Swiss Contribution ECORYS Polska EUROREGION

Basic information about Switzerland


Swizerland is a federal state with three political levels: federal (central), cantons (26) and communes (2890).

Switzerland is characterised by bottom-up democracy,  created naturally through creation of communities gathered around common problems. Everyday practice has overtaken forming the rules.

Swiss cantons are member countries with a statute similar to the German Laender. They are independent and exercise all law that haven't been transferred to the federal government. They  have freedom to create internal organisational strucutres within the canton, which results in diverse legal regulations, including those concerning communes' organs. Cantons oversee the communes' activity.

Communes have been legally established by cantons. They have a double status: national local authorities that fulfil national tasks, as well as self-government corporations. In the second role, the communes are authorised to single-handedly regulate issues concerning them, while considering the legal order.  They are autonomous.

In traditionally organised communes, the most important organs are the collective of citizens, and a commune council which usually consists of 5-9 members elected by the collective of citizens. The coucil is led by the chairman, usually described as the president of the commune. The collective of citizens makes a commune gathering and makes decisions about the commune. This traditional form still works in 85% of Swiss communes. In communes which size did not allow to solve their issues this way, decisions are voted by voting by ballot boxes. In some communes there has been a transition from direct democracy to representative democracy - they have established a commune parliament, selected by the citizens. In some cantons it is obligatory to establish the parliament, excluding smaller communes, in others, the number or commune citizens decides on such necessity.

Communes' tasks especially include administrative issues, and often they have a legislative function. Moreover, in last several years the communes had significantly more national tasks transferred to them, which means more tasks in the area of environmental protection and spatial planning, or even consider refuge applications. In order to implement tasks in these areas partnerships are created that engage the three levels of the state mentioned before. In cases when implementation of thasks exceeds the possibilities of the commue, objective associations and commune associations are created.

In 85% the Block Grant is co-financed by the Swiss Contribution, and  by the Republic of Poland's Budget in 15%.



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