Conference "Successful territorial reform"
5 May 2017, Eupen, Belgium
Karl-Heinz LAMBERTZ: “Power sharing is the best guarantee of democracy”
Recent examples of sub-national reform projects in Council of Europe member states were presented at a conference organised by the Congress on 5 May 2017 in Eupen, the capital city of the German-speaking Community in Belgium. Against the backdrop of four important generators of territorial reform (the economic crisis, the aim for better governance, the existence of strong regional identities in some countries and the desire to consolidate power), academic experts, practitioners and local and regional politicians discussed success stories and current challenges to territorial reform, notably with regard to amalgamations of municipalities. According to researchers, in general, a decrease of regional autonomy has been observed in recent years while, at the same time, there has been a trend towards more autonomy with regard to the local tier of government. “Overall, we can say that there is an increasing asymmetry of powers in regional governance”, stated Mr Francesco PALERMO, the Head of the Institute for Studies on Federalism and Regionalism in Bolzano (Italy) in his keynote speech. In his statement, Congress Vice-President Mr Karl-Heinz LAMBERTZ, Senator of the German-speaking Community of Belgium, underlined the importance of balancing the interests of different tiers of government.
Congress Governance Committee concludes meeting in Eupen, Belgium
Debates on reports currently being prepared in the context of the Congress' package of measures to prevent corruption at local and regional level were at the centre of a meeting of the Governance Committee held in Eupen, Belgium, on 4 May 2017. Among the texts adopted on this occasion was the report presented by Amelie Tarschys Ingre (Sweden, ILDG) on 'Making Public Procurement transparent at local and regional level'. It includes recommendations, in particular, with regard to efficient control mechanisms, training and awareness raising of public officers and overall transparency which was not always easy to achieve, according to the speakers of the meeting. “It’s hard, for the 47 countries of the Council of Europe, to find the exact balance between confidentiality and transparency” stated Amelie Tarschys Ingre. The members of the Governance Committee also looked into draft reports on “Transparency and open Government”, “Conflicts of interests at local and regional levels” and “Protecting Whistleblowers” and it approved the draft report “A better future for Europe’s rural areas” which will be debated at the next Congress plenary session in October. On Friday, 5 May, the meeting of the Governance Committee was followed by the Conference “Successful territorial reform”, bringing together some 100 politicians, practitioners and academic experts.
Challenges of subnational reform at the center of Congress Conference in Eupen
The Congress organised a Conference “Successful territorial reform” on Friday 5 May 2017 in Eupen, Belgium. The event brought together some 100 participants – politicians, practitioners and academic experts – including the Finnish State Secretary at the Ministry of Local Government and Public Reforms, Jari Partanen, the Armenian First Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Development, Vache Terteryan, and Congress member Luc Martens, Vice-President of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, and President of the Association of Flemish Towns and Municipalities. The Conference followed up on the report on “Autonomy and borders in an evolving Europe”, adopted by the Congress in March 2016. The participants discussed the causes, methods and good practice of subnational reform in Council of Europe member States, in four round tables, moderated by Alexander Homann, Head of the representation of the German Community of Belgium in Brussels. On the eve of the Conference, on Thursday 4 May 2017, the Congress Governance Committee also met in Eupen, under the presidency of Jean-Louis Testud (France, EPP-CCE).
Practical Information sheet
Venue of the meeting: Kloster Heidberg Bahnhofstraße 4, 4700 Eupen, Belgique (www.klosterheidberg.be) | 9.00 am – 1.00 pm and 2.30 pm– 4.00 pm
Interpretation: Interpretation will be provided in english, french, german, and russian
Tel: +33 3 88 41 35 73
Chargée de communication
Tel: +33 3 88 41 22 92