The core mission of the Congress is the effective monitoring of the situation of local and regional democracy in member states by assessing the application of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, adopted in 1985.
The Council of Europe’s Congress is the only European body with a mandate to monitor the Charter’s implementation and to observe local and regional elections which is complementary to the political monitoring process.
The Congress’ monitoring process contributes to the main objectives of the Council of Europe at territorial level, which are to advance democracy on our continent. Monitoring is also part of an ongoing political dialogue with the different levels of governance in the country concerned, aimed at improving its situation.
How does the Congress monitor local and regional democracy?
The Congress undertakes, through its Bureau and the relevant committee:
· regular and general country-by-country monitoring missions;
· the examination of a particular aspect of the Charter;
· urgent fact-finding missions to look into specific cases of concern
Following monitoring missions, the relevant committee draws up reports and recommendations to member states. The Congress debates these monitoring reports in sessions, adopts recommendations to governments and holds exchanges with government officials on the follow-up of their implementation.
Facts and Figures
Almost 70 monitoring reports have been prepared by the Congress since 1995. To date, the Congress has completed two thirds of the first monitoring cycle of the 46 member states which have ratified the European Charter of Local Self-Government.
In addition, the Congress is working to encourage the remaining member state (San Marino) to join the Charter network.
In 2013, seven monitoring missions are planned in Armenia, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and United Kindom.
Resolution 307 (2010) - New procedures for better monitoring
In June 2010, the Congress’ Standing Committee adopted the Rules governing the organisation of Congress monitoring procedures (Resolution 307 (2010)) as part of the Congress reform package.
In order to improve the quality of its monitoring, the Congress decided to:
· make the monitoring of member countries more regular (approximately every five years) and systematic;
· incorporate the human rights dimension into its activities;
· provide a stricter framework concerning the mode of appointment and the guarantee of Rapporteur impartiality;
· introduce targeted post-monitoring assistance, based on co-operation with national and territorial authorities to address the identified shortcomings and issues of concern.