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CLRAE Monitoring Committee – on Democracy and the European Charter of Local Self-Government

On July 3, Gints Kaminskis, Chairman of LALRG participated at the meeting of the Monitoring Committee of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe in Oslo (Norway). The Committee members examined for approval draft reports on the situation of local and regional democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary and the Russian Federation. The most active debate was triggered by the report on Russia as it indirectly implied also the territories occupied by Russia. It was strongly condemned by Ukraine, Georgia and the Baltic states. Latvia maintains the policy of non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea and is wary of actions that could be de facto treated as recognition of Russian jurisdiction in Crimea.

Reports on the situation of local democracy in Armenia and Portugal are also being prepared and will be discussed at the next meeting of the Committee. The Committee examined also applications on non-compliance with the principles of the European Charter of Local Authorities in Azerbaijan and Cyprus. The Committee decided to draw up a letter to the governments of these countries, calling for an explanation and for the elimination of the non-compliance. The adherence to the Charter and the role of local governments in ensuring democracy and peace were emphasized.

A group of the Congress experts has conducted a study on how courts in the Council of Europe member states apply Charter to legal proceedings. The Constitutional Court of Latvia was mentioned several times as a positive example regarding the direct applicability of the Charter as an act of international law having precedence over domestic legislation and regulations.