Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011
Local and regional democracy in Slovenia
Recommendation 308 (2011)1
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 Committee2 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.
1 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).
2 Following the reform of the Congress, monitoring activities carried out by this committee were transferred to the Monitoring Committee established on 1 December 2010.