The Congress Monitoring Committee examined, in Metz, France, on 11 February 2020, a draft report following a complaint addressed to the Congress by the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Authorities and a fact-finding mission carried out in December 2019 by co-rapporteurs Xavier Cadoret (France, SOC/V/DP) and Marc Cools (Belgium, ILDG). The complaint concerns the way in which a wide territorial reform is being prepared and implemented in Latvia, in particular the Government's tendency towards centralisation, the lack of sufficient consultation and the reduction of local authorities' budgetary autonomy.
"The Latvian association alerted us about the Government's intention to amend the legislation on local government, which had been declared on several occasions, including by the Congress, to be in conformity with the European Charter of Local Self-Government," explained Xavier Cadoret, "In addition, a few days after our mission, we were informed about the dissolution of the Riga City Council by the Minister of Environmental Protection, a decision that we consider worrying," he added.
"In the draft recommendation, we call for the revision of the legal framework governing the suspension of a local elected official in order to reduce the Minister's discretionary power," said Marc Cools. "We also call on the Latvian authorities to increase the budgetary autonomy of local authorities, to strengthen their responsibility in financial management and to put in place effective consultation and dialogue prior to the adoption of the reform," he concluded.
In the draft resolution, the co-rapporteurs call on the Congress to continue monitoring the issue of Latvian territorial reform in the framework of an in-depth political dialogue with the national authorities.
The draft recommendation and resolution will be submitted for adoption at the 38th Session of the Congress in Strasbourg, France (17-19 March 2020).
Stéphanie Poirel, tel. +33 3 90 21 51 84