Monitoring Committee examines the situation of local and regional democracy in Austria

Monitoring Committee Strasbourg, France 17 September 2020
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Monitoring Committee examines the situation of local and regional democracy in Austria

The Congress Monitoring Committee adopted, on 17 September 2020, a report on the monitoring of the application of the European Charter of Local Self-Government in Austria, following a monitoring visit carried out in December 2019 by the co-rapporteurs Marc Cools, (Belgium, ILDG) and Andrew Dismore (United Kingdom, SOC/G/PD). “We noted with satisfaction the legal recognition and substantial application of the principles of local self-government in Austria. Since 2011, this country has carried out a number of reforms aimed at clarifying the division of tasks and responsibilities between the Federation, the Länder and the municipalities," said co-rapporteur Andrew Dismore. Austria has also responded to a recommendation of the Congress from 2011 by establishing administrative courts of the Länder.

However, the fiscal autonomy of municipalities and Länder remains too limited. This is a recurring problem for Austria which had already been identified by the 2011 Congress. "Local and regional authorities have almost no freedom of action with regard to local taxes and are too dependent on intergovernmental transfers," stressed co-rapporteur Marc Cools.

Moreover, criminal legislation on breach of trust (Untreue) continues to impose disproportionate personal liability on mayors. The draft recommendation encourages the Austrian federal authorities to revise this legislation in order to guarantee local elected representatives the free exercise of their mandate in accordance with Article 7 of the Charter.

The Austrian authorities are also invited to sign and ratify the Additional Protocol to the Charter on the right to participate in the affairs of local authorities.

The draft recommendation will be submitted to the members of the Congress for adoption on the occasion of the Statutory Forum which will take place on 28 September 2020.

The previous monitoring report on Austria was adopted in 2011.

Austria ratified the European Charter of Local Self-Government in 1987. Countries which have ratified the Charter are bound by its provisions. The Charter requires compliance with a minimum number of rights, which form the European bedrock of local self-government. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities ensures that these principles are observed.

Agenda and documents:
COE CLOUD | ZIP format

Stéphanie Poirel, tel. + 33 3 88 41 28 24

See also:

Monitoring Committee meeting - 17 September 2020