Press Release - 849(2009)

Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government adopts the Utrecht Declaration

Utrecht, 17.11.2009 – Meeting in Utrecht (Netherlands) on 16 and 17 November at the invitation of the Dutch authorities, the Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government of the Council of Europe countries concluded their proceedings with the adoption of the Utrecht Declaration, a document emphasising the leading role to be performed by local and regional authorities in ending the economic and financial crisis. In this context, the Ministers drew particular attention to the respective roles of local authorities and central governments, stressing the responsibility of the latter for guaranteeing the resources of local authorities.

The Ministers also considered the state of transfrontier and interterritorial co-operation, reaffirming their commitment to reduce or eliminate the practical and legal obstacles restricting transfrontier co-operation. Protocol No. 3 to the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation opened for signature by states on the occasion of the conference (*) constitutes an innovative legal instrument capable of furthering the reinforcement of transfrontier and interterritorial co-operation.

In their Declaration, the Ministers adopted the Utrecht Agenda on the establishment of good local and regional governance for 2010-2013, identifying specific challenges of great common significance. Among these may be mentioned the management of the financial/economic crisis, the low level of democratic participation in public life at the local and regional levels, and increasing the organisational effectiveness of local and regional authorities’ governance. The Additional Protocol to the Charter of Local Self-Government was also opened for signature at the conference (*) and likewise constitutes an innovative contribution to good governance and participation at the local and regional levels.

At the end of the meeting, Ministers accepted the invitation of their Ukrainian colleague to hold their 17th session in 2011 in Ukraine.

Utrecht Declaration and Agenda

Further information on the conference

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(*) See our press release No. 848

Council of Europe Press Division
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