Joint statement to the European Council meeting 11 February 2010 on the economic crisis

European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for local and regional Government.

1. CEMR-EP and EPSU call on the European Council to take a long-term perspective when coordinating their responses to the crisis and to reflect in their recovery plans sustainable development in all its dimensions.

2. We note that the economic crisis is far from over. We observe that countries with a strong, well-financed and autonomous local and regional government - as part of a coordinated and well-organized public sector - have been better able to react to the crisis and deliver or contribute to solutions for citizens.

3. Much of what we said in our 2009 statement on the crisis remains valid. CEMR-EP and EPSU underline that there is a continuing need for public investment to mitigate the effects of the crisis, to maintain living standards, and to prepare for future needs.

4. It is unacceptable that many local and regional governments are confronted with decreasing revenue at a time when demands are increasing (for example because of rising unemployment and growing demands on social services). CEMR-EP and EPSU point out that the provision, and quality of, local and regional government services is largely dependent on public finance.

5. In this context, sustainable financing requires socially just taxation and other revenues streams, sufficient to allow local and regional governments to make long-term investments to meet changing needs of local communities. This includes having the capacity to maintain and develop competent and motivated staff.

6. CEMR-EP and EPSU underline that demographic change and the need for sustainable development means that cohesive local communities will be needed even more tomorrow than they are today. Partnership in all its forms will be increasingly important, including in the workplace. Improved social dialogue can assist with the ability to adapt to change which is an important part of the response to the impact of the crisis.

7. CEMR-EP and EPSU call on the Council to ensure that local and regional governments are able to continue long term planning and developing sustainable approaches.

1) See CEMR’s second survey ‘The economic and financial crisis: the impact on local and regional government’ 2) For an overview of taxation trends see European Commission 2009 report tax_structures/index_en.htm