step towards that goal;

      e. there are good practices concerning the integration of Roma minorities in some municipalities through, for instance, the pre-schooling system or the involvement of a Roma representative in municipal councils.

      5. Taking note that a certain number of points taken up in Congress Recommendation 89 (2001) on the situation of local and regional democracy in Slovenia still remain relevant, the Congress notes with regret that:

      a. The Slovenian municipalities’ level of tax revenue autonomy is relatively low;

      b. the consultation process between the local authorities and the central government has not improved and there are still shortcomings in its implementation;

      c. the fragmentation of municipalities continued until 2006, further to the outcome of local referendums giving rise to problems in terms of the provision of local government services and the carrying out of tasks in smaller municipalities;

      d. the difficulty in reaching a consensus on the number of regions constitutes the principal reason that the process of regionalisation is blocked.

      6. In the light of the above, the Congress requests the Committee of Ministers to invite the Slovenian authorities to take the necessary steps, in particular through legislation, to:

      a. increase the local authorities’ revenue autonomy by widening local tax and fees revenue and ensure that the criteria used to calculate the per capita amount is revised and tied in more closely with local government functions;

      b. to strengthen the legal provisions concerning the process of consultation between the associations of local authorities and the government more closely, to give it its full meaning by making it more efficient on all questions that have an impact on local authorities, and not only on financial matters;

      c. promote, where appropriate, the merger of local authorities, after their consultation, for a better functioning local democracy;

      d. clarify the issue of the criteria and the number of regions rapidly in order to launch the process of regionalisation, by taking into account the principles laid down in the Reference Framework for Regional Democracy;

      e. disseminate the existing good practices concerning the integration of Roma into local communities in order to improve their participation in local political life.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      The office of Ombudsman and local and regional authorities

      Recommendation 309 (2011)5

      1. Safeguarding the health of a democracy requires a complex system of checks and balances, of which the institution of Ombudsman is a vital component. The Ombudsman is a valuable safeguard against administrative abuses at local and regional level which serves to build trust in public authorities and improve service provision.

      2. In recent years Ombudsman services have been established in most Council of Europe member states where they were previously lacking. However, the coverage of complaints concerning local and regional public services in some countries remains incomplete, while in others the Ombudsman institutions are weak and inadequately resourced.

      3. The Congress recognises that ensuring proper access to an Ombudsman service in order to lodge a complaint of maladministration regarding local or regional public services does not require the establishment of a separate Ombudsman office in each local or regional authority. However, each member state needs to adapt and develop its Ombudsman institutions to ensure that such complaints can be promptly and effectively handled.

      4. While some regions have succeeded in establishing strong Ombudsman structures, in other cases the treatment of complaints suffers from the lack of a proper national structure with a corresponding institution to supervise national administrations.

      5. The structure of Ombudsman institutions in a member State should aim to provide a service which ensures that all people have easy and transparent access to Ombudsman offices. A complainant should not need to travel outside of a region in order to lodge a complaint concerning a public authority within that region.

      6. The Congress encourages cooperation and networking among Ombudsman offices, in particular in cooperation with the European Commissioner of Human Rights, the network of European Ombudsmen and the International Ombudsman Association. It also encourages cooperation among local and regional Ombudsmen in each member state and recognises the positive role that national coordinating committees can play in developing Ombudsman services.

      7. The Congress therefore, referring to:

      a. its "Principles governing the institution of the Ombudsman/Ombudsperson at local and regional level" (1999);

      b. Congress Recommendation 61 (1999) on the role of local and regional mediators/Ombudsmen in defending citizens’ rights;

      c. Congress Recommendation 159 (2004) on regional ombudspersons: an institution in the service of citizens' rights.

      8. Recommends that the Committee of Ministers invite member States to ensure that, with regard to Ombudsmen that handle complaints of maladministration concerning local and regional public services:

      a. all persons, regardless of their status and nationality, have easy and transparent access to such Ombudsman services;

      b. any legal obstacles to providing an effective and comprehensive Ombudsman service be removed;

      c. Ombudsmen have the mandate to act ex officio to open enquiries into cases of possible maladministration;

      d. Ombudsman offices are staffed by people with independence, impartiality and competence, receiving salaries commensurate with their responsibilities, with knowledge of the administrations for which they handle complaints;

      e. Ombudsman offices are financially independent and adequately resourced in order to be able to conduct the enquiries necessary to follow up complaints;

      f. Ombudsman recommendations are publicised and given appropriate follow-up by local and regional authorities, with periodic reports being issued which identify recurring issues and measures taken to address them;

      g. there is good cooperation and networking between Ombudsmen working for the local, regional, national and European levels, with the establishment of national coordinating committees where appropriate, to ensure that complaints are referred to the appropriate Ombudsman office and that duplication is avoided;

      h. there is good cooperation between Ombudsmen and courts and related institutions.

      9. The Congress recognises the valuable work of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights to facilitate the development of Ombudsman services that handle complaints about local and regional services and encourages him, in cooperation with the Congress and international associations of Ombudsmen, to continue to facilitate networking and exchange of good practice among these Ombudsman services, and to assist the development of existing national networks.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Local and regional democracy in Bulgaria

      Recommendation 310 (2011) 6

      1. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe refers to:

      a. Article 2, paragraph 1b of Statutory Resolution CM/Res (2011) 2 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe relating to the Congress, which states that one of its aims is “to submit proposals to the Committee of Ministers in order to promote local and regional democracy”;

      b. Article 2, paragraph 3 of Statutory Resolution CM/Res (2011) 2 relating to the Congress, which states that the “Congress shall prepare on a regular basis country-by-country reports on the situation of local and regional democracy in all member states and in states which have applied to join the Council of Europe, and shall ensure, in particular, that the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government are implemented” (hereafter ‘’the Charter’’);

      c. Congress Resolution 299 (2010)7, which states that the Congress will use the Council of Europe Reference Framework for Regional Democracy (MCL-16 (2009) 11) in its monitoring activities, as well as the reply given by the Committee of Ministers to Congress Recommendation 282 (2010)8 (CM/CONG(2011)Rec282final) encouraging the governments of Member States to take account of the aforementioned Reference Framework in their policies and reforms;

      d. the explanatory memorandum on local and regional democracy in Bulgaria.

      2. The Congress recalls that:

      a. Bulgaria joined the Council of Europe on 7 May 1992. It signed the European Charter of Local Self-Government (ETS No. 122) on 3 October 1994 and ratified it on 10 May 1995, declaring itself bound by all the provisions of the Charter with the exception of Article 7, paragraph 2. The Treaty came into force in respect of Bulgaria on 1 October 1995;

      b. the situation of local and regional self-government in the Republic of Bulgaria was the subject of a monitoring report and the Congress Recommendation 45 (1998)9;

      c. a delegation from the Congress10 made a monitoring visit to Bulgaria from 24 to 26 November 2010. Meetings were held in Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo and Pernik with representatives of State institutions (government, parliament), judicial institutions (Constitutional Court, ombudsmen) and local authorities and their associations.

      3. The rapporteurs wish to thank the Permanent Delegation of Bulgaria to the Council of Europe, as well as the central and local government authorities in Bulgaria, the National Association of Municipalities of the Republic of Bulgaria (NAMRB) and the various personalities whom they met for their valuable assistance during all the stages of the monitoring procedure and for all the information provided.

      4. The Congress notes with satisfaction that:

      a. Bulgaria generally complies with the provisions set out in the European Charter of Local Self-Government, and local democracy has improved noticeably since the Congress' monitoring visit of 1998;

      b. The level of reception of the Charter in Bulgaria’s domestic legal system is satisfactory;

      c. the National Association of Municipalities of the Republic of Bulgaria is well established and enjoys the support of all local authorities. Its role in the decision-making process at national level is increasingly marked;

      d. although Bulgaria has expressed a reservation to Article 7, paragraph 2, the law on local self-government and local administration provides for the mayor and municipal councillors to receive remuneration;

      e. consideration is being given in Bulgaria to the development of a regional level. A regional development programme was set up for 2007-2013, partly financed by funds granted by the European Union;

      5. The Congress nevertheless observes that a number of points, some of which were dealt with in Recommendation 45 (1998) on the situation of local and regional self-government in the Republic of Bulgaria, deserve particular attention:

      a. the budgetary regulations, and particularly the "consolidated budget" procedure adopted by the government, restrict local authorities' autonomy, thereby raising a problem of conformity with Article 9 of the Charter;

      b. Bulgarian municipalities' level of financial autonomy is relatively low. The gradual decrease in financial resources made available to local authorities is not in accordance with the provisions of the Charter. More than half of local authorities' budget derives from government transfers;

      c. the lack of clarity in the division between delegated powers and authorities' own powers persists. Powers delegated to local authorities are still in the majority, relative to authorities' own powers;

      d. since the adoption of a law in 2011, the principle of direct universal suffrage for municipal council elections has been limited to certain tiers of local administration;

      e. the procedure for the direct annulment of administrative activities by governors, which may have similarities to the supervision of expediency, is not in accordance with the provisions of the Charter, namely Article 4 paragraph 4 taken in conjunction with Article 8;

      f. domestic legislation does not define precisely enough those cases in which an administrative body of a municipality may be dismissed or dissolved;

      g. the Charter may not be relied on by local authorities in ordinary courts;

      h. the discussions on establishing a regionalisation strategy have not yet been completed ;

      i. the local ombudsman remains an optional institution in Bulgarian municipalities due to lack of financial resources of local authorities;

      j. the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority (CETS No. 207) has not been signed by Bulgaria.

      6. In the light of the above, the Congress requests the Committee of Ministers to invite the Bulgarian authorities to:

      a. revise the budgetary procedure in force and amend the current regulations in order to give local authorities budgetary autonomy in accordance with the principles set out in the Charter in conformity with Article 9 thereof,

      b. allocate to local authorities sufficient financial resources commensurate with their competences and responsibilities, inter alia by revising the legal provisions on the financing of municipalities in force;

      c. allocate to local authorities more powers of their own, in order to give them a level of local autonomy which conforms to the Charter, namely Article 4, paragraphs 4 and 5, and Article 8;

      d. maintain direct elections for councils at all levels of local administration without any distinction based on population size;

      e. revise the legislation on the supervision of administrative activities related to own competences in order to ensure that any annulment of these is carried out only through a judicial procedure, on referral by the regional governor;

      f. revise the legislation on the supervision of local governance bodies in order to specify those cases in which dismissal or dissolution may be carried out;

      g. give effective judicial protection to local authorities and grant them a proper right of appeal to ordinary courts;

      h. encourage continuing dialogue between all actors in order to find the most appropriate form to implement decentralisation in the interests of Bulgaria and take into account the principles laid down in the Reference Framework for Regional Democracy;

      i. withdraw the reservation in respect of Article 7, paragraph 2 expressed when the Charter was ratified, in so far as the Local Self-Government and Local Administration Act is in accordance with this provision of the Charter;

      j. consider signing and then ratifying, in the near future, the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority (CETS No. 207), and signing and ratifying, in the near future, Protocol No. 3 to the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities concerning Euroregional Co-operation Groupings (ECGs) (CETS No. 206).

      7. The Congress invites the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to take into account the above recommendations during their next monitoring visit.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Local and regional democracy in Finland

      Recommendation 311 (2011)11

      1. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe refers to:

      a. Article 2, paragraph 1.b, of Statutory Resolution (2011) 2 relating to the Congress, which provides that one of the aims of the Congress shall be “to submit proposals to the Committee of Ministers in order to promote local and regional democracy”;

      b. Article 2, paragraph 3, of Statutory Resolution (2011) 2 relating to the Congress, stipulating that “The Congress shall prepare on a regular basis country-by-country reports on the situation of local and regional democracy in all member states and in states which have applied to join the Council of Europe, and shall ensure, in particular, that the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government are implemented’’;

      c. Recommendation 219 (2007) on the status of capital cities;

      d. Recommendation 66 (1999) on regional democracy in Finland;

      e. Congress Resolution 299 (2010), which provides that the Congress will use the Council of Europe Reference Framework for Regional Democracy [MCL-16(2009)11], in its monitoring activities, and the reply by the Committee of Ministers to Congress Recommendation 282 (2010) [CM/Cong(2011)Rec282 final], which encourages the governments of member states to take account of the above Reference Framework in connection with their policies and reforms;

      f. the explanatory memorandum on local and regional democracy in Finland drawn up by Pia Bosch I Codola (Spain, R, SOC) and Jean-Louis Testud (France, L, EPP/CD), rapporteurs, following an official visit to the country from 30 November to 2 December 2010.

      2. The Congress notes that:

      a. Finland signed the European Charter of Local Self-Government on 14 June 1990 and ratified it on 3 June 1991 without making any reservations or declarations restricting its scope. The Charter entered into force in Finland on 1 October 1991;

      b. Finland was among the first member states of the Council of Europe to sign the Additional Protocol to the Charter on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority, on 16 November 2009;

      c. A delegation12 from the Congress Institutional Committee13 made a monitoring visit to Finland from 30 November to 2 December 2010. It visited Helsinki, Mariehamn (Åland Islands) and Kouvola.

      3. The Congress wishes to thank the Permanent Delegation of Finland to the Council of Europe, the Finnish authorities at central, regional and local level, the authorities of the Province of Åland, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities and all the other parties whom the delegation met for the information supplied.

      4. The Congress notes with satisfaction that:

      a. local democracy in Finland is a real cornerstone of democratic life in the country, which is reflected in political practice and enjoys recognition from national institutions and effective protection from the competent courts;

      b. there is an exemplary culture of consultation and involvement of local authorities by central government in Finland;

      c. cooperation and coordination between local and regional authorities is guaranteed by a powerful and influential association, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities (AFLRA), which is very closely involved in discussions with the government about all issues concerning local and regional authorities;

      d. Finland has had an ombudsman since the 18th century, whose responsibilities include checking the lawfulness of the actions of local governments and their authorities and whose interventions make municipal services more efficient;

      e. all Finnish citizens are entitled to appeal against decisions by local authorities, a practice which should be established more widely throughout Europe;

      f. all Finnish citizens have the statutory right to receive basic services, including education, in their mother tongues (Finnish or Swedish);

      g. Finland signed the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority on 16 November 2009;

      h. for historic reasons and because of their specific situation, the Åland Islands have a special status which complies with the principles laid down in the Council of Europe Reference Framework for Regional Democracy.

      5. The Congress notes that the following points call for particular attention:

      a. some municipalities have unbalanced budgets and are heavily indebted. Their number is likely to rise because of the increasing expenditure in the health, education and welfare sectors;

      b. central government has recently launched a reorganisation of deconcentrated public services in all regions, which may result in transfers of powers from municipalities to central government;

      c. the Ombudsman’s institution, whose effectiveness has been proven, nevertheless lacks resources for stepping up its work at local level, in particular for carrying out studies and and investigations on its own initiative (self-tasking).

      6. The Congress recommends that the Committee of Ministers invite the Finnish authorities:

      a. to take steps to limit local deficits so as to avoid excessive indebtedness of certain municipalities in keeping with the principle of balanced budgets laid down by law;

      b. to evaluate, together with the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, the repercussions for local self-government of the rationalisation of central government’s regional administrative structures;

      c. to strengthen the role of the Ombudsman at local level by increasing funding so as to optimise the operation of the institution;

      d. to ensure an equal standard of basic services throughout the country, if necessary by means of additional transfers from central government to municipalities with deficits;

      e. to ratify, in the near future, the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority (CETS No. 207), as well as Additional Protocols to the European Additional Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities (ETS No. 159, ETS No. 169 and CETS No. 206).

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Local elections in Albania (8 May 2011)

      Recommendation 312 (2011)14

      1. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe refers to:

      a. the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government ratified by Albania on 4 April 2000;

      b. the Statutory Resolution relating to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 19 January 2011 and, in particular, its Article 2 paragraph 4 on the Congress’ role in the observation of local and regional elections.

      2. The Congress welcomes the good cooperation implemented with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and looks forward to increasing the complementary and harmonised action established.

      3. The Congress notes the progress made in general by the Albanian authorities in making the electoral organisation of the municipal elections of the 8 May 2011 as efficient as possible and recognises, in particular, the efforts made for ensuring transparency of the elections. The behaviour of the media, even if few of them were considered independent, was balanced. The voting day procedures were satisfactory and a good co-operative atmosphere was established between the members of the voting centre commissions.

      4. Nevertheless, as did the OSCE-ODIHR and other Observers, the Congress’ delegation noticed several problems and that future regulatory improvements are needed.

      5. In particular, the Congress’ delegation:

      a. regretted that the electoral campaign, characterised by a strong polarisation of the debates, reflected the extremely tense political situation. This negatively affected the electoral process. The tensions detected during the electoral campaign were confirmed during the long and contested counting process;

      b. noted uncertainties with regard to procedures that brought about postponements in opening and closing of the vote;

      c. was convinced that the late appointment or last minute change of the election’s officials considerably affected their training;

      d. noted that disagreements between the members of the various electoral commissions were frequent and the members had to consult their respective parties before taking position on the contested cases. This very often prevented the fulfilment of the deadlines established;

      e. regretted that in Tirana the atmosphere was particularly tense due to the strong political polarisation;

      f. believed that the extremely long counting system was, in Tirana, a source of increased conflict. The length of the counting and the consequent failure to announce the final results, put in danger the trust that the citizens should have had in the fairness of the elections. Both partisan interpretations of the electoral code and fairness of the counting were contested.

      6. The Congress deplores the lack of constructive dialogue between parties and the deterioration of the relations between political actors whereas, in the interest of local communities and of good governance, efforts should be made to accept all constructive decisions and to go beyond partisan positions.

      7. Taking into account the above, the Congress asks the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to:

      a. transmit the present recommendation and its explanatory memorandum to the Albanian authorities, inviting them to consider the Congress’ suggestions and in particular to review the electoral code if required by the international standards or by the particular difficulties encountered;

      b. support the Council of Europe’s post-election action plan for Albania and fully involve the Congress in it;

      c. forward the present recommendation and its explanatory memorandum to the relevant bodies of the Council of Europe, the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and the Commissioner for Human Rights, for possible future joint actions in favour of Albania.

      8. The Congress also invites the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to take into account this recommendation within its monitoring activities on Albania.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Local elections in Moldova (5 June 2011)

      Recommendation 313 (2011)15

      1. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe refers to:

      a. the Committee of Ministers’ Statutory Resolution (2000)1 on the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe;

      b. the principles laid down in the European Charter of Local Self-Government (ECLSG) which was ratified by Moldova on 2 October 1997.

      2. The Congress points to the importance of genuinely democratic elections and to its specific mandate and role in the observation of local and regional elections in Council of Europe member countries.

      3. It stresses that the Congress observes elections only upon invitation by the countries. Similar to the monitoring process of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, election observation missions are conceived as co-operation activities.

      4. It expresses its will and availability to participate in activities aimed at strengthening local democracy as well as electoral processes in Moldova, through continued political dialogue with the authorities, in particular in respect of the ongoing decentralisation process, and through intensified co-operation with the local self-government associations.

      5. The Congress notes with satisfaction that the local elections of 5 June 2011 largely met European standards, were well organised and conducted in an overall calm, orderly, transparent and professional manner.

      6. It is pleased to note that this vote marked a further step in the right direction, in particular in comparison with the last elections observed by the Congress in June 2007.

      7. Furthermore, the Congress points to the vibrant and competitive campaign, during which contestants behaved – mostly – in a responsible manner, and to improvements in respect of the media coverage and electoral information.

      7. At the same time, it stresses that in order to ensure continued forward progress, there is room for improvement in respect of legal, administrative and regulatory issues.

      8. More specifically, the Congress has identified three major fields for improvement which include:

      -        accuracy of the voters’ lists

      -        campaign and party financing

      -        clarity of electoral competences between different levels of administration in Moldova.

      9. On a general note, the Congress is of the opinion that political culture and social cohesion are still development areas in Moldova.

      10. Taking into account the previous comments, the Congress invites the Moldovan authorities to take all necessary steps:

      a. to accelerate the introduction of a centralised electronic voter register which was postponed until 2015 and which is a prerequisite to further improve the process and the accuracy of voters’ lists;

      b. to clarify residency provisions in the law, in order to avoid confusion as to whether permanent or temporary residency is the criteria entitling a voter to cast the ballot in a specific precinct bureau;

      c. to improve transparency in respect of campaign and party financing, in particular to introduce more precise mechanisms allowing for effective oversight and enforcement of legal provisions;

      d. to introduce measures for increased transparency in respect of the electoral complaint system and the follow-up of alleged infringements of the electoral law and regulations;

      e. to clarify the competences of local authorities in election administration and avoid too much leeway in decision-making;

      f. to ensure and carry out concrete measures towards decentralisation, the consolidation of local and financial autonomy, in accordance with the European Charter of Local Self-Government, assuring a real transfer of competences and resources, enabling local authorities to take full responsibility for the administration of local affairs;

      g. to abide by Council of Europe regulations for election administration, in particular by the recommendation of the Venice Commission which foresees that members of the opposition of a given country should also be represented in the leadership ranks of the Central Election Commission;

      h. to reconsider the location of some of the polling stations because of their difficult accessibility, in particular for voters with physical disabilities.

      11. Overall, the Congress recommends that the Moldovan authorities adopt confidence-building measures between parties and political forces in the interest of developing a climate of mutual trust, consolidation and stability.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Reservations and declarations to the European Charter of Local Self-Government

      Recommendation 314 (2011)16

      1. The Congress, convinced that the European Charter of Local Self-Government (hereinafter referred to as "the Charter") is a unique international legal instrument for strengthening democracy at the local level, committed to supporting member States in making more effective use of the Charter and determined to increase its own efforts to strengthen its implementation, has undertaken its first review of the reservations and declarations made by States Parties to the Charter.

      2. The Congress believes that many member States have considerably evolved their system of local government since ratifying the Charter and that, as a result, the reservations that they formulated at the time of ratification may no longer be necessary.

      3. The Congress notes and welcomes the trend, in recent Council of Europe treaties, to exclude the possibility of making reservations when ratifying the treaty.

      4. The Congress also welcomes and supports the 2011 convention review exercise carried out by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe with a view to strengthening the Organisation's treaties and identifying those which are the most important in terms of the Organisation's work.

      5. The Congress therefore asks the Committee of Ministers to invite member States which have made reservations:

      a. under Article 12 of the Charter17 to review these declarations with a view to extending the number of articles by which they consider themselves bound;

      b. under Article 13 of the Charter18 to review these reservations to see if the Charter's application could be extended;

      c. under Article 16 of the Charter19 and other declarations which restrict the territories where the Charter applies, to examine these restrictions to see whether they are still required.

      6. The Congress asks the Committee of Ministers to:

      a. consider preparing regular reports on non-accepted provisions of the Charter;

      b. continue its efforts to limit the use of reserves and declarations in its treaties to a strict minimum.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      The situation of Roma20 in Europe:
      a challenge for local and regional authorities

      Recommendation 315 (2011)21

      1. Many of the 10-12 million Roma living in the 47 member states of the Council of Europe suffer extreme marginalisation and live in very poor conditions. They are denied full access to their social rights, such as quality education, employment, healthcare and housing. Not only are their human rights not respected, they are also trampled under foot. In addition, they suffer widespread discrimination and anti-Gypsyism, and are victims of hate speech, harassment and violence.

      2. Member states are responsible for protecting the human rights of all members of society and, considering that economic and social rights are human rights, they must ensure they are also accessible to the Roma population without discrimination.

      3. Achieving the social inclusion of Roma has been included in the policy programmes of many member states although national responses have been variable. National action plans full of good intentions have been drawn up, but their impact has been limited.

      4. Local and regional authorities have been criticised for inaction or for failing to carry out central government policies on Roma issues, however government policies have not always included provisions for translation into local action and the division of competencies between the different levels of government is not always clear.

      5. Local and regional authorities may also face obstacles such as limitations on their legal competencies or inadequate financial means.

      6. In light of the above and of the conclusions of the Summit of Mayors on Roma organised by the Congress on 22 September 2011 in Strasbourg, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe recommends that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe call on member states to:

      a. consider recognising Roma as a ‘national minority’ (where this has not yet been done) in order to ensure that Roma have protection under international law (and in particular the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities), especially as regards their access to rights at the local level;

      b. ensure that national strategies on Roma issues incorporate appropriate provision for effective implementation at the local level, including by ensuring that local and regional authorities have the necessary powers and responsibilities to undertake this task as well as access to sufficient resources and expert support;

      c. support local and regional initiatives for Roma inclusion and establish appropriate frameworks for close cooperation to ensure that national strategies to promote Roma inclusion are implemented effectively at local level;

      d. support in this regard the establishment of a European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion, decided by the Summit of Mayors on Roma;

      e. explore how Roma can contribute to and benefit from social security and taxation regimes;

      f. include representatives of local and regional authorities in the design and monitoring of national strategies/action plans for Roma, making use of national networks of municipalities and/or regions;

      g. implement General Policy Recommendation No. 13 on combating anti-Gypsyism and discrimination against Roma, adopted by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance in June 2011;

      h. prohibit in law and practice the segregation of Romani children (whether in mainstream or special schools or classes) and issue guidelines for national and regional inspection institutions on how to identify and report situations of segregation. Additional resources must be given to regional and local authorities in order to ensure that all children, including Romani children, can develop to their fullest potential in integrated mainstream schools;

      i. adopt national eviction guidelines, which set out the process that must be followed for all evictions, based on the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines for Development-based Evictions and Displacement. Such guidelines would provide a framework for local/regional authorities in order to ensure an end to forced evictions, which currently disproportionately affect Romani communities;

      j. actively and publicly condemn and counter any public manifestation of anti-Gypsyism in the form of hate speech, discrimination, threats, intimidation and physical violence, whether by individuals or organised groups, and take steps to ensure that the law is enforced effectively and in a non-discriminatory manner by police or other responsible agencies. Governments have to exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate, punish and provide redress for racially motivated crimes by private individuals or groups.

      7. The Congress requests that the Committee of Ministers reiterate its call for all member states to implement its recommendations on Roma and particularly CM/Rec(2008)5 on policies for Roma and/or Travellers in Europe;

      8. The Congress recommends that the Committee of Ministers, in line with the political priority given by the Council of Europe to social inclusion of Roma and respect for their human rights, set up, in cooperation with the Congress, a European programme for capacity building at local and regional level, to complement the Roma mediators training programme (ROMED) and operate in the context of a pan-European framework of cooperation between local and regional authorities, and in particular the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion. Voluntary contributions could be the basis for the kick-off of this programme.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Local and regional democracy in Serbia

      Recommendation 316 (2011) 22

      1. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe refers to:

      a. Article 2, paragraph 1.b of the Statutory Resolution CM/Res (2011)2 relating to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, which provides that one of the aims of the Congress shall be “to submit proposals to the Committee of Ministers in order to promote local and regional democracy”;

      b. Article 2, paragraph 3 of the Statutory Resolution CM/Res (2011)2 relating to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, stipulating that “the Congress shall prepare on a regular basis country-by-country reports on the situation of local and regional democracy in all member states and in states which have applied to join the Council of Europe, and shall ensure, in particular, that the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government are implemented’’;

      c. Congress Resolution 299 (2010), which states that the Congress will use the Council of Europe Reference Framework for Regional Democracy in its monitoring activities as well as the reply made by the Committee of Ministers to Congress Recommendation 282 (2010) [CM/Cong(2011)Rec282 final] encouraging the governments of member States to take account of the above mentioned Reference Framework in connection with policies and reform;

      d. the Explanatory memorandum to this recommendation on local and regional democracy in Serbia.

      2. The Congress recalls that:

      a. Serbia and Montenegro joined the Council of Europe on 3 April 2003. Following the declaration of independence of the Republic of Montenegro on 3 June 2006, and in accordance with Article 60 of the Constitutional Charter of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted at their 967th meeting a declaration on the continuation of Serbia’s membership in the Council of Europe and the continuation of ensuring obligations and commitments;

      b. Serbia signed the European Charter of Local Self-Government (ETS No. 122; hereinafter the “Charter”) on 24 June 2005 and ratified it on 6 September 2007. The treaty came into force in Serbia on 1 January 2008. In accordance with Article 12, paragraph 1 of the Charter, the Republic of Serbia declared that it would not be bound by Article 4, paragraphs 3 and 5, Article 6, Article 7, paragraph 2 and Article 8, paragraph 3 of the Charter;

      c. A Congress delegation23 carried out a monitoring visit to Serbia from 29 June to 1 July 2010, visiting Belgrade, Novi Sad and Novi Pazar;

      d. The rapporteur wishes to thank the Permanent Representation of Serbia to the Council of Europe, Serbian authorities at central, regional and local levels, the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities of Serbia and experts as well as other interlocutors for their valuable cooperation at different stages of the monitoring procedure.

      3. The Congress notes with satisfaction that:

      a. the guiding principles of local self-government, as enshrined in the European Charter of Local Self-government, are secured in Serbian legislation. The Serbian Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to provincial autonomy and local self-government and enforces it as a limitation to state power, while subjecting it only to supervision of constitutionality and legality;

      b. the Rapporteur received the general impression that there exists a widespread acknowledgment of the need for reforming local self-government;

      c. the change of Serbia’s status from being part of a federated state to an independent country has had a positive impact on the status of provincial autonomy within the unitary state of Serbia. In this context, a special chapter in the Constitution and several laws, including the Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in force since 1 January 2010, are proofs of a political commitment in favour of regional autonomy;

      d. there have been developments concerning citizens’ participation and citizens’ consultation in the decision-making process, as well as the protection of human and minority rights in Serbia since the adoption of the present Constitution in November 2006, at national, regional and local levels;

      e. the transfrontier cooperation between the autonomous province of Vojvodina and similar entities of other countries is functioning smoothly.

      4. The Congress expresses concern that:

      a. the functioning of local self-government has been significantly affected by measures undertaken by Serbian authorities in order to cope with the global financial crisis. One of these measures has been to significantly reduce transfers made to local governments from the national budget. These reductions, coupled with the fact that all other sources of local authority revenue are severely diminished due to the economic crisis, have had a seriously damaging impact on the actual ability of local authorities to effectively accomplish their (own or delegated) tasks;

      b. there is a lack of awareness about and practice of intermunicipal cooperation in Serbia whereas pooling scarce resources for service delivery could contribute to overcome the dramatic economic situation in many municipalities;

      c. the implementation of legal provisions concerning consultation of local authorities by central government still has considerable room for improvement;

      d. the existing general legal framework does not fully take into consideration the special status of Belgrade as capital city. The specific needs and challenges faced by the capital city would justify the allocation of financial resources accordingly.

      5. The Congress welcomes:

      a. the proclamation of the new Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (see paragraph 3.c), but nevertheless underlines the need to continue and further strengthen the process of decentralisation of the autonomous provinces, with particular attention to concomitant financing;

      b. the enactment of the much-needed law on the assets of local authorities. The Law on Public Property has finally been adopted in September 2011. Serbian authorities had taken an important delay in solving one specific problem Serbia is confronted with, namely, the restitution of public property to local authorities;

      c. the adoption of the Law on Amendments to the Law on Local Government Finance in July 2011 which amended the method of transfer calculation and percentage of local government share in revenues from taxes on salaries. It will enter into force on 1 October 2011;

      d. the information that the draft Law on Local Government Staff is in preparation by the Ministry of Public Administration.

      6. The Congress recommends that the Committee of Ministers invite the Serbian authorities:

      a. to revise the constitutional provision allowing central government to dismiss municipal assemblies and simultaneously appoint a temporary body to perform their duties,  in order to ensure that an excessive use thereof is avoided, considering it a form of administrative supervision which may go beyond the limits foreseen by Article 8 of the Charter;

      b. to increase the field of competences and resources of the capital city of Belgrade while undertaking legislative changes, in the light of Congress Recommendation 219 (2007) on the status of capital city;

      c. to finalise the legislation dealing with the status of local government staff, in order to define a consistent system for their financial compensation mechanisms;

      d. to institutionalise and develop, in cooperation with the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities of Serbia, the practice of intermunicipal cooperation and joint delivery of a number of services;

      e. to consolidate in compulsory legal standards, the existing mechanisms, procedures and practices in the area of consultation of local authorities in compliance with the requirements of Article 4 (6) of the Charter;

      f. to continue the implementation of the status of autonomy for the province of Vojvodina, taking inspiration from the principles set out in the Reference Framework for Regional Democracy [MCL-16(2009)11], in particular as regards concomitant financing;

      g. to lift reservations, formulated by Serbia at the time of its ratification, on the articles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government dealing with the principle of subsidiarity (Article 4, paragraph 3) and the principle of proportionality in administrative supervision (Article 8, paragraph 3);

      h. to consider, in the near future, signing and then ratifying the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority (CETS No 207);

      i. to expand the good practices flowing from the status of autonomy of Vojvodina to other local administrative units, with an aim to enable their authorities to better respond to specific needs of cultural diversity and protection of minority languages, in areas traditionally inhabited by such groups; 

      j. to consider the signature and ratification in the near future of the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities (ETS No. 106) and its additional protocols.

      7. The Congress recommends that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe take account of these observations and recommendations by monitoring the commitments and obligations which Serbia undertook when acceding to the Council of Europe.

      8. The Congress recommends to the Serbian authorities responsible for local self-government that they appoint a high-level government representative to participate in one of the Congress sessions to make a presentation of the progress of local self-government reforms in Serbia in light of the observations made in the present recommendation.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Local and regional democracy in Latvia

      Recommendation 317 (2011) 24

      1. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe refers to:

      a. Article 2, paragraph 1.b, of Statutory Resolution CM/Res (2011) 2 relating to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, which provides that one of the aims of the Congress shall be “to submit proposals to the Committee of Ministers in order to promote local and regional democracy”;

      b. Article 2, paragraph 3, of Statutory Resolution CM/Res (2011) 2 relating to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, stipulating that “The Congress shall prepare on a regular basis country-by-country reports on the situation of local and regional democracy in all member states and in states which have applied to join the Council of Europe, and shall ensure, in particular, that the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government are implemented’’;

      c. Congress Recommendation 47 (1998) on local and regional democracy in Latvia;

      d. the 2005 Congress information report (CG/INST(12)3) on local democracy and on the participation of non-citizens in public and political life at local level in Latvia;

      e. Congress Recommendation 257 (2008) on local democracy in Latvia: the participation of non-citizens in public and political life at local level;

      f. Congress Resolution 299 (2010) on the follow-up by the Congress of the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for local and Regional Government (Utrecht, Netherlands,
      16-17 November 2009), which provides that the Congress will use the Council of Europe Reference Framework for Regional Democracy [MCL-16(2009)11] in its monitoring activities, as well as the reply of the Committee of Ministers to Recommendation 282 (2010) encouraging the governments of member states to take account of the Reference Framework for Regional Democracy in connection with policies and reforms;

      g. the explanatory memorandum of this recommendation on local and regional democracy in Latvia.

      2. The Congress notes that:

      a. Latvia joined the Council of Europe on 10 February 1995. It signed and ratified the European Charter of Local Self-Government (ETS 122, hereafter “the Charter”) on 5 December 1996. The Charter came into force in Latvia on 1 April 1997 ;

      b. In accordance with Article 12, paragraph 1, of the Charter, Latvia declared that it was not bound by Article 9, paragraph 8, of the Charter;

      c.  The Congress delegation25 visited Latvia from 3 to 5 November 2010. The delegation held talks with the central and municipal authorities, representatives of the Association of Local and Regional Governments of Latvia, representatives of the Constitutional Court, the Ombudsman and other discussion partners in Riga and the municipality of Sigulda;

      d. The co-rapporteurs wish to thank the Permanent Representation of Latvia to the Council of Europe and all those whom it met on the visit for their readiness to assist the delegation and for the information they so willingly supplied.

      3. The Congress notes with satisfaction that:

      a. Latvia has modelled its system of local administration on modern European standards for local self-government. The local government legislation of 19 May 1994, which has been amended on a number of occasions and supplemented by other provisions, is a good basis for the development of local self-government;

      b. The Constitutional Court, in its decisions, refers to the Charter as an instrument of international law from which the constitutional principles relating to local self-government can be interpreted. The Constitutional Court considers the Charter’s principles to be fundamental principles of democracy that are binding on the country. The position of local authorities has been strengthened by constitutional case-law and changes to legislation;

      c. The 2008 local government reform, under which local authorities were merged to produce stronger entities, was carried out in compliance with the principles of the Charter and produced satisfactory results;

      d. The Association of Local and Regional Governments of Latvia is recognised at national level as being representative. It therefore plays a key role in promoting local democracy.

      4. The Congress notes with concern that:

      a. Local authorities have an inadequate level of own resources which they can influence directly, in particular, in terms of local taxes for which they can determine the base and the rate;

      b. Overall, the crisis has led to a reduction in transfers from central to local government. Local authorities’ room for financial manoeuvre has accordingly declined and central government’s oversight of their finances has been strengthened;

      c. Latvian local authorities do not have free access to the capital market to borrow funds. In a significant number of cases involving various conditions, finance ministry approval is needed for loans of more than one year;

      d. Regional development in Latvia is imbalanced. The five planning regions do not have the characteristics of genuine autonomous regional authorities and their representative bodies are not directly elected by universal suffrage;

      e. The high population of Riga and the level of its activities would justify the capital being granted a special status;

      f. In spite of the efforts made by the Latvian authorities to promote social cohesion, there are still restrictions on the participation in public affairs of non-citizens who identify with a national minority, including the failure to allow them to vote in local elections.

      5. The Congress recommends that the Committee of Ministers invite the Latvian authorities:

      a. to increase local authorities’ financial autonomy by diversifying their own sources of revenue and increasing the proportion of their financial resources for which they can influence the assessment base and the rate;

      b. to establish a programme to “restore” local authorities’ capacity for action in the context of recovery from the economic crisis, while reducing central government’s financial oversight;

      c. to review the conditions for borrowing by local authorities and make them more flexible and borrowing more accessible and consequently to lift the reservation related to Article 9, paragraph 8, of the Charter;

      d. to clarify the legal position of the five planning regions and give them a proper autonomous status. The process of developing a genuine regional tier of government could take inspiration from the principles of the Reference Framework for Regional Democracy, which provides for bodies elected by direct universal suffrage, more powers and responsibilities that are clearly defined in law, own resources and the introduction of a financial equalisation system;

      e. to begin a legislative process with a view to drafting legislation granting a special legal status to Riga, in accordance with Congress Recommendation 219 (2007) on the status of capital cities;

      f. to grant non-citizens the right to vote in local elections with a view to speeding up the process of integrating them into Latvian society that has already started;

      g. to give consideration, in the near future, to signing and then ratifying the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority (CETS No. 207), as well as of Protocol No. 3 to the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities concerning Euroregional Co-operation Groupings (ECGs).

      6. The Congress recommends that the Parliamentary Assembly take account of the aforementioned observations and recommendations in the context of its procedure of periodic reporting on member states not currently under a monitoring or post-monitoring procedure.

      7. The Congress recommends that the Latvian authorities responsible for local self-government appoint a high-level ministerial representative to attend one of the Congress sessions to make a presentation on the state of progress of the local government reforms in Latvia.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Verification of new members’ credentials and new appointment procedures

      Resolution 325 (2011)26

      1. Pursuant to its revised Charter, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 19 January 2011, the Congress draws the national authorities’ attention to the provisions set out in Articles 2.1 and 2.2 of the Charter vis-à-vis the composition of member countries’ national delegations.

      2. With regard to appointment procedures, the Congress:

      a. asks governments which have not already done so to update their official appointment procedure in order to bring it into line with the revised Charter and the Rules of Procedure of the Congress and its Chambers;

      b. reminds member states in particular that the official appointment procedure must make specific reference to the terms and conditions of dismissal of Congress members whose mandates do not stem from a direct election;

      c. asks, where local authorities cover a large area and exercise both local and regional powers and responsibilities, the countries in question to append a list of these authorities to the procedure;

      3. Concerning the composition of national delegations, the Congress:

      a. reminds governments that the composition of national delegations must be transmitted to the Congress six weeks before the opening of the session to which they apply. This deadline will henceforth be strictly applied;

      b. recalls that from the October 2012 Session onwards, the term of office of Representatives and Substitutes will be four years;

      c. recalls that the Congress Rules of Procedure establishes a 30% threshold for representation of the under-represented sex among the Representatives and also among the Substitutes;

      d. reiterates the desire expressed in Resolution 170 (2004) on the verification of credentials of new members and new appointment procedures for representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community to be included in the Cypriot delegation, and decides, in the meantime, to continue to invite two representatives of the Turkish Cypriot Community to take part in sessions and Statutory Forum meetings, in accordance with the practice already established, as well as possibly attending meetings of the Congress’s committees for specific items;

      e. reminds the authorities of all member states that election results, broken down by political party, must be forwarded to the Congress immediately after local and/or regional elections, together with all the information required to assess whether the delegation complies with the provisions set out in Article 2 of the Congress Charter;

      f. accepts that the national delegations of certain countries without regions (within the meaning of Recommendation 56 (1999)) appoint only substitutes to the Chamber of Regions;

      g. invites the national authorities, in the spirit of the Congress Charter, to resort only exceptionally to the maximum period of six months during which members who no longer hold a local or regional authority mandate can remain a member of the delegation.

      4. The Congress approves the credentials of the members of the 47 national delegations.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Citizen participation at local and regional level in Europe

      Resolution 326 (2011)27

      1. Recent demonstrations and events in Europe and on its borders indicate a growing need for citizens to be listened to by their elected politicians and to be able to influence politics at all levels also between elections. The Congress is convinced that increased public participation and direct involvement in local and regional governance can give citizens a sense of empowerment and more confidence in the democratic process.

      2. For good governance at the local and regional level it is essential that citizens are able to have direct contact with elected officials and have some influence on the exercise of the authorities’ powers and responsibilities. This is the level where their immediate concerns are taken into account. Working directly with people at neighbourhood level is central to how locally and regionally elected representatives should operate.

      3. Representative democracy is the key mechanism whereby citizens can directly influence decision-making processes through universal suffrage. Participatory democracy is complementary to this process, serving as a tool to enable local and regional representatives to effectively carry out the role to which they are elected.

      4. Providing clear, comprehensive and accessible information on local and regional politics strengthens active citizenship and fosters a feeling of belonging to a community as well as encouraging the civic duty to contribute to this community in a democratic society.

      5. Recent developments concerning ‘open data’ (online publication of raw government information) in some countries show how new information and communication technologies, combined with a policy of transparency can have a direct impact on participation and services at the local and regional level, applications such as ‘openly local’ and ‘spotlight on spend’ filter the data and allow the emergence of smart communities.

      6. It is essential that local and regional authorities have active and effective communication policies to keep their communities informed of their opportunities to participate in local life. In particular, they should ensure that those groups of citizens which have the most difficulty in being involved in public life at local level are informed appropriately whilst ensuring that participation is balanced and representative of their communities’ composition.

      7. For citizen participation to be effective, a strong civil society needs to exist. Local and regional authorities have a primordial role in the development of citizen networks and associations, to enable local people to come together as groups capable of advocating for specific needs in their community. Such groups and organisations should be consulted in a structured and balanced way to ensure that there is no undue influence on local authority decision-making.

      8. Local and regional authorities are experimenting with new and different ways to engage their citizens in contributing to the governance of their communities. There is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach: cultural as well as locally specific factors can influence the effectiveness of participation initiatives.

      9. Good examples of citizen participation in Europe are very varied: referendums, public consultation meetings, citizen panels, foreign residents' councils, citizen initiatives, neighbourhood and youth councils. These initiatives should be developed where they do not exist.

      10. Through actively seeking the participation of citizens, elected representatives can increase their knowledge base and use the electorate as a reservoir of expertise. Local and regional policy and decision making can be more informed, better adapted and smarter as a result. European citizens can be a source of innovation, specialised information, constructive feedback and motivation.

      11. There are increasing examples of local and regional authorities making use of participatory budgeting, which, in a climate of severe cuts to local authority budgets, can provide a way to empower citizens by enabling them to make funding decisions that effect their everyday lives. With this tool, as with all direct democracy instruments, it is important to manage expectations with regard to the influence of participation on the final outcome.

      12. In this regard, the Congress welcomes Recommendation (2009)2 of the Committee of Ministers on the evaluation, auditing and monitoring of participation and participation policies at local and regional level and the CLEAR diagnostic tool28 which can be used by local and regional authorities to evaluate and improve citizen participation and to concentrate their efforts on involving citizens in local affairs.

      13. The Congress:

      a. asks its Governance Committee to consider following closely developments in citizen participation across Europe and to facilitate regular exchanges of innovative and successful practice amongst members through the organisation of specific meetings on this subject in the future if necessary;

      b. expresses its willingness to engage in dialogue with the Committee of Ministers on the use and evaluation of citizen participation at the local and regional level in member States;

      c. will continue its examination of citizen participation with civil society groups to listen to their expectations and exchange ideas on how to improve participation;

      d. asks its Monitoring Committee to continue taking the rights of citizens to participate in the conduct of local public affairs into account during its assessment of member states’ compliance with the European Charter of Local Self-Government.

      14. The Congress calls on the local authority associations of Europe to aid their members to promote citizen participation in their communities, in particular using new information and communication technologies and to use their role as a multiplier of information to gather and share knowledge of best practices.

      15. In view of the foregoing, the Congress calls on local and regional authorities of Council of Europe member States:

      a. to make greater use of ‘informal’ and ‘alternative’ forms of participation, such as citizen panels, and other forms that have proved effective;

      b. to harness the possibilities provided by new information and communication technologies for electronic governance to create smart communities;

      c. in member states where civil society is weak, to encourage local people to mobilise in groups and associations to act on their own behalf and advocate for specific needs in their community through institutional arrangements;

      d. to identify specific projects, such as the development of community centres and other community facilities, where direct participation by voluntary and residents' groups can be tested;

      e. to strengthen, where possible, the reception and follow-up they give to such forms of participation, for example by undertaking to systematically vote on citizen initiative proposals;

      f. to actively participate in the European Week of Local Democracy, held in October each year, as an effective way of increasing citizens’ knowledge of local and regional democratic institutions and to strengthen the links between populations and their locally elected representatives;

      g. to establish mechanisms to facilitate and evaluate citizen participation at local and regional levels;

      h. to report regularly to the Congress on citizen participation initiatives in their countries.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      The office of Ombudsman and local and regional authorities

      Resolution 327 (2011)29

      1. The institution of Ombudsman is an essential element of good governance. It is a valuable safeguard for protecting the individual against administrative abuses and an important instrument for supervising public authorities and fostering public confidence in local and regional administrations.

      2. Since the Congress produced its first report on local and regional Ombudsmen in 1999, the institution has rapidly gained ground, and is becoming widely accepted as an essential element of local and regional public life.

      3. In the current difficult economic climate, which is putting increasing pressure on local and regional public services, Ombudsman services are needed more than ever before. The Congress recalls its 1999 "Principles governing the institution of the Ombudsman/ Ombudsperson at local and regional level", which remain a valid summary of the value and purpose of the institution.

      4. The 2009 Congress survey, described in the explanatory memorandum to this resolution, shows that, in a short space of time, the Ombudsman has become a respected and established institution in most member states. It also identifies areas where further improvements can be made, such as where Ombudsman services require greater control of their budgets and freedom to select their own staff.

      5. The primary aim, for the purposes of local and regional democracy, is to provide efficient and effective Ombudsman services which can handle complaints not only against local and regional authorities, but against all authorities which provide public services at the local and regional level.

      6. It is recognised that there is no single blueprint for the structure of the Ombudsman services in a member state. Each country should adopt the most appropriate structure according to its particular situation. In some countries this will result in the creation of specific local and regional Ombudsman services, in other countries complaints concerning local and regional services can be more effectively handled centrally.

      7. The survey shows that certain principles deserve to be highlighted and further developed. Ombudsman services should be properly staffed and resourced, to enable them to function effectively and with complete independence, which should directly benefit the quality of local and regional services.

      8. Now that Ombudsman services that handle complaints concerning local and regional public services exist in most member states, the challenge is to raise their public profile, to make them more widely known, valued and used by the general public. For this purpose they would benefit from being promoted in the media, local and regional press, television and the internet.

      9. For Ombudsman services to maintain public confidence, their recommendations to public authorities need to be systematically addressed, in a transparent manner and within an acceptable timeframe.

      10. The Congress therefore calls on local and regional authorities:

      a. to encourage the development of Ombudsman services that handle complaints concerning local and regional public services, drawing attention to the Congress "Principles governing the institution of the Ombudsman/Ombudsperson at local and regional level";

      b. to support and facilitate the work of such Ombudsman services, and ensure that they have a clear mandate, which defines their field of competence, which areas of activity they can intervene in and the time-limits for dealing with complaints;

      c. to ensure that Ombudsman positions are filled punctually with people with independence, impartiality and competence, who have a good standing in the community;

      d. to recognise and promote the principle that Ombudsman services should be available to all people, regardless of citizenship or nationality;

      e. to ensure that access to Ombudsman services is as easy and as transparent as possible;

      f. to assist Ombudsman services in developing comprehensive communication policies, with tools such as websites, social networks, press coverage, public relations and publications, to publicise and promote their activities;

      g. to ensure that they give appropriate follow-up to Ombudsman recommendations concerning local and regional services, in a transparent manner and acceptable time-frame, either by giving written confirmation of their implementation or a written defence of why this is not possible;

      h. to encourage networking and exchange of experience among Ombudsman services that handle complaints concerning local and regional public services.

      11. The Congress calls on associations of local and regional authorities:

      a. to promote the development of Ombudsman services that handle complaints concerning local and regional public services, recognising the beneficial effects that they can have on the quality of such services;

      b. to urge national authorities, where there are gaps in Ombudsman provision and legislative frameworks, to ensure that a nationwide system of Ombudsman protection is put in place in every member state, giving proper protection to all people against maladministration at the local and regional level, and ensuring that all people have easy access to Ombudsman services.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Local elections in Albania (8 May 2011)

      Resolution 328 (2011)30

      1. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe thanks the Albanian authorities, the political actors, the media and the representatives of the international and diplomatic community for the fruitful cooperation established during the municipal elections held in Albania on 8 May 2011. It welcomes the renewed cooperation with the Committee of the Regions of the European Union that joined the Congress observation mission with four of its members.

      2. The Congress affirms its interest in strengthening the co-operation with international organisations with a view to optimising the observation of local elections and welcomes, in particular the synergies established with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

      3. Taking note of the Report on Municipal Elections in Albania [document CG/BUR(20)21], the Congress considers that the local elections of 8 May were characterised by a transparency engagement but experienced tensions between the two main coalitions: the electoral campaign, which should have been centred on municipal issues and local needs, was mainly centred on national politics and/or on personal allegations between candidates.

      4. The Congress deplores the lack of political dialogue necessary for a constructive and loyal electoral competition. In this respect, in the interest of local communities, efforts should be made to accept all constructive decisions and go beyond partisan positions.

      5. In the light of the points above the Congress:

      a. calls on the Albanian local and regional authorities to promote the conditions aimed at establishing a better political dialogue between them, with a view to building constructive relationships – a fundamental component of good governance;

      b. affirms its readiness to contribute, as a political forum, to set-up and implement a post-election action plan of the Council of Europe;

      c. decides to develop and reinforce the cooperation with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in view of a complementary and harmonised action;

      d. asks its Monitoring Committee to consider the results of the election observation mission in the preparation of the monitoring report on local and regional democracy in Albania, scheduled for 2012.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Local elections in Moldova (5 June 2011)

      Resolution 329 (2011)31

      1. Free and fair elections, at national but also at territorial level, constitute an integral part of democratic processes in Council of Europe member states.

      2. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities welcomes the fact that, since its accession to the Council of Europe in 1995, Moldova has been committed to strengthening local and regional democracy.

      3. The Congress also acknowledges the ambitious reform programmes undertaken by the Moldovan authorities to strengthen democracy, human rights and the rule of law and to boost decentralisation and European integration.

      4. The Congress takes note of the draft recommendation regarding the findings of the mission to observe the local elections in Moldova on 5 June 2011.

      5. Given the above, and in conformity with its Resolution 306(2010) on strategy and rules for the observation of local and regional elections, the Congress,

      a. asks its Monitoring Committee to take note of this draft recommendation and to take it into account in the framework of its mission to assess the progress made by the country in honouring its commitments to the European Charter of Local Self-Government;

      b. decides to examine, in co-ordination with the relevant Council of Europe bodies, ways of supporting Moldova in pursuing reforms for the further improvement of election administration and the strengthening of territorial democracy.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Reservations and declarations to the European Charter of Local Self-Government

      Resolution 330 (2011)32

      1. The Congress is convinced of the need to broaden the application of the European Charter of Local Self-Government (hereinafter referred to as "the Charter") in member States with a view to strengthening the systems of local self-government in the interests of the citizen.

      2. A number of member States, when they ratified the Charter, limited the scope of its application in the form of reservations or declarations. “A ‘reservation’ means a unilateral statement, however phrased or named, made by a State, when signing, ratifying, accepting, approving or acceding to a treaty, whereby it purports to exclude or to modify the legal effect of certain provisions of the treaty in their application to that State” (Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties).

      3. The Congress believes that reservations and declarations should be regularly reviewed to determine whether they are still relevant or necessary. Recent country monitoring activities of the Congress have revealed that developments that have taken place in some countries since ratification have rendered the reservations that they made when ratifying the Charter redundant.

      4. The Congress notes that the Charter has been accepted in its entirety by 24 Member States, whereas 21 countries have limited their commitment in the form of reservations.

      5. The 2011 convention review exercise, carried out by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe with a view to strengthening the Organisation's treaties, has also addressed this issue and encourages the Council of Europe's monitoring mechanisms to review the question of reservations.

      6. The Congress therefore undertakes:

      a. to conduct a periodic review, by country and by article, of reservations and declarations to the Charter, in cooperation with member States and their local authority associations, with the aim of encouraging member States to extend the number of articles by which they consider themselves bound and to lift those reservations which are no longer necessary;

      b. to systematically address this question during its country visits to monitor the application of the Charter and to pursue its political dialogue with member States to encourage them to follow the European trend towards subsidiarity with a view to implementing the Charter in its entirety.

      7. The Congress invites the national associations of local and regional authorities of those member States which have formulated reservations and declarations to the Charter to participate in the review process and to notify it of cases where the application of the Charter might be extended.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      The European Charter of Local Self-Government in domestic law

      Resolution 331 (2011)33

      1. Since its entry into force in 1988, the European Charter of Local Self-Government (hereinafter referred to as "the Charter") remains the only binding European legal instrument to lay down the principles of democratic local self-government. It is the guardian of the rights of local authorities in Europe, a landmark of European democratic development, setting out for the first time the principle of subsidiarity, namely that public responsibilities are best exercised by those authorities which are closest to the citizen.

      2. The application of an international treaty such as the Charter in the domestic legal system of a State Party is known as "reception". Ratification of the Charter implies giving careful consideration to the way in which and the degree to which this reception is undertaken. In this respect, the Congress notes with satisfaction that the majority of states that have ratified in the last ten years have given direct application of the Charter to their legal systems.

      3. The Charter now covers almost the entire European area. In this context the Congress welcomes its ratification by Andorra in March 2011, which brings the number of member States which have signed or ratified it to 45.

      4. Convinced that the process of reception of the Charter into domestic legislation is of fundamental importance for the good functioning of local democracy in the States Parties, the Congress resolves to continue to promote the effectiveness of the Charter and to encourage its direct applicability in States Parties.

      5. The monitoring of States Parties' compliance with the Charter has made it possible to conduct a constant evaluation of its interpretation and for a ‘Charter culture’ gradually to impose itself and has also contributed to improving the level of reception of the Charter in States Parties.

      6. In order to contribute to the interpretation of the Charter and its direct application in member States, the Congress asks its Governance Committee to draft guidelines on the current interpretation of the provisions of the Charter, for use by legislative bodies, monitoring bodies and constitutional courts. These guidelines should take into account the findings of the reports assessing States Parties compliance with the Charter, in particular with regard to deriving a set of rights of local authorities, as well as the case-law of constitutional courts on the Charter, where this exists, with a view to assisting States Parties in implementing the Charter.

      7. The Congress asks its Monitoring Committee:

      a. to continue to strengthen and develop its monitoring of the Charter and to systematically examine the issue of the reception of the Charter during its country monitoring visits;

      b. to raise awareness among the judicial bodies that monitoring delegations meet during their visits of the need to base their decisions on the Charter, or on the domestic law related to its reception, in cases relating to local democracy;

      c. to consider what concrete measures might be appropriate in the case of non-compliance of Congress recommendations of the implementation of the Charter in individual States.

      8. The Congress invites associations of local authorities:

      a. to monitor new legislation of local democracy in their countries with a view to its compliance with the Charter;

      b. to ensure that local authorities are aware of their options of recourse to the courts, in cases of suspected non-compliance with the Charter, in order to request the application of the Charter's provisions where the relevant authorities have failed to apply it;

      c. to maintain a regular dialogue with their national authorities with regard to improving the reception of the Charter into their domestic legal systems, with particular attention to the provisions which they have not accepted;

      d. to report to the Congress on action taken with regard to 8.a, b and c above, as well as any positive measures taken with regard to the reception of the Charter in their domestic legal systems;

      e. to work with their national authorities to ensure that the Charter is made available in their national, regional and minority languages, if this is not already the case, and that a copy of each translation is deposited with the Council of Europe Treaty Office for public access.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Education for democratic citizenship – tools for cities

      Resolution 332 (2011)34

      1. The quality of a democracy and its proper functioning are dependent on the attitudes and behaviour of its population. The understanding by citizens of their rights and responsibilities, their proactive civic position in the exercise of these rights and fulfilment of these responsibilities, their commitment to and participation in democratic processes are central to the progress of modern democracy and indeed of modern society.

      2. The level of the civil and political awareness of citizens that is necessary to ensure the health and development of a pluralist democracy is a crucial element of democratic citizenship. Accordingly, education for democratic citizenship (EDC) is a process of providing citizens with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding, of developing their attitudes and behaviour and promoting their active civic position in order to empower them to exercise and defend their rights and responsibilities in society, to value diversity and to play an active part in democratic life.

      3. The Congress is convinced that local authorities have a duty to promote and facilitate active democratic citizenship, the quality of local democracy being an essential building block for the quality of regional, national and international democracy. Europe's cities have the potential to become catalysts for nurturing, developing and spreading the values that lie at the heart of democracy. By developing robust EDC strategies and making intelligent use of the available tools, they can take an important step towards realising that potential and ensure that their cities are places that enable their citizens not only to develop personally but to contribute fully to public life.

      4. The Congress reaffirms the crucial link between education for democratic citizenship and human rights education (HRE), on the basis that there can be no democracy without the full understanding and respect for human rights.

      5. The Congress is also convinced that the increasing complexity and diversity of society and the increase in the rate of change has the effect that non-formal education and lifelong learning are becoming an important sector for equipping citizens with the skills and understanding that they need to empower them to play their role in society. To explore EDC in its relation to the city, education is best understood in a wide sense, not confined to school and university, but embracing the whole realm of non-formal education and training and covering a wide range of cultural and awareness-raising activities.

      6. The Congress considers that local action for education for democratic citizenship should include elaborating appropriate EDC policies and establishing a framework for their implementation, in particular by integrating EDC into the existing programmes of formal education and vocational training, developing programmes of non-formal education, carrying out awareness-raising activities as well as action to encourage and promote greater participation of citizens, in particular through public consultations, representative citizens’ structures and participatory budgeting. Citizen participation at local level in general should be considered a crucial EDC element, as it provides learning through experience and practice.

      7. The Congress therefore calls on local authorities of the Council of Europe:

      a. to elaborate local policies, strategies and action plans for education for democratic citizenship (EDC);

      b. to establish an EDC policy implementation framework in their communities, in particular by developing, where appropriate, their own programmes to provide EDC through both formal and non-formal education, training, awareness-raising and citizen participation;

      c. to ensure coordination and examine possible synergies with other stakeholders – national governments, regional authorities, educational institutions, non-governmental and in particular youth organisations, parents, the local media, etc. – in defining and implementing EDC programmes;

      d. to promote human rights awareness-raising activities among local populations as an integral part of education for democratic citizenship;

      e. to establish a framework for encouraging active citizen participation at local level, including by setting up consultative citizens’ structures and tools (citizens’ initiatives, referenda, etc.) and introducing, where appropriate, participatory budgeting;

      f. to make particular use of the following existing policy texts and action tools for achieving these objectives:

      - official texts of the Council of Europe and of the European Union;35

      - the Manual on Human Rights Education with Young People (“Compass”) and the Manual on Human Rights Education for Children (“Compasito”), as well as specific Council of Europe EDC/HRE materials (available on the Council of Europe website www.coe.int);

      - European Local Democracy Week (ELDW), including by organising and engaging in annual ELDW activities in October, using the Week to raise awareness and communicate on their EDC action;

      - Local Democracy Agencies (LDAs);

      - local youth councils and assemblies, as well as consultative councils of foreign residents and other representative citizens’ structures, to promote consultations with and participation of citizens, in particular young people;

      - Tools available in the framework of e-democracy and e-participation.

      8. The Congress invites national associations of local authorities to act as a catalyst for promoting EDC initiatives and experience-sharing.

      9. The Congress mandates:

      a. its Current Affairs Committee to undertake further work on this subject and to encourage good practices of education for democratic citizenship at local level across Europe;

      b. its Governance Committee to take education for democratic citizenship into account as part of good governance at local level, and to propose integrating EDC into governance methods and practices.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      The situation of Roma36 in Europe:
      a challenge for local and regional authorities

      Resolution 333 (2011)37

      1. Recent events have highlighted the continuing discrimination and disadvantage faced by the estimated 10-12 million Roma in Europe. Roma have faced a long history of social exclusion within European society, exclusion which is compounded by severe disadvantage across a number of inter-related fields (lack of education, unemployment, poverty, lack of access to healthcare, poor housing and residential segregation, etc).

      2. Anti-Gypsyism is a specific form of racism targeted at Roma and has deep roots in European history. Myths and stereotypes about Roma continue to prevail in the minds of the non-Roma population, rooted in ignorance, fear and segregation, and still largely unchallenged by education. The recent resurgence of extremism targeted at Roma and other groups, fostered by the economic recession, fomented by demagogues, and fed by media reports, demonstrates that anti-Gypsyism continues to be potent as a populist political force.

      3. Discrimination against, and enforced segregation of, Roma are widespread, both at national and local levels. Roma are frequently victims of acts of physical violence, forced evictions, ghettoisation, expulsion and deportation regardless of citizenship status and associated rights. Research shows that Roma continue to face severe exclusion, poverty, disadvantage and lack of access to a wide range of social rights.

      4. Representatives of the Roma population are rarely involved in the definition of policies and actions and little is done to empower Roma to represent their interests.

      5. In view of the measures taken by some member states in 2010 which were widely covered in the media, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe decided concrete action must be taken urgently and priorities agreed upon to improve the inclusion of Roma in Europe. He called a high-level meeting to discuss how to overcome the immediate and long-term challenges related to the rights and obligations of Roma communities throughout Europe.

      6. In the resulting Strasbourg Declaration, the Council of Europe renewed its commitment to address human rights issues relating to Roma and recognised that the primary responsibility for promoting inclusion lies with the member states at national, regional but especially local level.

      7. Local and regional authorities have a responsibility to protect and promote the human rights of their citizens and have a wide range of powers they can use for this purpose. They have, therefore, a duty to take effective action at the local level and must show leadership and vision, as well as win support from all sections of the community for addressing Roma issues in order to remedy the situation of the social exclusion of Roma.

      8. In addition, as the public authorities closest to citizens, local and regional elected officials are best placed for devising policies to facilitate Roma access to rights, and for combating anti-Gypsyism, prejudice, discrimination and racist violence.

      9. Some local and regional authorities have already committed to improving the situation of Roma and the Congress welcomes the recent emergence of a number of regional and national-level networks or platforms of municipalities working on Roma issues. In particular, the Congress welcomes the commitment to work for Roma inclusion expressed by mayors, presidents of regions and other representatives of local and regional authorities during the Summit of Mayors on Roma, organised by the Congress on 22 September 2011 in Strasbourg, and their decision to establish a European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion.

      10. In the light of the above, the Congress invites local and regional authorities to:

      a. implement the decisions taken during the Summit of Mayors on Roma, organised by the Congress on 22 September 2011 in Strasbourg and, in particular, to take the steps set forth in the Final Declaration of the Summit and contribute to the future European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion;

      b. publicly commit to addressing Roma issues and remedying the situation of the social exclusion of Roma;

      c. monitor and analyse the local situation to provide a sound evidence base for the development and implementation of strategies and action plans for Roma inclusion, taking into account the diversity in the identity and circumstances of different Roma groups, as well as measure the outcomes so as to show whether the desired impact has been achieved;

      d. devise strategic action plans with clear objectives, setting out targets and stages for achievement, using an integrated approach which recognises the inter-connected nature of problems in the specific fields. In particular:

      with regard to education:

      i. discontinue any segregated schooling for Roma children;

      ii. make pre-school provision for Roma children where necessary to prepare them for school so that they can enter on the same footing as non-Roma children;

      iii. ensure all Roma children enter primary school and attend on a regular basis, encourage them to continue into secondary education, or ensure those who left school early return to obtain basic skills and occupational qualifications. In this context, have recourse to Roma school mediators appointed for this purpose;

      iv. make arrangements to ensure continuity of education of “travelling” and migrant children eg through coordination between schools, records of progress, and making provision for educational activity while ‘on the road’;

      v. provide training for teachers and engage Roma ‘teaching assistants’/mediators to support Roma children in class;

      vi. organise out-of-school educational activities to engage Roma children and young people, and to bring them into contact with non-Roma children, especially in fields such as culture and sport.

      with regard to employment:

      i. work with local employers to encourage recruitment of Roma, including ‘on-the-job’ training to develop occupational skills, and engage Roma mediators to assist with this;

      ii. introduce measures to promote recruitment and training for Roma employment within the local authority’s own workforce;

      iii. encourage and support self-employment and small business development, including skills training and advice on business and financial management, as well as small loans for example in cooperation with local banks;

      iv. promote and support the use of Roma cultural activities and crafts, particularly those practised by women, as a basis for small business development;

      v. provide advice services regarding local employment opportunities and how to access them, as well as about appropriate action to take in the case of discrimination.

      with regard to health:

      i. identify the health situation and needs of Roma and assess the effectiveness of current service provision;

      ii. ensure Roma, especially in segregated settlements and travelling/migrant communities, have access to local health services, including provision of outreach and mobile facilities and of interpreting services where necessary;

      iii. ensure health services reach women and children and include preventive care, especially immunisation for young children, and that health information is readily available;

      iv. work with local health agencies to ensure services are sensitive to Roma culture and circumstances and are responsive to Roma health needs;

      v. appoint Roma mediators to facilitate access to health care for Roma.

      with regard to housing:

      i. develop strategies to end Roma residential segregation, to replace or improve the quality of existing housing, or to give Roma access to housing with all basic amenities (fresh water, drainage, gas, electricity, refuse collection, and paved roads) so as to facilitate social inclusion;

      ii. ensure access to adequate accommodation on suitable sites for travelling/migrant families with basic amenities and effective site management, ensuring consultation with settled residents in the area to address any concerns and promote social cohesion;

      iii. regularise the tenure of Roma in their homes or on sites, avoid forced evictions, and arrange agreed alternative accommodation of appropriate standard wherever necessary;

      iv. identify land where, if purchased or rented by Roma, non-permanent accommodation can be installed while respecting environmental and sanitary regulations.

      with regard to Roma empowerment and participation:

      i. engage leaders of the Roma community to work in partnership on the implementation of strategies and undertake capacity-building in the Roma community for this purpose. Specifically, ensure a senior official has overall responsibility for work on Roma issues as well as Roma mediators to assist in the implementation of strategies;

      ii. establish structures to ensure the voice of Roma is heard by those responsible for Roma issues (including the voice of women and young people), either in the form of Roma-specific consultative bodies, or by involving Roma in representative bodies for minorities and community groups generally;

      iii. provide information and civic education programmes to promote active citizenship in the Roma community;

      iv. promote and support the development or strengthening of local Roma associations that can mobilise and articulate this voice in appropriate forums as well as act as partners for the local authority;

      v. recruit, train and provide properly-established employment for Roma mediators, drawn where possible from the local Roma community, including those trained through the Council of Europe ROMED training programme. When training mediators, make use of the curriculum of the ROMED programme;

      vi. promote intercultural understanding by organising activities, together with Roma associations, to promote Roma culture and identity both within the Roma community and the wider community (including schools);

      vii. promote Roma participation in local authority activities, including in local politics (eg by voter registration and by standing as candidates for election), and especially encourage participation by women and young people.

      e. take action to combat ignorance, myths and stereotypes among the non-Roma population, including via local media and especially provide awareness training and practice-oriented workshops for both managers and staff on Roma issues, with Roma participation in both planning and delivery:

      i. produce and disseminate materials (leaflets, booklets, CDs, web-pages, etc), including materials already available through the Council of Europe Dosta! Campaign, and work in schools and with the local mass media, to raise awareness on Roma culture and history to counter negative myths and stereotypes and bring together Roma and non-Roma communities;

      ii. design activities to bring visible benefits to both Roma and non-Roma communities, and enable both groups to work together thus building mutual understanding and respect;

      iii. avoid using negative stereotypes and terminology relating to Roma, especially in statements by political leaders and senior officials;

      iv. actively and publicly condemn and counter any public manifestations of anti-Gypsyism in the form of hate speech, discrimination, threats, intimidation and physical violence, whether by individuals or organised groups, and take steps to ensure that the law is enforced effectively and in a non-discriminatory manner by police and other responsible agencies.

      f. secure the necessary financial and other resources for the implementation of action plans, from internal and external sources as appropriate;

      g. mainstream addressing Roma-specific issues into the core functioning of the local and regional authority;

      h. join or create national networks of municipalities and/or regions which aim to improve the situation of Roma;

      i. draw on previous Congress resolutions, such as those relating to migrants and minorities, aspects of which may be relevant for the work on Roma issues, while also ensuring that the specific features of the situation of Roma are appropriately addressed;

      j. take into account and implement, within their competences, General Policy Recommendation N° 13 on combating anti-Gypsyism and discrimination against Roma, adopted by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance in June 2011, in particular as regards education, housing, health care, employment and access to public services and to places open to the public.

      11. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities:

      a. recalling its Resolutions 249 (1993), 16 (1995) and 44 (1997) and the Club de Strasbourg’s declaration of October 2010 which all call for the establishment of cooperation structures, undertakes to facilitate the setting up of a European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion, as a pan-European framework of cooperation between local and regional authorities, existing networks and other structures, in order to share experience, identify and promote good practice, and facilitate joint working;

      b. calls on local and regional authorities to join this Alliance to work together to promote Roma inclusion and strengthen their capacity in this respect;

      c. invites the member states to include, where possible, Roma mayors in their national delegations to the Congress;

      d. is committed to cooperating with the Committee of the Regions of the European Union in order to achieve the inclusion of Roma, inter alia through exchanges of best practice.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Developing indicators to raise awareness of human rights
      at local and regional level

      Resolution 334 (2011) 38

      1. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, taking into consideration:

      a. its unique position as a pan-European body of elected representatives closest to the citizens providing services to the community, and guided by the principle of subsidiarity, which stipulates that issues should be dealt with by the smallest, lowest or least centralised competent authority;

      b. its long-standing activity in the field of human rights from the 1997 Messina Conference on the creation of ombudspersons to the 2008 Stockholm Conference which gave rise to the Joint Declaration on “Systematic Work for Human Rights” co-signed by the Congress, SALAR39 and the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe;

      c. Article 1 of the Statute of the Council of Europe, which states that its core objectives should be pursued by the organs of the CoE “in the maintenance and further realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms”,40 and Article 2 of the Statutory Resolution of the Committee of Ministers which takes inspiration from this article to set out the objectives of the Congress to promote local and regional democracy;41

      d. the conclusions of the Warsaw Summit to the effect that “effective democracy and good governance at all levels are essential;42

      e. Recommendation 280 (2010) on “The role of local and regional authorities in the implementation of human rights”, which stated that “democracy and human rights are interdependent”,43 and the Committee of Ministers’ reply thereto which stresses that “local and regional authorities, in their fields of competence, must comply with the human rights obligations which stem from the international commitments of the member States”; 44

      f. the stance taken in Resolution 296 (2010) to the effect that the Congress is “an ideal forum in which to raise awareness about human rights issues among local and regional political leaders and government officials” and that the “most important way to enable local and regional authorities to take responsibility for human rights is through the systematic training of political leaders and the dissemination of reliable information among citizens about their rights (particularly among vulnerable groups)”;

      g. the statement made by the Council of Europe Commissioner of Human Rights at the Congress session in March 2011 that “there is now increasing momentum for adopting the rights-based approach at the local level”; 45

      h. the fact that human rights include civil, political, economic and social rights and that the competences of local and regional authorities refer to all these rights;

      i. the fact that there is a need for stronger co-operation within the Council of Europe for an optimum use of resources and creation of added value when undertaking activities; and

      j. the explanatory memorandum prepared by Rapporteur Lars O. Molin46 on human rights indicators developed for the use of Congress rapporteurs when gathering and analysing data on human rights issues at local and regional level, and particularly the appendix thereto regarding the relevant rights.

      2. Accordingly, the Congress undertakes to:

      a. look at the human rights situation at local and regional level in member States by developing an appropriate methodology for collecting data and providing analyses in order to identify the problems facing local authorities in their daily work;

      b. develop action plans to raise awareness among local authorities of human rights through training programmes and exchange of best practices between elected representatives, and integrate these into national planning processes by means of effective consultation, as stipulated by Article 4 paragraph 6 of the European Charter of Local Self-Government;

      c. continue to encourage the establishment at local and regional level of independent complaint mechanisms such as local ombudspersons;

      d. ensure that its activities are based on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Social Charter, as well as the work of the existing Council of Europe monitoring bodies, and provide a complementary effort which does not duplicate but highlights the unique contribution it can make through contacts with elected representatives in member States;

      e. continue its co-operation with the Committee of the Regions and the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union on issues related to the development of strong self-government at sub-national level and the multi-level protection and promotion of fundamental rights;

      f. encourage local and regional authorities to conduct training of local government representatives and administrative staff in order to improve their knowledge of the rights of citizens at their level of government;

      g. organise support activities aimed at raising local representatives’ awareness of their responsibilities in the implementation of human rights at local and regional level;

      h. convene an international conference on raising local authorities’ awareness of human rights, open to Congress members and other elected representatives at local and regional level who wish to contribute to the discussion, in order to debate questions relating to the implementation of human rights at local level and to propose a Congress action plan for 2013-2015 on this issue;

      i. instruct the Congress Monitoring Committee to take the necessary steps for the preparation of five-yearly reports on the implementation of policies for human rights by local and regional authorities in the member States of the Council of Europe.

      21st SESSION

      Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011

      Energy supply and energy efficiency at local and regional level: promoting energy transition

      Resolution 335 (2011)47

      1. The 21st century is set to see major changes in the energy field which will have a direct impact on local and regional authorities:

      a. a physical limit on the availability of fossil and fissile fuels has become a serious possibility;

      b. the consequences of energy consumption in terms of climate change are threatening the balance of the biosphere;

      c. the strong growth taking place in the emerging countries is leading to a significant increase in energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions;

      d. the high level of energy prices could make energy inaccessible to a growing part of the population, which would no longer be able to meet its minimum needs for comfort and mobility, thus accelerating social exclusion.

      2. The present picture of energy supply and energy efficiency is therefore as follows:

      a. a continuing upward trend of energy prices, especially those of oil, gas and electricity;

      b. “peak oil”,48 according to the International Energy Agency, was reached in 2006;

      c. the nuclear accident at Fukushima in March 2011 has brought the nuclear safety issue to the fore and is prompting a number of countries to abandon the nuclear route;

      d. interest is increasing in improving energy efficiency as a key solution to energy problems;

      e. a wide range of renewable energy resources is now economically and technologically available;

      f. despite the climate emergency context, international negotiations are making only slow progress.

      3. The energy supply framework prevailing today represents a break in the link between energy and the local area, with local and regional authorities being excluded from the major decisions taken and consequently becoming heavily energy-dependent. The Congress is convinced that the present situation requires a transition to a new energy paradigm in which “flow” (renewable) energies are used and consumption is lower and more efficient than today.

      4. It has become imperative to lower the costs to energy consumers, especially for individual consumers, in order to reduce the excessive dependence on only a limited number of energy suppliers or energy supply methods. It has also become imperative to give consumers a possibility of choosing among a wide variety of alternative energy sources, and to encourage citizens’ initiatives and innovation in energy production.

      5. In this new paradigm, local and regional authorities will play a decisive role as energy consumers, urban planners, investors, energy producers and distributors and set an example to the population and local stakeholders.

      6. The new paradigm calls for close cooperation of all levels of government, including transfer of resources from the national state to the regional and local sector to secure immediate and sufficient climate action.

      7. The Congress is also convinced that this new paradigm is already appearing, especially following initiatives by local and regional authorities. Suitable technologies and systems are already available and there is no shortage of practical examples. Nevertheless, the energy transition process must be accelerated (or started where it has not yet taken off) in order to make our societies less vulnerable and guide them towards a more judicious use of natural resources, with due respect for the balance of the biosphere.

      8. The Congress affirms that such a transition requires, on the one hand, decentralised energy policies and, on the other hand, initiatives by towns and regions to change the existing situation. In this context, local and regional authorities must have adequate competences and responsibilities relating to energy supply and use. All action to manage energy resources better must involve local and regional stakeholders.

      9. In addition, the Congress points out that under the European Charter of Local Self-Government (Article 4) local and regional authorities must be consulted on all energy-transport infrastructure decisions. The purpose of this is to enable them to exercise their choice of supply methods and sources and to control the impact of transport infrastructure on the areas concerned. Regions and countries which export network energies must not be able to impose their choices on those areas unilaterally.

      10. The Congress notes the vital importance of a reliable energy supply and safe energy for the regions and local communities in Europe, which is determined by stable, reliable and smooth supply of energy resources and diversification of their routes.

      11. The Congress underlines the importance of considering the interests of the territories, through which Trans-European energy infrastructure pass, the use of modern technologies and control systems by construction and operation of these facilities, ensuring the preservation of the environment and the rational use of natural resources. In addition, it is essential that local and regional authorities receive the appropriate budget allocations from the implementation of the main energy infrastructure projects.

      12. Referring to its previous work in this field, the Congress also reaffirms the relevance of its Resolution 262 (2008) “Public local and regional action: for a new energy culture” and of its Resolution 248 (2008) “Climate change: building adaptive capacity of local and regional authorities”, both of which remain highly topical.

      13. The Congress welcomes the action which is being undertaken by regional and municipal networks such as in particular the Foundation for the Economy and Sustainable Development of the Regions of Europe (FEDRE) and Energy Cities, and considers that they play an important role in promoting energy policies and energy efficiency at local and regional level.

      14. In the light of the above, the Congress invites the local and regional authorities of the Council of Europe to:

      a. take full stock of their responsibilities in dealing with the energy challenges with which we are already confronted. Mere awareness that something must be done is today no longer sufficient – action must be taken now as a matter of urgency;

      b. debate the energy transition question in their deliberative assemblies so as to facilitate inclusion of this fundamental issue in all sectoral policies;

      c. acquire the means to become fully aware of energy flows into their area, as well as the associated emissions of pollutants, including by sector (residential, tertiary, transport etc), and according to use (heating, specific electricity, etc);

      d. seek systematically to achieve energy savings of municipal buildings and throughout the residential and tertiary sectors and encourage the public display of those buildings’ energy performance (from A to G);

      e. list the total of local resources that can be used for energy supply (biomass, biogas, geothermal heat, seas and lakes, solar power, wind, waste, heat recovery, etc);

      f. elaborate/define pluriannual sustainable energy action plans covering the following aspects: energy consumption, area planning, investment, energy production and distribution, setting an example for the population and local stakeholders, including quantified objectives and the associated budgets;

      g. irrespective of the European country concerned, join the Covenant of Mayors49 (as signatories for towns and as local co-ordinators for regions and provinces), which is nowadays the reference movement for local and regional authorities;

      h. appoint, in their executive bodies, policy heads responsible for energy, climate and sustainable development issues, and create or strengthen the corresponding committees;

      i. ensure the presence of suitably-skilled human resources within their administrations (pluridisciplinary energy management units) and in outside bodies (local energy and climate agencies);

      j. involve citizens, economic stakeholders (SMEs, VSEs etc) and industrial stakeholders (associations, trade unions) in defining and implementing local energy policies, in order to share a common vision of the local area as one offering low energy consumption and high quality of life for all;

      k. encourage citizens’ initiatives as well as investments in innovation as far as energy production and supply are concerned, and ensure that citizens have an option of individual energy production, for example by installing solar panels or windmills on their property;

      l. participate in networking at national and European level in order to share experiences and influence decisions by governments and supranational institutions; take into account, in this regard, the experience of the existing networks, such as for example the Transitional Town Movement Network50 in the United Kingdom, Italy, Ireland, and other countries around the world; and develop relations, partnership and exchange of best practices between local and regional authorities of the Council of Europe member states within their competence on the energy supply and energy efficiency issues;

      m. contribute to the activities in the framework of the International Year for Sustainable Energy for All (2012), which will feature the Earth Summit 20 years after the historic Rio Conference laid the bases of sustainable world governance.

      15. Furthermore, the Congress:

      a. invites local and regional networks such as in particular the Foundation for the Economy and Sustainable Development of the Regions of Europe (FEDRE) and Energy Cities to pursue their action aimed at promoting energy policies and energy efficiency as well as best practices at local and regional level in the spirit of the present resolution;

      b. instructs its Current Affairs Committee to present, in 2015, a report assessing the situation with energy supply and energy efficiency at local and regional level;

      c. instructs its Governance Committee to take account of energy policies and energy efficiency as an integral part of good local and regional governance.

1 Debated and adopted by the Congress on 18 October 2011, 1st sitting (see Document CG(21)3, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteur: M. Haak-Griffioen, The Netherlands (R, EPP/CD).

2 See http://data.gov.uk/apps (some examples www.fixmystreet.com, www.openlylocal.com and www.spotlightonspend.org.uk)

3 Debated and adopted by the Congress on 18 October 2011, 1st sitting (see document CG(21)12 explanatory memorandum), Rapporteurs: J. Wienen, the Netherlands (L, EPP/CD) and M. Jegeni-Yildiz, Turkey (R, EPP/CD).

4 Following the reform of the Congress, monitoring activities carried out by this committee were transferred to the Monitoring Committee established on 1 December 2010.

5 Debated and adopted by the Congress on 18 October 2011, 1st sitting (see Document CG(21)6, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteur: H. Pihlajasaari, Finland (R, SOC) and H. Skard, Norway (L, SOC).

6 Debated and adopted by the Congress on 18 October 2011, 1st sitting (see Document CG(21)14, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteurs: Artur TORRES PEREIRA, Portugal (L, EPP/CD) and Johan SAUWENS, Belgium (R, EPP/CD).

7 Resolution 299 (2010) 1 on follow-up by the Congress of the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government (Utrecht, Netherlands, 16-17 November 2009).

8 Recommendation 282 (2010) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe on “Follow-up by the Congress of the Conference of Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government (Utrecht, Netherlands, 16-17 November 2009)”.

9 Recommendation 45 (1998) on the situation of local and regional self-government in the Republic of Bulgaria, adopted by the Congress on 28 May 1998, rapporteurs: Giorgio DE SABBATA (Italy) and Llibert CUATRECASAS (Spain).

10 Artur TORRES PEREIRA, Portugal (L, EPP/CD), and Johan SAUWENS, Belgium (R, EPP/CD), were appointed rapporteurs and entrusted with the presentation of a new report to the Congress on local and regional democracy in the Republic of Bulgaria. They were assisted in their work by a consultant, Francesco MERLONI (Italy), Chairman of the Group of Independent Experts on the European Charter of Local Self-Government.

11 Debated and adopted by the Congress on 18 October 2011, 1st sitting (see document CG(21)13 explanatory memorandum), Rapporteur: J.L. Testud, France (L, EPP/CD).

12 By decision of the Institutional Committee of the Congress, Pia Bosch I Codola (Spain, R, SOC) and Jean-Louis Testud (France, L, EPP), were appointed rapporteurs on local and regional democracy in Finland respectively. The rapporteurs were assisted by Bernd Semmelroggen, consultant, member of the Group of Independent Experts on the European Charter of Local Self-Government. As Ms Pia Bosch I Codola’s term as a member of the Congress ended in June 2011, the preliminary draft recommendation is presented by Mr Jean-Louis Testud, rapporteur for local democracy.

13 Following the reform of the Congress, this committee's monitoring activities were taken over by the Monitoring Committee on 1 December 2010.

14 Debated and approved by the Chamber of Local Authorities on 19 October 2011 and adopted by the Congress on 20 October 2011, 3rd sitting (see Document CPL(21)3, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteur: V.Gebel Germany (L, ILDG).

15 Debated and approved by the Chamber of Local Authorities on 19 October 2011 and adopted by the Congress on 20 October 2011, 3rd sitting (see Document CPL(21)4, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteur: H. Weninger, Austria (L, SOC).

16 Debated and approved by the Chamber of Local Authorities on 19 October 2011 and adopted by the Congress on 20 October 2011, 3rd sitting (see Document CPL(21)5, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteur: M. Cohen, Malta (L, SOC).

17 Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Greece, Latvia, Malta, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Netherlands, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey.

18 Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

19 Azerbaijan, Denmark, Georgia and the Netherlands.

20 The term “Roma” used at the Council of Europe refers to Roma, Sinti, Kale and related groups in Europe, including Travellers and the Eastern groups (Dom and Lom), and covers the wide diversity of the groups concerned, including persons who identify themselves as “Gypsies”.

21 Debated and adopted by the Congress on 19 October 2011, 2nd sitting (see Document CG(21)8, explanatory memorandum), Rapporteur: J. Warmisham, United Kingdom (L, SOC).

22 Debated and adopted by the Congress on 20 October 2011, 3rd sitting (see Document CG(21)4, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteur: Odd Arild KVALÖY, Norway (R, NR).

23 Upon decision of the Institutional Committee, Mr Christopher Newbury (Rapporteur for local democracy, United Kingdom) and Mr Odd Arild Kvalöy (Rapporteur for regional democracy, Norway) were appointed Rapporteurs for Serbia and instructed to prepare and submit the report on local and regional democracy in Serbia. They were assisted by Ms Elena Simina Tanasescu, consultant and member of the Group of Independent Experts on the European Charter of Local Self-Government. Following the termination of Mr Christopher Newbury’s mandate as a member of the Congress in October 2010, the current recommendation is presented by Mr Odd Arild Kvalöy, Rapporteur for regional democracy.

24 Debated and adopted by the Congress on 20 October 2011, 3rd sitting (see Document CG(21)16, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteurs: Jean-Claude FRECON, France (L, SOC) and Philippe LEUBA, Switzerland (R, NR).

25 Jean-Claude Frécon (France, L, SOC), Vice-President of the Congress, and Philippe Leuba (Switzerland, R, NR) were appointed co-rapporteurs to submit to the Congress a report and a recommendation on local and regional democracy in Latvia. They were assisted by Jean-Marie Woehrling, consultant and member of the Group of Independent Experts on the European Charter of Local Self-Government.

26 Debated and adopted by the Congress on 18 October 2011, 1st sitting, Rapporteurs: A. Knape, Sweden (L, EPP/CD) and
I. Sanchez Amor, Spain (R, SOC).

27 Debated and adopted by the Congress on 18 October 2011, 1st sitting (see Document CG(21)3, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteur: M. Haak-Griffioen, The Netherlands (R, EPP/CD).

28 The CLEAR tool is appended to Committee of Ministers Recommendation CM/Rec(2009)2.

29 Debated and adopted by the Congress on 18 October 2011, 1st sitting (see Document CG(21)6, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteurs: H. Pihlajasaari, Finland (R, SOC) and H. Skard, Norway (L, SOC).

30 Debated and approved by the Chamber of Local Authorities on 19 October 2011 and adopted by the Congress on 20 October 2011, 3rd sitting (see Document CPL(21)3, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteur: V.Gebel Germany (L, ILDG).

31 Debated and approved by the Chamber of Local Authorities on 19 October 2011 and adopted by the Congress on 20 October 2011, 3rd sitting (see Document CPL(21)4, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteur: H. Weninger, Austria (L, SOC).

32 Debated and approved by the Chamber of Local Authorities on 19 October 2011 and adopted by the Congress on 20 October 2011, 3rd sitting (see Document CPL(21)5, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteur: M. Cohen, Malta (L, SOC).

33 Debated and approved by the Chamber of Local Authorities on 19 October 2011 and adopted by the Congress on 20 October 2011, 3rd sitting (see Document CPL(21)2, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteur: W. Borsus, Belgium (L, ILDG).

34 Debated and approved by the Chamber of Local Authorities on 19 October 2011 and adopted by the Congress on 20 October 2011, 3rd sitting (see Document CPL(21)6, explanatory memorandum), Rapporteur: D. Ghisletta, Switzerland (L, SOC).

35 European Charter of Local Self-Government and its Additional Protocol on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority; Council of Europe Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level; Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education; Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life; EU Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning.

36 The term “Roma” used at the Council of Europe refers to Roma, Sinti, Kale and related groups in Europe, including Travellers and the Eastern groups (Dom and Lom), and covers the wide diversity of the groups concerned, including persons who identify themselves as “Gypsies”.

37 Debated and adopted by the Congress on 19 October 2011, 2nd sitting (see Document CG(21)8, explanatory memorandum), Rapporteur: J. Warmisham, United Kingdom (L, SOC).

38 Debated and adopted by the Congress on 20 October 2011, 3rd sitting (see Document CG(21)10, explanatory memorandum) Rapporteur: Lars O. Molin (Sweden, L, EPP/DC).

39 Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.

40 Statute of the Council of Europe, Article 1 b.

41 Statutory Resolutions [CM/Res(2011)2] and CM/Res(2007)6 relating to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and the revised Charter appended thereto adopted by the Committee of Ministers respectively on 19 January 2011 on 2 May 2007.

42 Warsaw Summit, Council of Europe, Declaration and Action Plan, paragraph 3.

43 Congress Recommendation 280 (2010) on “The role of local and regional authorities in the implementation of human rights”, adopted on 17 March 2010, Point 1 b. – e. See also Document CG (18) 6, explanatory memorandum.

44 Reply adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 6 July 2011 at the 1118th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies, CM/Cong(2011)Rec280 final.

45 See T. Hammarberg’s Speech “Bringing human rights home: human rights action at the local level”, at the link https://wcd.coe.int/wcd/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1763257&Site=Congress&BackColorInternet=C3C3C3&BackColorIntranet=CACC9A&BackColorLogged=EFEA9C

46 Lars O. Molin (Sweden, L, EPP/DC), Congress Rapporteur on Human Rights and Chair of the Monitoring Committee.

47 Debated and adopted by the Congress on 20 October 2011, 3rd sitting (see Document CG(21)11, explanatory memorandum), Rapporteur: S. Orlova, Russian Federation (R, EPP/CD).

48 Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. 

49 The Covenant of Mayors is a European movement involving local and regional authorities committed to increasing energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources on their territories.

50 Transition Network, www.transitionnetwork.org



 Top

 

  Related Documents
 
   Meetings