Speaking at a seminar on the role of the High Authority of Local Finance in achieving the objectives of decentralisation, in Tunis on 16 October 2019, Vice-President Xavier Cadoret praised Tunisia's achievements in establishing a genuine local democracy in the country, including the adoption of the Local Government Code and the holding of the first municipal elections in 2018.
Addressing the issue of the exercise of local power, the Vice-President presented the work of the Congress, in particular the monitoring of the European Charter of Local Self-Government with regard to the financing of local authorities. He noted the current recentralizing trend in Europe, which can lead to a loss of responsibilities for smaller communities, and more generally to a negative impact on the competences and finances of communities.
The Vice-President of the Congress recalled that the Council of Europe is engaged in an ambitious co-operation programme with Tunisia to strengthen the political dialogue and is committed to holding regular exchanges, notably to support local democracy.
"Once democracy is firmly rooted at the local level, it is much harder to challenge the system. This requires the establishment of strong local authorities, with adequate means to best serve the needs of their citizens. This is why the success of the Tunisian decentralisation is so important, and you can count on the support of the Congress for this,” he concluded.
Moreover, in the context of cooperation with the Congress, Tunisia has submitted a request to be granted the status of "Partner for Local Democracy". It will be considered for adoption at the 37th session of the Congress, in Strasbourg, France (29-31 October 2019), in the presence of the Minister of Local Affairs and the Environment, Mokhtar Hammami and of the Mayor of Tunis, Souad Abderrahim, the first woman to hold this position. “Partner for Local Democracy” status offers the Council of Europe’s neighbouring countries an ideal platform for dialogue and institutional contacts with their European counterparts.