Municipalities: Working closely together with the citizens

The DP is determined to increase the attractiveness of municipal mandates in order to attract skilful and committed citizens to them. For this purpose, both the political leave and the financial framework conditions are to be upgraded and adapted to today’s requirements in terms of complexity and time expenditure.

Only then can we work with other parties to reach a joint decision that achieves a broad consensus on the regulation of dual mandates.

In addition, we strongly advocate for the introduction of the “élu local” statute to provide protection for municipal politicians under labour and social law. Our goal is to strengthen and expand the rights of elected local politicians to enable them to fully exercise their mandate without being influenced by private or professional pressures.

The DP is committed to abolishing the incompatibilities with the mandate of the municipal councillor. We are convinced that no unnecessary hurdles should be put in the way of committed citizens who want to strengthen local democracy and serve the community. We value their commitment and want them to be able to use their ideas and knowledge for the good of the community. Any conflicts of interest would be regulated by Article 20 of the Municipal Act, which excludes biased municipal councillors from certain votes.

Refer to chapter on Institutions and Justice

As DP, we continue to support voluntary mergers of municipalities. Mergers only take place after approval by the affected citizens via a referendum, whereby it is of great importance to give due consideration to the ideas, concerns and worries of the residents. In this regard, we advocate increasing state financial support for merger processes.

In addition, we support increased regional and inter-municipal cooperation to create synergies, provide a wide range of infrastructures and services and jointly address overarching tasks and challenges. This cooperation enables an intelligent and sustainable use of public funds.

The DP is committed to providing municipalities with the necessary financial resources to offer quality services and infrastructure that meet the needs of citizens and the objectives of national planning. The DP believes that the state must provide municipalities with additional financial resources to meet their growing obligations to citizens. Therefore, we will grant greater financial leeway to both urban and rural municipalities.

The DP advocates that the municipalities be adequately compensated financially for the work involved in compiling the national housing register and that they participate at least indirectly in the revenue from the vacancy tax. In addition to the regular updating of this information, a lack of “cadastre vertical” for many buildings is an additional challenge that needs to be addressed by the municipalities. This leads to a considerable amount of work.

The DP advocates for a regular financial audit by a corporate auditor to be carried out in every municipality. It is important that the results of this audit are transparent and published.

As DP, we are strongly committed to establishing the technical service as the third pillar in the new municipal law. In addition to the secretariat and financial administration, the technical service plays an essential role in the efficient administration of our municipalities. The technical service has gained enormously in importance over the past decades, as the tasks of the municipality have developed considerably, and thus the demands on the service have also increased. The anchoring of the technical service in the municipal law should be appropriate to its importance and valuable contribution.

The DP is in favour of establishing the legal framework for the transition from the majoritarian to the proportional electoral system only from a population of 6,000 instead of the current threshold of 3,000 inhabitants. This adjustment would significantly strengthen the right to stand for election, as it is currently a challenge to find enough candidates for municipal elections. In cooperation with the Syvicol, we will seek a cross-party consensus.

Refer to chapter on Institutions and Justice

The DP is in favour of enshrining in law the mandatory consultation of the Syvicol in all legislative projects and regulations affecting the municipalities. It is important that the interests and needs of the communities are adequately taken into account. By involving the Syvicol, the municipalities can bring their expertise and own perspectives into the legislative process.

The DP supports the expansion of the on-line platform eMINT to all ministries. This platform was developed by the Ministry of the Interior to facilitate communication and cooperation between municipalities and ministries, as well as to optimise administrative processes. By using eMINT, the extensive advantages of digitisation can be used, such as transparent and easily traceable transmission of information, and accelerated processing of municipal procedures. This makes it much easier for municipalities to cooperate with other administrations. Our primary goal is that in the future all procedures can be handled exclusively digitally.

Refer to the chapter Digitisation and Media

Refer to the chapter Digitisation and Media

Refer to the chapter Digitisation and Media

Since 2022, civil weddings can also be celebrated outside the parish hall. In order to provide citizens with an even more personal celebration, the DP wants to expand the selection of possible locations for wedding ceremonies. Municipalities should be able to decide for themselves whether only prescribed locations are accepted, or whether couples can also choose locations away from the usual.