Local democracy in Estonia [30/03/2017]
The Congress adopted a recommendation on local democracy in Estonia on 29 March 2017, following a monitoring visit to the cities of Tallinn, Paide and Jőhvi by the rapporteurs, Henrik Hammar, (Sweden, EPP/CCE) and Leendert Verbeek, (Netherlands, SOC) from 6 to 8 September 2016.
The rapporteurs welcomed the initiatives of the Estonian institutions to start a territorial reform process on local and state level and revision of the revision of the State Budget Law that strengthens the interaction between the state and local authorities on budgetary items.
'We are optimistic about the perspectives of the continuation of the reform projects that may improve the situation of both local authorities and the citizens of Estonia,' Mr Hammar stated.
The Congress nevertheless recommends that the Estonian authorities clarify their legislation concerning the distribution of functions between local government and State and that they change the domestic legislation in order to give local authorities more financial autonomy
'We suggest transferring a maximum of competences to the local level with concomitant financial resources and we recommend that the Estonian authorities increase the local share in state taxes,' added Mr Verbeek.
“As county governments will cease to exist on first of January 2018, we will give all local tasks fulfilled now by current counties to local governments.' explained Mihhail Korb, Minister of public administration of Estonia, addressing the Session. 'New tasks come with sufficient funding. This is an important, key principle in our constitution and in Charter,' he added.
Local democracy in Malta [30/03/2017]
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. Local governance in Malta faces numerous challenges, however, in terms of non-compliance with the provisions of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, said 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 with regard to local democracy in Malta is exacerbated by the lack of meaningful consultation between central government and local authorities, explained Stewart Dickson.
Local Democracy in Iceland [30/03/2017]
The Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress adopted a recommendation, on 29 March 2017, on the state of local democracy in Iceland following a monitoring visit in June 2016. This is second monitoring report since the ratification of the European Charter of Local Self Government in 1991. This document, which was presented by the corapporteurs Mr. Jakob Wienen (Netherlands, EPP/CCE) et Mr. Zdenek Broz (Czech Republic, ECR), underlines the generally satisfactory level of local democracy in the country. The report praises recent developments fostering local self-government, including the promotion of the involvement of local authorities in national decision-making as well as increased inter-municipal co-operation and citizen participation in local authorities. “Iceland could be shared as an example of good practice among the members-states of the Council of Europe” stated Zdenek Broz. Nevertheless, the report draws attention to possible enhancements, in particular the clarification of the division of responsibilities between central government and local authorities and a direct applicability of the Charter in the domestic legal system.
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