Territorial Changes to Municipalities and Inter-Municipal Cooperation: A Comparative Overview and Orientations for Slovenia
Local self-government has faced a number of challenges over the past decade. The financial crisis has revealed new dimensions of the eternal question of financing self-governing local communities, while distrust and a lack of interest in participation in local democracy among the people have led to considerations of different approaches to public decision-making concerning local issues. A comparative overview shows that the question of the “perfect size” of municipalities is currently very relevant and aimed at finding dimensions that would enable the municipality to ensure both local-level democracy and identity and economic efficiency in the delivery of public services. The most popular tool for achieving this goal is the merger of municipalities, although other approaches also exist, including various forms of inter-municipal cooperation. Some forms of inter-municipal cooperation have already taken firm hold in Slovenia, although the question of the potential impacts of alternative forms of inter-municipal cooperation on the democratic legitimacy of decision-making processes and the potential of these processes for the developmental breakthrough of Slovenian municipalities has yet to receive adequate attention.
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