Strasbourg, 20 March 2013 - A report and a recommendation on the situation of local and regional democracy in Italy were debated in the framework of the 24th Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. The Rapporteurs, Knud ANDERSEN (Denmark, R, ILDG) and Marina BESPALOVA (Russian Federation, L, EPP/CCE) welcomed the fact that the principle of local self-government is enshrined in the Italian Constitution, along with a new chapter on Regions, Provinces and Municipalities. “The adoption of a law on the funding of local authorities, providing for the allocation of a portion of national taxes to local authorities, is also considered as a positive development, stated Marina Bespalova;”
However the Rapporteurs noted serious issues as regards to the competences, the independence and finances of local authorities in general and encouraged the Italian authorities to complete the reform project launched over a decade ago.
“National authorities should guarantee the maintenance of a substantial share of public functions for local and regional authorities, which should be full and exclusive, as it is prescribed by the Charter” explained in particular Knud Andersen. Among the recommendation are also for the Italian authorities to ensure the democratic value of direct elections, to review the scale and effect of shifting responsibilities from municipalities to consortia; and to ensure the sensitive application of austerity measures, especially concerning arbitrary staff cuts and inadequate funding of local and regional authorities.
Lastly, the rapporteurs encourage the Italian authorities to sign and ratify the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority (CETS No. 207) in the near future.
The Congress has two chambers, the Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions.