The second cycle of the European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) in France concluded with an award ceremony held at the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg. The event was organised by the National Centre for Territorial Public Administration (CNFPT), the accredited entity to implement ELoGE in France, and was followed by a roundtable at the National institute for local studies (INET).
Five French local authorities were successfully awarded the Label for their compliance with the 12 Principles of Good Democratic Governance at local level. The potential for lessons learned and the sharing of good practice from this cycle is significant. For the first time, the European Good Governance Benchmark was adapted to enable inter-municipal cooperation arrangements (intercommunalités) to measure their performance against principles of good democratic governance. Two very rural Communautes des Communes embraced this opportunity. The Eurometropole de Strasbourg also expanded the ELoGE process to include the greater metropolitan area. For the very first time, a municipality from Overseas Department and Territories (DOM TOM) was awarded the Label.
The ceremony was opened by Paul Rowsell, President of the European Committee on Democracy and Governance (CDDG) and Chairman of the European ELoGE Accreditation Platform. “Good democratic Governance is critical to ensure human rights, democracy and rule of law”. To that end, the CDDG is finalizing a draft Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers on the principles of Good Democratic Governance at all levels (national, regional, local).
Claudia Luciani, Director of Human Dignity, Equality and Governance of the Council of Europe, stressed that, over the last decade, the development and implementation of the 12 Principles of Good Governance have demonstrated their usefulness and pertinence. ELoGE is currently being implemented in some 20 Council of Europe member States and about 100 municipalities were awarded the label in 2022. As highlighted by Mehaddi Belkacem, Deputy Director of CNFPT, “implementing ELoGE promotes the dissemination to local authorities of innovative good governance practices inspired by European experiences at local level and contributes to increase the visibility of local public action to citizens so they feel fully involved in local public affairs”.
Recognising the importance and interconnectedness of each of the 12 Principles of Good Democratic Governance, representatives of the municipalities note the importance of innovation, transparency, human rights, social cohesion, and civil participation. Stressing the importance of sustainable development, one representative quoted Antoine de St. Exupery “We do not inherit the earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children.”
During the roundtable at INET, the awarded local authorities emphasised that it is their moral duty to make the quality of their governance durable and that vigilance and renewed efforts are necessary in the current challenging context. They all agreed that the Label is not only a recognition but also a journey of growth and the beginning of a new chapter. “The Label forces us to pay closer attention to citizens - ELoGE is our guide in the service of our public”.
 Ville de Sceaux, Eurométropole de Strasbourg, Haute Corrèze Communauté, Communauté de Communes des Lisières de l’Oise, Ville de Morne-à-l’Eau