Since its creation, the Council of Europe has striven to give civil society and citizen participation prominence in the functioning of democratic societies. Its activities are founded on the conviction that there can be no truly democratic society without the citizens’ active, responsible participation, without strong, effective, accountable local authorities, and without high-quality local governance.
These principles inform not only the member states’ co-operation – within the European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy – but also the action which the Council of Europe carries out in support of territorial reforms in the member states and capacity-building for local authorities and their associations.
The Council of Europe was behind the European Charter of Local Self-Government (1985) which sets forth the principles of local self-government and specifies the guarantees enjoyed by local authorities in Europe. This treaty is supplemented by an additional protocol (2009) on access to information and participation in the affairs of a local authority. To back up these legal obligations, the Council of Europe adopted (2008) the Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level setting out 12 principles intended to guide the functioning of local authorities and their relations with the citizens.
The current work of the European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR) concerns citizens’ participation and ways to enhance it, relations between the tiers of government, the ability of local authorities to deliver the public services for which they are responsible, and transfrontier co-operation between local authorities.
At the 17th session of their conference, the Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government of the Council of Europe member states (Kyiv, 3-4 November 2011) adopted guidelines for their policy action in the current crisis, in compliance with the provisions of the Charter of Local Self-Government, and made a number of recommendations to the Committee of Ministers for the furtherance of intergovernmental co-operation within the Council of Europe.
The Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform is happy to present its video on the 12 principles of good governance at local level. The 12 principles form one of the three pillars of "The Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level", launched during the Ministerial Conference in Valencia, Spain, by European Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government.
In Council of Europe member States having subscribed to the Strategy, European local authorities who fully comply with the 12 principles can be awarded the European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) -- represented by a 12-sided polyhedron - the dodecahedron. Currently Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, Ukraine are working on the Strategy. The video exists in English, French, German, Italian and Ukrainian.
The Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level is a practical instrument for improving governance at local level and the quality of local life as a result.
“The Strategy’s” 12 principles encapsulate the fundamental values of European democracy and form the complete spectrum of requirements for good democratic governance. By reference to them, local authorities from all 47 Council of Europe member States can improve their governance on a continual
basis. Working in parallel, their central government creates and maintains the institutional conditions for improving local authority governance, building on existing commitments under the European Charter of Local Self-Government and other Council of Europe standards.
The new European Label for Innovation and Good Governance is awarded to local authorities having achieved a high overall level of governance under “The Strategy’s” 12 principles.
This video gives a brief overview of the Council of Europe activities in local and regional democracy for Europe, such as capacity-building, local government reform and its important role in networking governments and local authorities with a view to delivering good governance at local and regional levels.
The European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) is a part of the Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level. The Label has been conceived as a learning tool and should help local authorities to:
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe is a pan-European political assembly, the 636 members of which hold elective office (they may be regional or municipal councillors, mayors or presidents of regional authorities) representing over 200,000 authorities in 47 European states.