Draft additional protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority
- Parliamentary Assembly
- Assembly debate on 26 June 2009
(26th Sitting) (see Doc.
11950, report of the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture
and Local and Regional Affairs, rapporteur: Mr Dorić). Text adopted by the Assembly on
26 June 2009 (26th Sitting).
1. The Parliamentary
Assembly has always underlined the importance of democratic participation
at local level and is pleased that it is being given practical effect
in a pan-European legal instrument.
In this connection, the Assembly refers to Resolution 1121 (1997)
on instruments of citizen participation in representative
democracy, in which it underlined the importance of striking a balance
between the exercise of responsibility of political power and direct
citizen participation in the decision-making process.
3. The Assembly also refers to the Strategy for Innovation and
Good Governance at Local Level, adopted in 2007 by the Conference
of European Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government
in Valencia, Spain, and by the Committee of Ministers in March 2008,
as well as to the platform tasked with implementing it, in which
the Assembly plays an active part.
4. The Assembly points out that active and responsible citizen
engagement is a decisive principle for ensuring the legitimacy and
proper functioning of democratic systems, as it enables citizens
to exercise directly their right to take part in the management
of public affairs. In its view, every citizen should play an active
part in public life.
5. The Assembly also believes that the process of decentralisation
seen in recent years means that it is vital for citizens to be able
to be more closely involved in the activities of local authorities.
6. Given the clear public disinterest in local affairs that is
now apparent, the Assembly hopes that this new instrument will help
to strengthen and expand public participation in local life by giving
citizens a real sense of belonging to the community.
7. The Assembly underlines the need to ensure equitable representation
and participation of women and men for the purpose of contributing
to the development of democratic values in Council of Europe member states.
8. The Assembly stresses the importance of local authorities
listening to the wishes of citizens so that they are able to improve
their policies and the services provided, and in this context, supports
European Local Democracy Week.
9. The Assembly also notes that the draft protocol in no way
conflicts with the provisions of the European Charter of Local Self-Government
(ETS No. 122), as it does not concern local authorities’ degree
of self-government in any way.
10. The Assembly does, however, regret the fact that the provisions
concerning the implementation of the right to participate and the
possibilities offered to citizens are not more explicit.
11. The Assembly therefore supports the draft additional protocol
to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to
participate in the affairs of a local authority.