24th Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, 19-21 March 2013)

      Monitoring of Local and Regional democracy in Italy

      Speaking notes for Knud ANDERSEN (Denmark, ILDG), Congress member

      Embargo until pronounced - Check against delivery

      Thank you

      We arrived in Italy with the wind of the reforms and many issues of local and regional democracy were discussed. I note that this is more and more often the case. Definitely the crisis will have given rise to some substantial changes in our countries.

      This being said I must say that the situation has been changing rapidly in Italy, and I must say that many political changes have occurred within one year.

      However, I will not spend too much time on the general context in Italy, and I will stick to the recommendation which is submitted to adoption today.

      As I said, there is an ongoing reform in Italy and we ask the authorities to complete the reform project launched with the constitutional amendments of over a decade ago and continued with legislation in 2009, in order to achieve the declared goals of fiscal federalism;

      To reply to one of our matter of concern regarding the non-respect of the right of local authorities to manage a substantial share of public affairs under their own responsibility, we asked national authorities to guarantee the maintenance of a substantial share of public functions for local and regional authorities, which should be full and exclusive, as it is prescribed by the Charter.

      To echo to one of the request made already by the Congress notably in its report on the second tier of self government, we believe it is important that national authorities recommit to the democratic value of direct elections in any future structural reform proposals, notably as concerns the provincial level

      As usual, once again, you will find this recurrent recommendation which requests the authorities to endeavour to match resources to local and regional functions and to ensure the availability of adequate funding to local and regional authorities

      The development and implementation of the equalisation procedures are also crucial in order to achieve a functional system of local and regional funding, which is compatible with the Charter as far as local authorities are concerned, and which takes inspiration from the Reference Framework on Regional Democracy, as regards the Italian regions;

      Again to echo one of the Congress report on consultation which provides in details the necessary criteria laid down in the Charter, we insisted on the necessity to improve the mechanisms of consultation with local authorities in the light of Article 9.6 of the Charter

      As regard Article 11 of the Charter which provides the right to apply directly to the Court when a matter of interest of a local authority is concerned, We ask authorities to review the law in order to allow the provinces and municipalities with the right to apply directly through a representative to the Constitutional Court;

      A very important point to me as well consists in our recommendation to continue and to reinforce the implementation of anti-corruption measures, in order to ensure a high level of local and regional democracy;

      Lastly, I do think that it is time now for Italy to sign and ratify rapidly the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority

      I think I gave you a general overview of the picture of what is necessary to solve, to our opinion as rapporteur, in the field of local and regional democracy in Italy.

      I hope you will adopt this recommendation which- I believe - reflects fairly the situation of local and regional democracy in Italy at the time of our visits.

      Thank you for your attention

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