Good local and regional governance can make a valuable contribution to democracy. It has to be said, however, that there are still too many countries where local and regional authorities operate and manage their affairs without adequate transparency, ineffectively and with insufficient regard for ethics. This is clearly a hindrance to the consolidation of local and regional democracy in Europe.
At the 3rd Council of Europe Summit, in Warsaw in 2005, the heads of state and government stated: “effective democracy and good governance at all levels are essential for preventing conflicts, promoting stability, facilitating economic and social progress, and hence for creating sustainable communities where people want to live and work, now and in the future”.
This point was incorporated in the Action Plan, which drew attention to the importance of good governance in a state governed by the rule of law.
At their 15th Session, in Valencia in October 2007, the European Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government also came out in favour of a Council of Europe strategy on innovation and good governance at local level.
Good governance has thus become the ultimate example of the importance afforded to the standards and values of democracy, and this is all the more important at local level as it is local authorities that are closest to citizens.
It therefore seems necessary to adopt a strategy on innovation and governance at local level. This would represent a new and very important stage in the development of democracy in Europe and bring Europe even closer to its citizens.
The Assembly invites the Committee of Ministers to continue supporting the Strategy on Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level.
The Parliamentary Assembly also recommends that the Committee of Ministers invite the governments of member states: