Participation of foreign residents in local public life - CG (7) 5 Part II

Rapporteur: Helene LUND (Denmark)



I. Introduction

Although the Treaty of Maastricht (1992)1, Article 8, grants nationals of member states of the European Union voting rights at municipal and European elections, thus making "European citizenship" a reality, in a large number of member countries the nationals of third countries, including those who have been living in the European Union for many years, are refused the right to vote. This discrimination reveals that there is a difference of attitude and approach to foreign residents from one country to the next.

The Council of Europe Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Local Public Life, which takes a different approach to the question from the Treaty of Maastricht, is based on the principle of treating all foreign residents equally, irrespective of their country of origin. The Convention recommends the application of a series of measures designed to gradually strengthen the political rights of foreigners lawfully residing in the territory of a Council of Europe member state.

Contracting Parties may chose to implement one or more parts of the Convention, which proposes three categories of measures:

A. to grant foreign residents freedom of expression, assembly and association and the right to take part in consultations and referenda under the same conditions as national residents2;

B. to encourage the establishment of consultative bodies or make other institutional arrangements for the representation of foreign residents, particularly in dealings with local and/or regional authorities.

C. to grant the right to vote and stand for election in local (and/or regional) authority elections, subject to fulfilment of a number of residence requirements.

The Council of Europe Convention, which was opened for signature in November 1992, has unfortunately to date been ratified by only 4 of the 41 member states (Italy3, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden).

The main aim of the Conference "What participation by foreign residents in public life at local level?", held by the City of Strasbourg and the CLRAE on 5 and 6 November 1999, was to compare situations in the various European countries, the various experiences of towns which have set up foreign residents' consultative bodies and the situations in countries which have granted foreign residents the right to vote in local and/or regional elections.

The City of Strasbourg, one of the few towns in France to have set up a Foreign Residents' Consultative Council (1992), was extremely well qualified to help organise such a conference. 14% of the population of Strasbourg is made up of foreign residents.

The City of Strasbourg4, through the participation of its elected representatives and its Foreign Residents' Consultative Council, made a major contribution to the success of this event and deserves our warmest thanks.

The CLRAE Working Group on Culture, Education and the Media was responsible for organising this meeting, given that it was also a response to the proposals put forward by a number of members of the Congress for promoting multicultural policies in European towns (motion for a resolution on towns as "melting pots", adopted at the 5th Plenary Session of the CLRAE, doc. CG (5) 19).

The conference was a resounding success both in terms of the number of participants (some 400 participants from 24 European countries and 120 European towns) and the standard of the debates and contributions. The amount of media coverage received, particularly in France, also clearly illustrated its success and proved that the conference had addressed a very topical issue and shed considerable light on a subject currently being debated not only in France but also in Belgium, Spain and Italy.

The conference brought together local and regional representatives of member countries but also many representatives of associations, experts and researchers, representatives of other European organisations, staff members of local and regional authorities in European countries, eminent European figures and, last but not least, a large number of foreign residents from the 120 towns represented, who took an active part in the discussions.

The Strasbourg Appeal, adopted by all the participants at the end of a real debate and real negotiations, reflects the very essence of the aims of the conference and of this report (see Appendix 1).

II. The situation in member countries

In 5 of the 15 member countries of the European Union (Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden), voting rights are already granted to foreign residents irrespective of their country of origin.

There has been public debate on this subject in some EU member countries for many years now, but there are still substantial differences.

In Ireland foreign residents have had voting rights since 1963. In Sweden foreign residents have had the right to vote in municipal and regional elections since 1975.

Denmark and subsequently Finland followed Sweden's example in 1981.

The Netherlands decided to grant voting rights to foreign residents in 1985.

Whereas all of the above-mentioned countries grant foreign residents voting rights irrespective of their country of origin, Spain and Portugal only apply this policy on the basis of reciprocity.

Likewise, the United Kingdom allows Irish citizens and nationals of Commonwealth countries who reside on the territory to vote not only in local elections but in all categories of election.

Belgium, Germany, Italy5 and France are just beginning to discuss the issue. The Treaty of Maastricht therefore appears to be rather outdated compared to the way public opinion has matured in EU member countries. According to opinion polls, public opinion on this subject has already changed: in France 52% of the population are allegedly in favour of granting voting rights; in Italy the figure is 63%.

Outside the European Union but among the Council of Europe member states, the situation in Switzerland is particularly noteworthy, as only two cantons grant foreign residents the right to vote.

The canton of Neuchâtel was a pioneer as it granted the right to vote in municipal elections to all foreign residents as early as 1849 (whereas women were only granted voting rights in 1959). In the canton of Jura, foreign residents have been entitled to vote since 1979. Eleven other cantons have attempted to follow suit but the population has rejected their proposals.

Norway soon followed the other Nordic countries by granting all foreign residents the right to vote in municipal and regional (county) elections in 1982.

In all European countries where voting rights have been granted there are minimum residence requirements which vary from one country to the next: one year in Ireland, three years in most Nordic countries and even ten years in the Swiss canton of Jura (see appended table).

In the other Council of Europe member states, there are not yet, to the best of our knowledge, any special provisions in this field nor any genuine public debate on the subject.

Towns which have set up Foreign Residents' Consultative Councils (CCs)

In several countries where foreign residents do not have voting rights, some towns and regions have set up consultative councils.

These were first introduced at the end of the 1960s, for example in Belgium where municipal immigrants' consultative councils were set up in 1968. By the early 1970s there were over 20 of these councils in Belgium, over 600 in Germany and one in each municipality in Luxembourg.

Their composition is generally representative of each of the different communities living in a given municipality: the members are either foreign residents designated by the associations or federations they represent or by the municipality6, or they are foreign residents elected from among their peers or by the associations they represent (as in Turin, Italy).

Sometimes, foreign nationals elected by the foreign population to sit on these councils also sit alongside municipal or district councillors. These associate local elected representatives may give their opinion on all matters concerning the municipality. Experiments of this type have been carried out in France (seven towns took part in the experiment between 1970 and 1990), Italy (Turin) and Germany (Hesse), for example.

Consultative councils and other similar bodies are either composed solely of representatives of communities of foreign residents (the number of representatives is proportional to the size of each community) or they are joint committees (as is the case in the cantons of Geneva, Neuchâtel and the Jura and in the towns of Bern, Lausanne, Saint-Gall and Zurich, in Stuttgart, Luxembourg, Brussels (Region) and also in Göteborg where foreign residents already have the right to vote).

Most foreign residents' consultative bodies are to be found at local level (eg Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Liège, Aarhus, Barcelona and Turin) and less at regional level (eg in Lower Saxony, Germany, and in the Belgian communities).

Some governments have set up national bodies to promote integration: representatives of communities of foreign residents can put forward their proposals or demands, as is the case in the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway, despite the fact that these countries have already granted foreign residents the right to vote. This is also the case in Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland. In Germany there is also a federal body which has existed since the 1970s when the first experiments with consultative councils were just beginning. Its aim is to encourage municipalities to set up similar bodies.

The aim of the Council of Europe Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Local Public Life is to encourage the establishment of such bodies primarily at local level, so as to guarantee that there is dialogue between foreign residents living in a given municipality and the relevant local authority. It is true that similar bodies at higher levels can also help to change attitudes and make practical proposals to the different tiers of government within the limits of their own powers. They therefore supplement local bodies.

Consultative councils do not take any decisions but can bring matters which especially concern them before the municipal council. In general their powers are confined to matters concerning communities of foreign residents. In Strasbourg, for example, the CC has negotiated the construction of a major mosque and helped to resolve the conflict which arose from the prohibition of satellite dishes on tower blocks (whereas these aerials enable foreign residents to receive broadcasts from their country of origin). The Strasbourg CC also serves as an integration tool by promoting extracurricular studies and the employment and integration of women, fostering relations between young people and their parents and ensuring transparency in the allocation of low-cost housing.

The main advantage of consultative councils is therefore that they improve dialogue between the populations concerned and local decision-making bodies, help foreign residents to voice their opinions and therefore ease tension. Relations are built on mutual respect and therefore result in a more peaceful co-existence between foreign communities and the remainder of the population.

Moreover, towns in countries which have already granted voting rights to foreign residents very often re-establish consultative bodies whose main aim is to foster integration and dialogue, as well as increasing participation in local elections.

Experience shows that foreign residents on CCs do not take a competitive attitude when dealing with problems but, on the contrary, deal with matters which are of common interest to the various communities.

In some countries, the establishment of consultative councils may be subject to a minimum quota of foreign residents. In Luxembourg, for example, municipalities where over 20% of the population is composed of foreign residents must, in principle, set up consultative bodies. Unfortunately, not all municipalities in Luxembourg comply with this provision of the law of 13 December 1988.

Is the establishment of a CC a temporary measure prior to the granting of voting rights?

This question aroused considerable passion in the discussions at the Strasbourg conference. Opinions on whether it is necessary to maintain consultative councils at local level once local voting rights have been granted differ from one town and one group of foreign residents to the next. The question is whether consultative councils are an intermediate body set up by municipalities until parliament introduces voting rights for foreign residents or whether they continue to be of use once voting rights have been secured.

Although it is true that the right to vote in local elections is often one of the CCs' main demands, it is far from being their only demand or concern. Some people believe the right to vote is sufficient to make one's voice heard on local democratic bodies and that it gives foreign residents, and all other citizens, a full say in municipal policies. Others, on the contrary, feel that voting rights are only one stage on the road to participation in the democratic life of the community and that consultative councils continue to be important tools for organising the participation of a population group which has special needs.

For example, although all foreign residents in Denmark have voting rights, the law on the integration of foreigners in Danish municipalities stipulates that the latter must set up local integration councils when more than 50 people aged 18 and over so request.

As said above, in countries where voting rights have been granted for over ten years consultative councils have been re-established or maintained in several towns (for example in The Hague, Göteborg and Aarhus where the municipality is in the process of setting up an integration council).

Those who believe CC-type bodies should be maintained once voting rights have been granted also point out that participation in local elections has been found to drop steadily in subsequent years (for instance in Göteborg, only 35% of foreign residents make use of their voting rights and in Rotterdam the percentage is roughly the same).

The fact is that this drop in participation in elections concerns not only foreign residents but the population of the town as a whole. The reason for this is no doubt a growing mistrust of politics, which affects foreign residents and the remainder of the population in the same way. The question of the participation of foreign residents therefore raises the more general question of citizens' participation in the life of the community and the democratic functioning of towns, irrespective of residents' nationality.

The associations and participants at the Strasbourg conference were firmly convinced that the existence of consultative councils should not serve as a pretext for not reopening the public debate on voting rights in due course.

Undeniably, the establishment of consultative councils usually depends on the political will of local elected representatives, there is often no obligation to set up such bodies and their powers and the amount of influence they have remain limited despite all efforts. However, their establishment as institutionalised bodies, recognised as key talking partners, shows that local elected representatives are clearly willing to consult foreign residents on aspects of urban policy which directly concern them.

The issue discussed here inevitably ties in with the general question of the civic education of the entire population and education for citizenship. A fresh approach must be taken to this problem in the general context of improving democracy and they way it works.

The Strasbourg conference provided an initial opportunity to take stock of the wide range of types of consultative councils and their functioning but the exchange of views was fairly limited because time was short. The CLRAE can play a very specific role in helping municipalities that wish to set up such bodies or those which have already set up consultative bodies but wish to compare their experience with that of other towns. In order to do this, it must allow them to continue discussing this question and pooling experience at more focused meetings with a smaller number of participants.

There are networks of towns already involved in this type of work, for example the LIA (Local Action for Integration and Partnership) towns or Eurocities which are co-operation networks in the 15 member states of the European Union. However, such schemes and contacts need to become more widespread and involve not only towns of EU member countries but also other European countries.

Conditions for acquiring the nationality of the host country

The most common argument against granting foreign residents the right to vote in local elections is that if they wish to vote they can obtain the nationality of the host country.

This argument is based on equating the concepts of nationality and citizenship. However, the question of whether the two concepts are identical is now open to discussion as the concept of citizenship is increasingly seen as a multi-level one reflecting individuals' claims to belong to a number of non-mutually-exclusive groups, eg based on place of residence, membership of a minority group, membership of a religious group or of a specific culture.

For example, in the European Union, the residents of one member state may now feel that they are both citizens of their country of origin and citizens of another European country where they live, but also European citizens.

Now that the concept of European nationality is emerging for nationals of EU member countries, it seems contradictory not to give nationals from other countries the possibility of multiple citizenship.

Moreover, questions of choice of nationality aside, there are real difficulties in acquiring nationality. There is no real harmonisation in European countries in this field either, since they do not apply the same criteria and conditions for granting nationality (see table).

In some countries the road to nationality is long and strewn with obstacles despite the fact that foreign residents pay taxes and compulsory contributions, contribute to and participate in the wealth and development of the municipality where they live and take part in the social and cultural life of the community. Some of them have children who obtain nationality more easily and sometimes they do not wish to simply give up their original nationality, which is quite understandable.

Naturalisation laws vary greatly from one European country to the next and often entail more or less subjective criteria as it is necessary to show a willingness to integrate foreign residents. Nationality is therefore regarded as something that has to be earned but also amounts to a value judgement on whether the persons concerned conform to a "majority norm".

It is not the purpose of the Strasbourg conference and this report to go into this subject in depth, but it is nevertheless important to note these points so as to be able to refute the above-mentioned argument.

The Council of Europe’s Convention on Nationality, which was opened for signature in 1997, deals with these issues. It establishes a number of principles and rules concerning all aspects of nationality. It aims to make it easier for individuals to acquire nationality and recover their original nationality, to limit the possibility of losing one's nationality and to prevent its arbitrary withdrawal. It also deals with the multiple nationality. It sums up the new ideas which have emerged in both national and international law and takes account of demographic and democratic changes (especially the migration and state succession that have taken place in central and eastern Europe since 1989). It also lays down principles of non-discrimination on grounds of sex, religion, race, colour or national or ethnic origin in matters concerning nationality and stipulates respect for the rights of persons habitually resident in member states. The convention has been signed by 20 countries but to date has only been ratified by Austria, Moldova and Slovakia.

Towards residence-based citizenship

Over the last 25 years, the definition and substance of citizenship has been profoundly affected by the increasingly sedentary nature of immigration and by fact that the population groups concerned have been granted political rights.

For many years immigrant policies were based on the assumption that foreign residents would eventually return to their countries of origin. It is now obvious that this assumption is no longer valid since the vast majority of immigrants settle in the host country for good.7
It is therefore necessary, in response to these new challenges, to adjust existing policies and take an intelligent, generous and courageous approach to building 21st century Europe and democracy.

Such challenges are positive for the development of democracy and need not be a cause for fear. It would be dangerous to abandon part of the urban population and not grant them the right to equal dignity and access to the political life of the local community. Foreign residents are full members of the community and therefore resident citizens. Their integration and the social cohesion of our towns hinges on recognition of this fact and on taking a fresh approach to the problem. Residence-based citizenship is one step further towards de facto citizenship.

The concept of resident-citizens that we must promote throughout Europe and without any discrimination on grounds of origin means recognition of the fact that, although they do not have the nationality of the host country, foreign residents from third countries who live in a country on a more or less permanent basis and contribute to the cultural, economic and social life of the community are full citizens in the eyes of the local community and should therefore have the possibility of making their voices heard and influencing the decisions taken by local authorities. Recognising them as resident citizens of a town means granting them their legitimate rights in return for the duties they accept towards the society in which they live.

It is therefore the responsibility of politicians - and perhaps first and foremost of the local and regional elected representatives who are confronted with such problems every day - to improve the democratic functioning of our societies so as to adapt them to the true situation in our countries. National legislation must obviously also be changed to take account of the ever-increasing number of citizens who do not have the nationality of the host country.

The role of foreign residents’ associations

Foreign residents’ associations have a major part to play in this process and, indeed, in all matters concerning integration. They offer a way of channelling foreign residents’ views to the consultative councils. They play an essential role in promoting participation and the use of voting rights, where the latter exist. Their support is of prime importance in endorsing municipal policies in favour of foreign residents.

In Bologna, for example, the Consultative Forum of Associations brings together 43 foreign residents’ associations. Its objectives are to encourage solidarity and co-operation among foreign residents and between them and the Italian population, to combat all types of discrimination and intolerance and to promote integration and cultural diversity.

In Strasbourg, the municipality, with the backing of the associations, has drawn up a Foreign Residents’ Charter.

The city of Liège in Belgium has established a genuine partnership with the 200 associations which represent residents of 130 nationalities. It has also drawn up a Charter Against Racism. The city organises an annual competition for innovatory intercultural projects, such as the creation of teaching materials for combating racism or increasing literacy, a festival of urban cultures and the recruitment of hospital mediators.


The number of foreign nationals living in a country other than their own is rising steadily in almost all Council of Europe member states. Migration for reasons which are often economic or political is no longer new to Western Europe but it should not be forgotten that, as a result of the redrawing of borders after the fall of the Berlin Wall, similar problems have arisen in many central and east European countries. The population of Vilnius in Lithuania, for instance, is made up of 50% «native» Lithuanians, 20% Russians, 20% Poles, 5% Belarusians and 5% other nationalities.

Countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece, which were once countries of emigration, are now also beginning to receive immigrants with the arrival of seasonal workers and refugees from war-torn neighbouring countries.

In several European countries, some local councils have to manage situations in which up to 30% of the inhabitants of the municipality are foreign residents For example, 30% of the population of Leicester in the United Kingdom is of foreign origin and this number will probably rise to 40% by 2001; in Rotterdam 30% of the population are nationals of 140 different countries; 25% of the population of Stuttgart are foreign residents and 27% of the population of the Canton of Neuchâtel do not have Swiss nationality.

European towns are therefore inevitably becoming multicultural and multiethnic. Social cohesion and the peaceful co-existence of all residents depends on how these towns deal with the problem of the daily interaction of different cultures.

Any response must be based on respect for the values upheld by the Council of Europe and the principles set forth in the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular the universal nature of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Over the past 25 years and more, the CLRAE and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have, on several occasions, made recommendations on improving the recognition of rights for foreign residents, including political rights (see appendix). Genuine progress must now be made in this field.

In 1997 the European Parliament adopted a Resolution which “calls on Member States to adjust their legislation as soon as possible in order to extend the right to vote in local elections to non-Community immigrants who have legally lived on their territory for more than five years”. 8

The Council of Europe has drawn up a legal instrument, which proposes several types of measure for gradually granting foreign residents political rights, which will enable them to participate fully in local life and the local decision-making process. Unfortunately, the convention is not sufficiently well known. The member states of the Council of Europe should ratify it as soon as possible and use the panoply of measures it proposes.

The convention should also encourage local and regional authorities to introduce some of the measures it proposes with all due regard for national legislation.

It is important that local and regional authorities provide foreign residents with more information on their rights and duties and on the possibilities they have of setting up associations to represent them and making proposals to the municipal council. A further stage is to establish foreign residents’ consultative bodies pending the introduction of national legislation giving them the right to vote in local elections, irrespective of their country of origin.

Experience shows that the establishment of consultative bodies is a necessary but insufficient step on the road to full integration. Consultative councils are bodies which enable the municipal authorities to hear foreign residents’ points of view prior to taking decisions; they continue to play an equally important role once voting rights have been granted.

The decision to grant voting rights lies with the national authorities but attitudes are changing thanks to the work carried out by associations and local authorities.

On the other hand, although the granting of voting rights makes a major contribution to the integration of foreign residents, it does not solve all of the problems of integration. Local, regional and national authorities must also pursue firm and courageous policies on the employment, housing and education of foreign residents to ensure that all residents are treated equally as resident citizens.

The main impact of granting the right to vote is that it recognises foreign residents as full members of the community and therefore expresses a genuine willingness to integrate them. Moreover, it is significant that when foreign residents vote, they vote for majority parties and in a manner quite similar to nationals. They do not vote as a community.

In order to be truly integrated foreign residents must be able to participate in public life and in local decision-making. This democratic process is no doubt the best way to combat exclusion. All the experiments carried out by member states have shown that opening up to foreign residents does not in any way endanger democracy but, on the contrary, enriches it.

Participation in political life however, is not an isolated objective but must be part of a more comprehensive move towards integration and combating all types of exclusion. The challenge is therefore part of a more global aim: to establish lasting peace and tolerance in our societies.


6 November 1999

CONF/STBG (99) 16 revised 2

“What participation by foreign residents in public life at local level?”

Conference organised by the Advisory Council on Foreigners of the City of Strasbourg and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe of the Council of Europe
and held at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg,
on 5 and 6 November 1999


1. The participants at the Strasbourg Conference on 5 and 6 November 1999, meeting at the joint initiative of the City of Strasbourg and its Advisory Council on Foreigners and of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe thank the organisers for the opportunity to meet almost 400 participants from more than 20 of the Council of Europe’s member countries.

2. They launch an urgent appeal to the European institutions, the Council of Europe’s member states, their local authorities and political parties to allow foreign residents, without distinction of nationality, the right to vote and stand as candidates in local elections.

3. Granting the right to vote at local level to all foreign residents regardless of their origin is now an inescapable requirement based on the principles of the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Human Rights.

4. In this spirit the participants consider citizenship restricted to nationals of European Union member states alone to be discriminatory.

5. The participants underline the topicality and political relevance of the Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level, adopted by the member states of the Council of Europe on 5 November 1992 and so far signed by eight of them and ratified by only four: Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

6. They call on the Council of Europe member states that have not already done so to sign and ratify this text and to put it into practice.

7. They further note the richness and diversity of the forms of participatory democracy found in the municipalities and regions of Europe, such as consultative bodies of foreign residents, and call on states, regions and municipalities to develop initiatives of this kind and provide the administrative and financial resources needed for them to function.

8. They call on the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE), in partnership with local authorities, to deepen mutual understanding of these various forms of participation for the benefit of all inhabitants.

9. The participants reaffirm the indivisibility of the human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Council of Europe’s 1950 Convention.

10. They therefore urge the European institutions and the authorities at every level in the member states not only to grant residents-citizens the right to vote and stand as candidates in elections but also to develop policies guaranteeing to all residents equal opportunities at local level to act and participate as full citizens. This entails equal access to the law and its institutions, to the labour and housing markets, to education, culture and religion, to public health services, to social security and social services, and to all public services, and equal treatment in all these areas.

11. The participants are convinced that democracy, freedom and prosperity in Europe are only possible if all residents-citizens are committed to participating fully in the building of a democratic Europe for all.


- appart from European Union Directives -
Information from the Study realised by the ORIV (Regional Monitoring Centre for Integration)
and the City of Strasbourg – November 1999



Type of elections





national, régional, local

regional, local

immigrants from other Nordinc countries (Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden)

all foreign residents after 3 years in the country




regional, local

regional, local

immigrants from other Nordic countries

all foreign residents after 2 years in the country




After being resident and being registered on electoral roll for at least 1 year




regional, local

regional, local

immigrants from other Nordic countries

all foreign residents after more than 3 years in the country




all foreign residents after more than 5 years in the country



régional, local

all foreign residents after 3 years


· canton of Neuchâtel

· canton of Jura




cantonal, local

must have a full-time residence permit and have lived in the canton for at least a year (interruption between 1861 and 1874)

must have a ten year permit to reside in the canton





foreign residents coming from Portugal, Cape Verde, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and certain latin American countries


in the Constitution

depending on the country of origin

must be a citizen of a Portuguese speaking country and reciprocity

United Kingdom


national, régional, local

citizens of the Commonwealth or Ireland living in the United Kingdom


Information from the Study realised by the ORIV (Regional Monitoring Centre for Integration)
and the City of Strasbourg – November 1999





Date of estab.




Foreigners department



In Lower Saxony

    Association of Municipal Consultative Councils of Foreign Residents


Regional Council of Refugees


Association of Immigrants and Refugees




Foreigners’ Committee







Foreigners’ Council



Foreigners’ Committee





Centre for equal opportunities and combating racism

Royal Commission on Immigrants Policy




in Wallonia

Consultative Council for Populations of Foreign Origin / opinion


in Flanders

Integration Centres


Flemish Centre for Minorities


Joint Commission



Charleroi, Mons, Namur, Verviers

Regional Integration Centres


La Louvière

Foreigners’ Consultative Council



Standing Committee of Seraing Immigrants



Department and Deputy Mayor (Echevinat) for Intercultural Relations



Integration Council





Council of Ethnic Minorities opinion


Commission for Ethnic Equality




Integration Council





Project for Participatory Integration



Municipal Integration Council


Working Group on Refugees and Foreigners




No information

Committee for Integration



* experiences in 7 towns between 1970 and 1990 with associate foreign councellors



    Associate Council of Foreigners






Les Ulis









Extra-Municipal Commission for Immigrants


Associate Council of Foreigners



Municipal office for Migrants



Consultative Council



Consultative Council



Consultative Council



Delegation responsible for Intercultural Issues





Consultative Council



Consultative Forum of Associations





Association of Immigrant Workers’ Solidarity


National Immigration Council


Immigrant Liaison and Action Committee




Municipal Consultative Committees





Liaison Committee (KIM)




Study Committee





Forum (LOM)




Consulative councils


La Haye

Consulative councils








High Commissioner for Immigrants and Ethnic minorities




Municipal Council of Immigrants Communities and Ethnic Minorities / opinions


United Kingdom



Community relations councils




Community Relations Commission



Racial Equality Council



Race Relations Committee



Community Relations Council





National Council for Ethnic Equality and Integration (title in 1996)




Council of Immigrants



Consultative Council

2000 (?)




Federal Commission on Foreigners




Foreigners’ Consulative Committee





(Vaud canton)

Lausanne Immigrants Consultative Chamber



Consulative Commission



Concernant le statut des résidents étrangers
1975 – 1999
Concerning the status of foreign residents

Résolution 11 (1976) Comité des Ministres
«sur l’égalité de traitement entre travailleurs nationaux et travailleurs migrants en matière d’orientation, de formation, et de rééducation professionnelles»

Résolution 85 (1976) CPLRE
«relative aux mesures à prendre en faveur des travailleurs migrants en matière de logement, scolarisation des enfants, droits civiques et politiques»
«on the mesures to be taken to assist migrant workers concerning housing, schooling of their children and civil and political rights»

Résolution 91 (1977) CPLRE
«relative à la sécurité sociale des travailleurs migrants»
«on social security for migrant workers»

Résolution 93 (1977) CPLRE
«relative à l’extension des droits civiques et politiques des immigrants»
«on the extension of civil and political rights to immigrants»

Recommandation 799 (1977) Assemblée Parlementaire
«relative aux droits et au statut politiques des étrangers»
«on the political rights and position of aliens»

Résolution 41 (1978) Comité des Ministres
«concernant l’enseignement sur les droits de l’homme»
«on the teaching of human rights»

Recommandation 18 (1981) Comité des Ministres
«relative à la participation au niveau communal»
«concerning participation at municipal level»

Résolution 125 (1981) CPLRE
«sur le rôle et la responsabilité des collectivités locales et régionales face aux problèmes culturels et sociaux des populations d’origine nomade»

Déclaration 68e Session (14 mai 1981) Comité des Ministres
«sur l’intolérance – une menace pour la démocratie»
«on intolerance – a threat for democracy»

Résolution 134 (1982) CPLRE
«sur les progrès de l’intégration européenne»
«on the progress of european integration»

Résolution 176 (1986) CPLRE
«sur les progrès de l’intégration européenne»
«on the progress of european integration»

Résolution 183 (1987) CPLRE
«sur les étrangers dans les collectivités territoriales»
«on foreigners in regional and local communities»

Résolution 236 (1992) CPLRE
«sur une nouvelle politique d’intégration multiculturelle en Europe»
«on a new municipal policy for multicultural integration in Europe and the Frankfurt Declaration»

Déclaration de Francfort/Résolution 236 (1992) CPLRE
«pour une nouvelle politique communale d’intégration multiculturelle en Europe»
«Towards a new municipal policy for multicultural integration in Europe»

Résolution 243 (1993) CPLRE
«sur citoyenneté et grande pauvreté»
«citizen and extreme poverty»

Déclaration de Charleroi/Résolution 243 (1993) CPLRE
«exclure la pauvreté par la citoyenneté»
«The exclusion of poverty through citizenship»

1 European Directive (CEE) 94/80 lays down "detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in municipal elections by citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals". European citizenship gives European citizens the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections in the member State in which they live, under the same conditions as nationals of that state.

2 Article 16 of the European Convention on Human Rights stipulates that "Nothing in Articles 10, 11 and 14 shall be regarded as preventing the High Contracting Parties from imposing restrictions on the political activity of aliens". Articles 10, 11 and 14 concern freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association and prohibition of discrimination respectively. The Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Local Public Life therefore supplements and is perfectly consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.

3 Italy has only ratified the first two parts of the Convention and consequently does not grant foreign residents the right to vote in local elections.

4 With the support of the Fonds d'Action Scoiale(FAS)(Social Action Fund) and the Lower Rhine Prefecture.

5 The project to modify article 38 of Law N° 40 of 6 March 1998 concerning the extending of the right to vote in municipal elections to immigrants in possession of a permanent immigrants' card, obtained after 5 years of legal residence, has been abandoned following the negative opinion expressed by the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the House of Deputies. A constitutional project on reform is currently being examined (CDMG(99)28 Representation and Right to Vote by Giovanna Zincone).

6 For instance the Grenoble CC (France), set up on 18 October 1999, is composed of members appointed by the Municipal Council on a proposal by the Mayor; candidates may be proposed by the associations but members sit on the CC in their own name.

7 According to statistics provided by the United Nations, the retirement of baby-boomers will necessitate 160 million active immigrants entering the European Union before 2025.

8 Resolution on respect for human rights in the European Union (1997) A4- 0468/98 9 The municipalities are obliged to set up local integration councils if at least 50 persons of foreign origin so request.

10 If the number of foreigners exceeds 20 % of the municipal population, the municipal council is obliged, under Articles 176 et 7 b of the Law of 13/12/1988, to set up a consultative committee.

11 Rotterdam: first city in the Netherlands to grant the right to vote to foreign residents.

12 Eighteen towns (including Bern, Saint-Gall, Lausanne and Zurich) have foreigners’ consulative committees.