Conference on ''1953–1988–2013: Decentralisation at a crossroads''
Strasbourg, France, 26 November 2013
Conference on ''1953–1988–2013: Decentralisation at a crossroads'' [17/07/2013]
The Congress and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) co-organised a conference entitled '1953–1988–2013: Decentralisation at a crossroads' in Strasbourg, France, held on the eve of the World Forum for Democracy 2013, on 26 November 2013. To mark the 60th anniversary of the adoption by the CEMR of the European Charter of Municipal Liberties (1953) and the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the European Charter of Local Self-Government of the Council of Europe (1988), the conference aimed to review the progress achieved over the last 60 years with respect to local democracy and self-government, notably through the implementation of the two Charters. It also focused on recent administrative and territorial reforms in Europe, examine the concerns of local governments on recentralisation trends and looked at the future prospects for strengthening local democracy in Europe.
Jean-Claude Frécon: ''The principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government apply unconditionally” [26/11/2013]
“The principles enshrined in the European Charter of Local Self-Government are valuable advances which must not be called into question, regardless of the economic situation and the difficulties our governments face in dealing with it,” said Jean-Claude Frécon, President of the Congress Chamber of Local of Authorities, at the seminar “1953–1988–2013: Decentralisation at a crossroads” held jointly with the CEMR. “These principles involving a degree of local autonomy, namely the delegation of powers, commensurate financing and local authorities’ right to be consulted, to name but a few, are all fundamental rights of local authorities and apply unconditionally,” he added. At the same time, he underlined the possibility of adapting the text of the Charter with additional provisions, for instance to expand participatory democracy against the background of the crisis currently affecting representative democracy.
Herwig van Staa: “The European Charter of Local Self-Government opened a new era in the decentralisation of power in Europe” [26/11/2013]
“Today local authorities have become the first line of response to the issues of concern to our societies” stated Herwig van Staa, President of the Congress at the joint seminar between CEMR and the Congress on “1953-1988-2013: Decentralisation at a crossroads” underlining that local and regional democracy in Europe is continuing to evolve. “As of this year, all Council of Europe member States have ratified the European Charter of Local Self-Government, this shows the unanimous recognition, by all European governments, that local democracy is the cornerstone of the democratic system” he added. To conclude, he raised an important question to discuss at the seminar “Is the Charter responding today to the challenges facing local democracy or does it need revision or further evolution?”