Press release - CG015(2017)

Local democracy in Malta

Strasbourg, 30 March 2017 – On 29 March 2017, the Congress’s Chamber of Local Authorities adopted a recommendation on local democracy in Malta following a monitoring visit from 22 to 24 November 2016. This is the third monitoring report since Malta ratified the European Charter of Local Self-Government in 1993. The report was prepared by the co-rapporteurs Stewart Dickson (United Kingdom, ILDG) and Risto Rautava (Finland, EPP-CCE).

The co-rapporteurs expressed satisfaction with certain amendments made to Malta’s legislation, improving local democracy, since the last official monitoring visit in 2010. “However, Maltese self-government still faces numerous challenges in the context of conformity with the provisions of the European Charter of Local Self-Government”, stated Stewart Dickson, presenting the report to the Chamber of local Authorities. The Congress is particularly concerned about the lack of explicit or direct recognition of the principle of local self-government in domestic legislation and in the Maltese Constitution. The report also mentions the excessive involvement of central government in local affairs. “The overall situation of local democracy in Malta is exacerbated by the lack of formal consultation mechanisms between the central government and the local authorities”, explained Stewart Dickson.

The Congress recommends that national authorities adopt a series of measures, including amending the Maltese Constitution to directly recognise the principle of local self-government and increasing funding for local authorities. It also drew attention to the need to extend the list of functions of local councils and to give them greater freedom to manage their own financial affairs. Lastly, the Congress invited the Maltese authorities to consider signing and ratifying the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority.

“As a long-standing Member State of the Council of Europe (since 29 April 1965), Malta has committed itself to safeguarding human rights and democracy, including local democracy”, said Stefan Buontempo, Malta’s Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government. “In this respect, we would therefore evaluate the final report on local democracy in Malta to address any real of perceived non compliance to the Charter”, he added.


Malta ratified the European Charter of Local Self Government on 6 September 1993. The countries which have ratified the Charter are bound by its provisions. The Charter requires compliance with a minimum number of rights, which form the European bedrock of local self-government. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities makes sure that these principles are observed.

· Report CG32(2017)02 on Local democracy in Malta 
· Statement by Stewart Dickson
· Statement by Stefan Buontempo 
· File: 32 nd  Session of the Congress 
· Video of the debate
· Interview with Stewart Dickson

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
Planning, Coordination and institutional Communication Unit
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