IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Fiscal decentralisation crucial to promote change and effective local democracy in Eastern Partnership Countries
On 14 May a conference on fiscal decentralisation in the Eastern Partnership countries provided a platform to debate the challenges and opportunities connected with fiscal decentralisation. Fiscal decentralisation represents a crucial element in the reform process in the EaP countries and is key to their effective local democracy. Therefore it was concluded, that further efforts should be made from the side of the European Union to support the EaP countries in their efforts for fiscal decentralization.
The conference was jointly organized by the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, the Conference of Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP), the Committee of the Regions (CoR), and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. During the conference local and regional representatives from the EU and the EaP countries gathered to discuss the topic of fiscal decentralisation.
Effective political decentralisation can only be successful if the transfer of powers to the regional and local level is accompanied by the corresponding financial devolution, stressed Mercedes Bresso, CoR First Vice-President, while opening the conference. She concluded: ‘The local and regional public finance reform should be considered as an urgent priority, a sine qua non condition in the process of decentralisation and strengthening of local and regional authorities in the EaP countries."
During the debate, it was highlighted that all six EaP countries except Belarus are part of the Council of Europe's charter of local self-government and, as such, have already made a number of commitments in this respect. EU and international partners should support the full implementation of the charter and its provisions regarding fiscal resources for local authorities. It was also suggested that such provisions and more specific goals on how to support fiscal decentralisation should be included in the future EaP roadmap. Specific proposals will be developed as a follow up to the conference.
The CSF particularly welcomes the fruitful cooperation with the Committee of Regions, CORLEAP and the Council of Europe, and looks forward to further develop this cooperation in the future.
Please find the agenda of the conference here.
The presentations given during the conference are available here.