How have local and regional authorities been affected by the economic crisis? Which reforms have been made concerning the practices of these governments? What is the role of the local and regional level within the inner workings of states? These are the main issues addressed in CEMR’s new study, entitled Decentralisation at a crossroads: territorial reforms in Europe in times of crisis.
The purpose of this publication is to provide a picture as complete as possible of the reforms that have been put in place since the beginning of the crisis. The study also aims to present an overview of the consequences of the crisis on local and regional autonomy in Europe. An opening analysis offers explanations as well as conclusions regarding decentralisation reforms. The study also includes country sheets that provide specific information on the situation and reforms in 41 countries.
The study concludes that although the crisis has not remodelled the overall architecture of local and regional authorities in Europe, it has had a major impact on Europe’s approach to the organisation of services and the question of financial independence. The reforms currently in place take into account the desire for greater decentralisation, although certain governmental actions run counter to this principle and to that of subsidiarity*.
The publication was presented at the conference '1953–1988–2013: Decentralisation at a crossroads' in Strasbourg on 26 November 2013. The event was organised by CEMR together with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. It aimed to review the progress achieved over the last 60 years with respect to local democracy and self-government. It was also an opportunity to mark the 60th anniversary of the adoption by the CEMR of the European Charter of Municipal Liberties (1953) and the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the European Charter of Local Self-Government of the Council of Europe (1988).
*The principle of subsidiarity aims at determining the level of intervention that is most relevant in the areas of competences shared between the EU and the Member States. This may concern action at European, national or local levels. It guarantees that action is taken at local level where it proves to be necessary.