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Scientific study on local self-government in a European comparison

Expert opinion commissioned by the Bundesinsitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung

In 2007, the European ministers responsible for urban development adopted the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities. The core messages of the joint charter were the strengthening of integrated urban development policy and the emphasis on the importance of disadvantaged urban neighbourhoods. The revision of the Leipzig Charter, which is planned in the course of the German EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2020, will now focus on the municipal capacity to act.

In this context, the report analyses the capacity of local self-government to act in a European comparison and to provide indications of the extent to which the demand for greater municipal capacity to act is met with consensus throughout the EU. The study presents the systems of local self-government in a European comparison. The role of local authorities across Europe is examined in particular on the basis of their (financial) autonomy and their (territorial and task) profile. Furthermore, models of municipal finances are examined and compared as well as relevant reform trends.

Project coordinators:

  • Prof. Dr. Sabine Kuhlmann
  • Benoît Dumas (contact person)
  • Moritz Heuberger


  • Lea Scheurer (European Urban Knowledge Network (EUKN))