“Associations of local and regional authorities are essential to make the voice of local authorities heard in any decentralised system, and this is especially true for countries in transition engaged in decentralisation reforms such as Tunisia,” stated Constance de Pelichy (France, EPP/CCE), Congress spokesperson on the South-Med Partnership, on 19 May 2020. The right of local and regional authorities to associate and co-operate in the exercise of their competences is a fundamental principle recognised by Article 10 of the European Charter of Local Self-Government.
Mrs. de Pelichy welcomed the signature of a grant agreement with the National Federation of Tunisian Towns (FNVT), which is part of a long-standing co-operation with the Congress. This activity aims to support the association in strengthening the capacities of its Secretariat, particularly in terms of advocacy, communication and relations with its members.
A strengthened association will be all the more legitimate and able to offer adequate support to local elected representatives and to represent their interests in discussions and consultation with other levels of governance.
This role is even more important in the management of crisis situations and their consequences, such as the COVID-19 crisis where the importance of communities and their representative structures is fundamental.
Involved in an internal reform process, the FNVT is the association representative of the 350 Tunisian municipalities.
This activity is part of the South-Med Partnership programme adopted by the Congress in 2017, the purpose of which is to support territorial reforms and strengthen decentralised governance in beneficiary neighbouring 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 in this framework benefit from financial support by Liechtenstein, Norway and Spain.