The Council of Europe commends Finland on the state of local and regional democracy

Ministry of Finance 29.3.2017 14.37 | Published in English on 30.3.2017 at 8.28
Press release
The Council of Europe commends Finland on the state of local and regional democracy

Local and regional democracy is firmly established in Finland, and the country is committed to de-veloping it further. This is the conclusion drawn in the report of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe regarding the state of Finnish local and regional democracy and areas where improvements are called for. The evaluation report was adopted by the Congress at its session on 28 March.

The report presents a number of proposals for developing local and regional democracy in Finland. Special attention is drawn to the county administration that is currently being established. According to the report, it is important to ensure that the counties will have access to diverse and extensive resources under their own control. The right to tax is perceived as a key element of self-determination. Additionally, there are concerns about the new tasks and obligations being imposed on local authorities.

Efforts have been made in Finland to reinforce local and direct democracy, for example by passing a new Local Government Act. Other actions welcomed in the report include the measures to balance local government finances. Moreover, the arrangements made for collaboration and consultations between central and local government were found effective and worthy of emulation by the other member countries of the Council of Europe. The issue aroused interest in the public debate in the course of the session.

“The report shows that the pillars of our democratic system are solid. The foundation of Finnish democracy is strong and something worth cherishing in the future,” says State Secretary Jari Partanen who took part in the session of the Congress.

The Council of Europe advocates human rights, democracy and the rule of law, supports the unity of its member states, protects human rights and pluralistic democracy, improves living conditions and promotes human values. The Council includes 47 members of which Finland is one. Finland has ratified several Council of Europe conventions including the European Charter of Local Self-Government.

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe operates under the auspices of the Council of Europe. The Congress issues regular country reports on the state of local and regional democracy in the member states of the Council of Europe and monitors compliance with the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government.

In 2016, the Congress carried out an assessment of Finland’s compliance with the European principles of local democracy, more specifically the European Charter of Local Self-Government, which is also ratified by Finland. The evaluation report was adopted by the Congress at its session on 28 March 2017. Representing the Finnish Government in the session of the Congress was State Secretary Jari Partanen.

Report: Local and regional democracy in Finland

Inquiries:

State Secretary Jari Partanen +358 (0)40 5911377
Ministerial Adviser Markku Mölläri +358 (0)40 568 1492

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