« The Charter of Local Self-Government, which is ratified today by all the 47 member States of the Council of Europe, has the binding force of a treaty and is a key European convention and a major reference tool for local democracy,” underlined Leendert VERBEEK (Netherlands, SOC), Chair of the Congress Monitoring Committee, adressing the participants to the Parliamentary Colloquy held in Rabat, on 28 November 2017.
M. VERBEEK presented the key principles of the Charter which “enshrines self-government as a right of local representatives – their right to manage a substantial share of public affairs on their own”. He also highlighted the importance of citizen participation at local level detailed in the Additional protocol to the Charter, as well as the Council of Europe Framework for Regional Democracy which sets out the principles of establishing regional structures, their functioning and their relations with central authorities.
“The Charter has inspired similar instruments beyond Europe – such as the decentralisation guidelines worldwide, adopted by the United Nations Habitat. And of course the African Charter on the Principles and Values of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development, adopted in June 2014 by the African Union,” he explained.
“In this regard, I would like to congratulate you on the re-integration of Morocco to the African Union in January this year. While your country, as a non-European State, cannot become party to the European Charter of Local Self-Government, the implementation of the African Charter is now within your reach, and the European Charter can always remain a source of inspiration,” stated the Chair of the Monitoring Committee.
The Rabat parliamentary colloquy is part of the Congress’s programme of co-operation with Morocco aimed at supporting and strengthening the country’s current local and regional governance reforms.
It brought together members of the Chamber of Representatives and the Chamber of Councillors of the Parliament of Morocco, members of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, representatives of the government, Moroccan associations of local and regional elected representatives and Moroccan and European experts.