The Relevance of the Charter for International and Comparative Public Law

in Constitutional Principles of Local Self-Government in Europe
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Abstract

Finally, in the fourth and concluding Chapter (§ 4) the main findings of this research will be expounded. First, it will be highlighted that the “system of the Charter” matters from the standpoint of public international law (§ 4.I.), because it reversed the old conception whereby local authorities are mere organs of the State, thereby mandating States to organise their structures not only according to the principle of “deconcentration” of powers but also pursuant to “decentralisation” and democratic self-government. Furthermore, it will be clarified that the “system of the Charter” matters because it makes for the establishment of a consistent and coherent common European constitutional local government law (§ 4.II.), that is to say a detailed reference framework inherent to European constitutionalism which can be employed in the context of transitions for setting up a new local government system from its foundations, for supplementing domestic constitutional standards as well as for containing the power and setting limits to the action of the European Union and its member States. Vertical separation of powers therefore becomes a structural device for implementing the domestic and supranational constitutional order. Finally, it will be pointed out that the “system of the Charter” matters because, despite their different local government systems, Council of Europe member States are progressively converging towards the Charter framework, which has in fact been developing in a sufficiently flexible way so as to adapt to most different conditions (§ 4.III.).