From 20 to 21 June the Council of Europe, Open
Society Foundations and CEMR will hold in
Strasbourg the conference taking stock of the
situation and showcasing innovative practices
for tackling economic recovery in Europe’s
municipalities and regions. It will provide an
important occasion for reviewing the guidelines
adopted in the Utrecht declaration and for
proposing more developed guidelines to be
considered for adoption at the 17th Session of
the Ministerial Conference in Kyiv in November
In 2009, European Ministers responsible for
local and regional government, at the 16th
session of the Council of Europe ministerial
conference (Utrecht, Netherlands), addressed the
impact of the financial/economic crisis on local
government and adopted a statement and a number
of policy guidelines in the final “Utrecht
They agreed that work on this
topic should be continued, notably by monitoring
the financial and economic developments for
local and regional governments and policy
responses adopted. A first review conference was
held in Strasbourg in October 2010.
The Impact of the Economic Downturn on Local
Government in Europe: what is happening? What can be done?
Update information on the impact of the
economic crisis on local government budgets.
Compare responses to the crisis involving inter-governmental
financial relations (e.g. changes in revenue and expenditure
assignments, transfers, taxing/charging rights).
Compare responses to the crisis by local government management
improving accountability and efficiency and involving innovative
methods of service provision (e.g. changes in staffing
practices, increased transparency, inter-municipal cooperation).
Compare the practice of individual local authorities as the hub
of their communities in addressing the economic and social
challenges they confront post-crisis. The central concern would
be their ability to harness business interests, universities,
civic society organisations etc in a strategic and mutually
reinforcing effort to restore economic fortunes and care for the
Examine the impact of fiscal austerity on local public services
and its consequences for social cohesion/human rights (drawing
on public perception surveys as well as questionnaire responses);
recommend priority for social expenditures targeted to the most
Assess the overall impact of current developments on compliance
with the Charter, ie. on the freedom of local governments to
conduct local affairs and manage public services in conformity
with the needs and preferences of local citizens.
Identify innovations and experience which would make useful
cases for description and presentation to the Ministerial
Conference at Kyiv in November.