The Congress invites Cyprus to assign adequate financial resources to local authorities !
Strasbourg, 20 October 2016 – Today the Congress of Local and Regional authorities of the Council of Europe adopted a report on the state of local democracy Cyprus following a monitoring visit to Nicosia, Kokkinotrimithia, Ayios Dhometios and Paphos in April 2016. It was the third monitoring report since the ratification of the European Charter of Local Self Government by the Republic of Cyprus in 1988.
This document, which was presented by the rapporteur Bernd Vöhringer (Germany, EPP/ECC), underlines the Cypriot government’s political commitment to citizens’ participation in local public affairs and welcomes the fact that in 2012 the Republic of Cyprus signed and ratified the additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self Government, which has to date been ratified by only 14 member states.
Nevertheless, in the adopted recommendation, the Congress expresses its concern with regard to the financial autonomy of local authorities, the weakness and imprecision of the legislative basis for the powers and responsibilities of local authorities and for the conditions under which they are exercised as well as the absence of constitutional safeguards for the principle of local self-government and the status of local authorities. “Only minimal responsibilities are conferred by the relevant law to local authorities and these authorities clearly lack genuine functions” said Mr Vöhringer. [Full Speech]
The Congress invites the Cypriot authorities to assign adequate financial resources to local authorities and to recognise the legislative status of local authorities and the principle of their autonomy and to regulate the legal status of local councillors so that they can fully exercise their responsibilities. It recommends that the tasks of local authorities be clearly defined in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity and that any form of central government supervision over local governments be limited.
The Congress also underlines the need for central government to review budgetary practices with regard to local authorities and in particular relinquish the power of central government to give prior consent to the budget of each local government.
Finally, the Congress calls on the local authorities to ensure the direct applicability of the European Charter of Local Self-government and in particular that the Charter be given due consideration in court proceedings. [Full Report]
The composition of the Cypriot national delegation was renewed at the 31st Session of the Congress. The new delegation, headed by Stavros Yerolatsites, is made up of three representatives and three substitutes.
The Republic of Cyprus became a member of the Council of Europe on 24 May 1961. It signed the European Charter of Local Self Government on 8 October 1986 and ratified it on 16 May 1988. It signed and ratified 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) on 22 September 2012.