The basic powers and responsibilities of local authorities shall be prescribed by the constitution or by statute. However, this provision shall not prevent the attribution to local authorities of powers and responsibilities for specific purposes in accordance with the law.
The state’s small size and the existence of only one municipality whose area is the same as the state leads to a distribution of powers between the state and the municipality that is difficult to compare to the distribution in most other European countries.
Consequently, the rapporteurs consider it logical that Monaco has not ratified paragraph 3 of Article 4 on the principle of subsidiarity.
No provision is made for the Municipality’s powers in the Constitution, which merely states that “the Municipal Council shall deliberate in public on the Municipality’s affairs” (Article 86).
Provision is made for them in law, particularly in Article 25 of Law No. 959/1974 as powers of the Municipal Council. Law No. 1316/2006 extended and clarified these powers, as the persons we met pointed out. They cover many areas, including social welfare and recreational activities, particularly for pre-school children or to help elderly people remain in their own homes and activities for senior citizens, municipal events and activities, cultural and artistic activities in municipal buildings, etc. These powers can be regarded as full and comprehensive.
In addition, the Municipal Council may express opinions concerning all matters of municipal interest. It is not entitled to publish statements or addresses or express political views (Article 25 of Law No. 959/1974).
However, there are still powers such as public transport that remain under the Monegasque Government’s control, although in most countries they are exercised by local authorities. Monaco’s unusual situation should clearly be taken into consideration in this case, as it is transport into France that is at issue, so it is easy to understand that the state would have a say in this regard. The state is responsible for other areas traditionally handled by local authorities, such as town planning, although the Municipality must be consulted. Social assistance is divided between the state and the Municipality (crèches, home help for the elderly, etc.). Our discussion partners emphasised that the organisation of these services is very complex and confusing, but it generally works because the state and the Municipality maintain a good relationship.
With regard to the consultation of local authorities, Law No. 959/1974 requires the Minister of State to consult the Municipal Council in the areas of town and spatial planning (Article 26), on changes to their remit and on employment regulations for municipal officials (Articles 26.1 and 53).
The same articles contain the rules on the consultation procedure, including the consequences of an adverse opinion by the Municipality. Everyone we met agreed that informal consultations take place regularly between the Mayor and the Minister of State and, when there is a real risk of a stalemate, also with the Prince.
Taking into account Monaco’s unusual situation and its legislative framework and practices, the rapporteurs conclude that Monaco complies with Article 4 of the Charter.