A report by the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities notes with satisfaction that local and regional self-governments in Sweden manage the highest shares of public affairs in Europe and have a high degree of financial autonomy. It also welcomes the comparatively high percentage of women in elected positions and a high level of citizens’ trust to democratic institutions.
However, the Congress expresses concerns that in some cases, new obligations are imposed by the state on municipalities and regions without granting sufficient space for discretion. There is also a lack of systematic formal consultation procedures on all matters that concern subnational authorities, that would be in line with the requirements of the Charter and relevant Congress resolutions and recommendations.
The rapporteurs Harald Bergmann, Netherlands (ILDG) and Matija Kovac, Serbia (EPP/CCE) pointed out that there is a shift in the division of roles between state governance and local/regional self-government, at the cost of the latter, due to new rules and guidelines, methods and instruments of governance launched by the state. They also noted the non-Indexation of grants in times of rising inflation, climate and societal change.
The Congress calls on the Swedish authorities to grant local and regional authorities more freedom of action, whenever new obligations are imposed on them and establish formal consultation procedures on all matters of concern to subnational authorities in line with the Charter. The authorities should also refrain from by-passing the local authorities through the implementation of new methods and instruments of governance and policy arrangements and find, instead, ways for their inclusion. The rapporteurs also call for the introduction of an elaborated system of indexation for state grants, following appropriate consultation procedures.
The Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments conducted a monitoring visit to examine the implementation of the European Charter of Local Self-Government in Sweden on 5-7 April 2022. During the visit, the Congress delegation met the representatives of various institutions at all levels of government.
Speech by Harald Bergmann, Co-rapporteur
Speech by Matija Kovac, Co-rapporteur
Mediabox interview with Matija Kovac
Agenda – Web file – Multimedia (Live webcasts, interviews, videos and photo)