"The right of local authorities to be consulted by other levels of government is a key principle of the European Charter of Local Self-Government," stated Congress Secretary General Andreas KIEFER, at the workshop on "Consultation mechanisms between local and national authorities" in Yerevan, Armenia, on 12 September 2018.
The Secretary General detailed the fundamental articles of the Charter in this regard and stressed the need for consultation to be conducted both "in due time" and "in an appropriate manner" for all decision-making that directly concerns local authorities (Article 4.6), and in particular with regard to changing the boundaries of local authorities (Article 5) and their financial resources (Article 9).
"To ensure the implementation of these principles, it is preferable that they be anchored in both law and practice," stressed Andreas Kiefer, mentioning the Congress' recommendations in this regard and emphasizing the essential role of national associations. "Consultation must be carried out not only by governments but also by parliaments," he said, referring to a draft report of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which also highlights the need for consultation in order to improve the quality and effectiveness of policies and legislation.
"Yet, the absence of such consultations or shortcomings in the way they are conducted remains one of the most frequently identified recurring issues by the Congress in its monitoring of the implementation of the Charter," he underlined.
In response to this situation, the Congress adopted in 2012 a recommendation on the right of local authorities to be consulted, and in 2014 a Strategy on the right of local authorities to be consulted by other levels of government. New "Guidelines on the consultation of local authorities" will be presented for adoption at the next session of the Congress in November 2019.
With regard to the specific situation of local democracy in Armenia, the Secretary General mentioned the Congress' recommendation, adopted in 2014, and the roadmap signed in 2016 with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development.
"These texts specifically call for the establishment of a formal consultation mechanism in Armenian domestic law, so that local authorities and national associations of local authorities are duly consulted" concluded the Secretary General, hoping that the workshop held in Yerevan would contribute to the establishment of such a mechanism in Armenia.