The entry into force of the European Charter of Local Self-Government thirty years ago has profoundly transformed the democratic landscape in Europe and anchored local democracy throughout the continent. The Charter, opened for signature on 15 October 1985 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, entered into force on 1 September 1988. It has now been ratified by all 47 Council of Europe member States.
The Charter and the monitoring mechanism carried out by the Congress constitute a unique model in Europe. It remains the main binding international treaty guaranteeing the rights of communities and their elected representatives.
"Today, more than ever, we must ensure that the principles of the Charter are respected so that democracy becomes a reality as close as possible to the people.” said Congress President Gudrun Mosler-Törnström. "For thirty years we have been helping European governments to better organise local democracy and the considerable progress made encourages us to continue this political dialogue with the member States. The trends that have weakened the foundations of democracy in Europe for several years are forcing us to focus all our attention on the essential dimension of democracy that is local and regional democracy," she stressed.