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30/3/2013
© http://www.brancolini.com//Roberto Brancolini

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe: presentation of the report on local and regional democracy in Italy

In the framework of the 24th session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, that took place in Strasburg from 19 to 21 March, the rapporteurs Knud Andersen and Marina Bespalova presented the final report on local and regional democracy in Italy. The report, that is the result of two monitoring visits carried out in November 2011 and December 2012, aims at evaluating the state of the Italian territorial democracy, referring to the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government.

The report welcomes the fact that the principle of local self-government is enshrined in the Italian Constitution, along with a new chapter (Title V) on Regions, Provinces and Municipalities, included in 2001, and the adoption of the Law on Fiscal Federalism in 2009. The rapporteurs express regret about the arbitrary staff cuts, the inadequate funding of local and regional authorities and the fact that the principle of direct elections at provincial level is not fully respected. Moreover, the Italian authorities are encouraged 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 in the near future.

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) in one of the 47 States Parties. Its role is to promote local and regional democracy, strengthen authorities' self-government and encourage the devolution and regionalisation processes, as well as transfrontier co-operation between cities and regions.