22nd Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

Monitoring of local democracy in Lithuania

Strasbourg, 22 March 2012. – Allocation of sufficient resources to local authorities, entrenchment of the principle of subsidiarity in the law on self-government and encouragement of citizens to participate in local affairs are major recommendations suggested to the Lithuanian authorities by the Congress’s second monitoring report on the situation of local democracy in this country. The report - which was adopted at the 22nd Congress Session - praises, in particular, the guarantees given in the constitution to the right to self-government for local authorities and progress made in consultation procedures between associations of local government and the national level.

During the debate in the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress special attention was given to the situation of minorities in Lithuania and to their participation in local political life, in particular with regard to the Russian and Polish minority population. Comments on this situation were added to the appendix to the report and it was agreed that the Congress will look into this issue of the participation of national minorities in local political life in Europe at the Monitoring Committee meeting in the framework of the 23rd Session in October 2012.

“It is not in our mandate to make recommendations on human rights issues in Congress monitoring reports which are strictly limited to provisions covered by the Charter of Local Self-Government. But we are very well aware of minority problems in Council of Europe member states and will therefore follow it up in autumn, of course with specific regard to the situation at local level,” concluded Gudrun Mosler-Törnström (Austria, SOC), together with Irene Loizidou (Cyprus, EPP/CD) Co-Rapporteurs for Lithuania.