In an article in the first issue of the Local Finance Review of Tunisia’s High Authority of Local Finance (HIFL), Congress Secretary General Andreas Kiefer outlined the principles laid down by the European Charter of Local Self-Government.
“Local authorities need appropriate financial resources commensurate with the tasks and responsibilities required of them by law,” he wrote. Local authorities must also have financial autonomy so that they are “free to set their spending priorities with sufficient resources of their own”.
The Secretary General likewise emphasised the need to establish redistribution mechanisms to compensate for the unequal allocation of sources of finance and/or the financial burdens on local authorities, in the interests of territorial solidarity.
He further recalled that Article 9 of the Charter provides for the right of local authorities to be consulted, in due time and in an appropriate manner, on the way in which redistributed resources are allocated, allowing these authorities and their associations to state their needs and make proposals and thus exercise real influence on the decision-making process at central level.
The High Authority of Local Finance was set up in 2018 to tackle any issues relating to local finances with a view to supporting decentralisation and working to strengthen fairness and solidarity between local and regional authorities by ensuring that they have the resources necessary to perform their role. The Congress and the HIFL will continue their co-operation in 2021 with the aim of helping to consolidate local authorities’ financial autonomy in Tunisia.
This activity is part of the South-Med Partnership programme adopted by the Congress in 2017 which aims to support territorial reforms and strengthen decentralised governance in neighbouring participating countries. This programme contributes to implementing the local and regional dimension of the Council of Europe policy towards neighbouring regions, in particular the Neighbourhood Partnerships with Morocco and with Tunisia (2018-2021). The activities organised under this programme benefit from financial support from Liechtenstein, Norway and Spain.