12 May 2003
Regionalisation in Europe
Motion for a resolution
presented by Mr de Puig and others
This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it
1. The political developments in Europe over the last few decades have in most countries led to the creation of regional or intermediate levels of government. In some of these countries, the regions have acquired unquestionable importance and political weight, whereas in many central states regions keep the functions only of administrative units.
2. The Parliamentary Assembly has always been committed to promoting regional democracy and has advocated it in many adopted texts, such as Recommendations 1021 (1985) on increased regional representation in the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE), 1256 (1995) on regions within the Council of Europe and the establishment of the CLRAE, 1349 (1997) on the draft European charter of Regional Self-Government of the CLRAE, and 1409 (1999) on possible modifications to and updating of the Charter of the CLRAE.
3. The Assembly believes that, against the current background notably of globalisation and the transition from an industrial to a knowledge-based society, the trend towards regionalisation is an additional guarantee for democracy in Europe. In this perspective, it has constantly urged that the regions be provided with a proper forum of their own, which led to Statutory Resolution (94) 3 of the Committee of Ministers on the setting up of the bi-cameral Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) in 1994.
4. The Assembly is satisfied over the improvement in the CLRAE’s statutory position and activities, which have produced tangible results, such as the European Charter for Local Self-Government, the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation, The European Urban Charter, the European Landscape Convention, etc.
5. Primarily through its Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs, it has maintained productive relations with the Congress in these fields as well as in many others, e.g. co-operation in the Mediterranean and Black Sea Basins and regional planning, and supported certain CLRAE initiatives, notably the draft European Charter of regional self-government, the draft European Landscape Convention and the draft European Convention of mountain regions.
6. The Assembly especially welcomes the fact that the European Charter of local self-government has often been the reference text in the field of local democracy for the new democracies emerging from the geopolitical transformations of 1989. It appreciates the work carried out by the CLRAE in this field, such as the reports on the situation of local democracy in member states or candidates for accession.
7. This notwithstanding, the Assembly has, on several occasions, expressed the wish to see the regions having a stronger presence within the CLRAE, giving the two tiers of territorial authorities a more equitable weight in representation. It was, moreover, to this end that it stated in its Resolution 1188 (1999) a preference for a Chamber of Regions, where regions with legislative attributes would enjoy the status of full members, regions without legislative attributions an advisory capacity, and countries not having regions the position as observers.
8. In addition, the Assembly believes that the adoption of a binding "European Charter of Regional Self-Government" as a Council of Europe convention would give the regions of Europe an international legal guarantee of respect for their autonomy and serve as a reference for a further regionalisation process in the members states. Over the years it has expressed its support for the initiative to draw up such document. It therefore hopes that the work of the Steering Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR) on a possible legal instrument on regional self-government will be completed in the near future.
9. In the light of the above elements and convinced that the representative nature of the regions, their direct interest and the ability to mobilise citizens render the participation of the regions almost indispensable in future policy making, the Assembly calls upon the member states to:
i. give an active role and broader competences to the regions;
ii. speed up the process of adopting a legal instrument on regional autonomy.
De Puig, Spain, SOC
Ašikg÷z, Turkey, EDG
Agudo, Spain, SOC
Ateş, Turkey, SOC
Crema, Italy, SOC
Etherington, United Kingdom, SOC
Flynn, United Kingdom, SOC
Grissemann, Austria, NR
Meale, United Kingdom, SOC
Nessa, Italy, EPP/CD
O’Hara, United Kingdom, SOC
Sfyriou, Greece, SOC
Sudarenkov, Russia, SOC
Tiuri, Finland, EPP/CD
1 SOC: Socialist Group
EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party
EDG: European Democratic Group
LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group
UEL: Group of the Unified European Left
NR: not registered in a group