Denmark: Good implementation of European Charter of Local Self-Government, but need better coordination between municipalities and regions
The Danish’ government system being one of the most decentralised in Europe, the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities notes in a report, with satisfaction the positive, and in some ways exemplary, implementation of the principles enshrined in the European Charter of Local Self-Government. It also notes the wide range of responsibilities of the municipalities and the role they play in the Danish welfare system and the culture of consultation and loyal collaboration between central government and local authorites.
With regard to the right to participate in public affairs at local level in Denmark, the rapporteurs Xavier Cadoret, France (SOC/G/PD) and Carla Dejonghe, Belgium (ILDG) note, exactly as the previous rapporteurs did in 2013, that Denmark has good practices in this respect. However, Denmark, has not yet signed 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) despite those positive examples of participation in public affairs and the absence of legal obstacles that would prevent its signature. Therefore, the rapporteurs encourage national authorities to sign and ratify the Additional Protocol in the near future.
Fifteen years after the reform of the extensive administrative territorial structure in 2007, the Danish’ local government system faces some significant challenges. In the report, the rapporteurs note that the division of competences between regions and municipalities as regards the delivery of health services has become increasingly challenging in recent years and requires specific consideration by all levels of government. The Congress recommend that Denmark revisit the framework of collaboration and the distribution of tasks between municipalities and regions on the delivery of health services, in consultation with associations of local and regional authorities, with the aim of improving cooperation and increasing the robustness of the healthcare system.
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