Introducing The European Governance Quality Label For Municipalities

“Integrated Municipality Governance Model©” project was developed by Argüden Governance Academy and implemented in partnership with the Council of Europe, Marmara Municipalities Union (MMU), Sultanbeyli and Şişli Municipalities. The project was supported by the Consulate of Netherlands. The project brings a methodology to measure the governance quality at municipalities in Türkiye which is first of its kind. The first Turkish recipients of European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) were announced at a conference held at İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Ali Emiri Efendi Cultural Center on November 2, 2022.

Integrated Municipality Governance Model © project aimed to strengthen good governance culture in municipalities. The Model was developed by Argüden Governance Academy. The Model helps implement good governance principles throughout the organization and processes of municipalities to help them receive and maintain the European Label of Governance Excellence (EloGE) which supports a citizen-centric good governance at municipalities while providing a tool for self-assessment and continuous development.

By utilizing the Model, municipalities will be able to implement the Council of Europe’s Good Governance Principles in a holistic and effective manner at every stage of their democratic, administrative, and financial governance processes. Thus, they will have the opportunity to contribute to improving the quality of life of citizens through sustainable and inclusive development at the local level.

Two Municipalities Received the European Label of Governance Excellence for the First Time in Türkiye

For the first time in Türkiye, Sultanbeyli and Şişli Municipalities were entitled to receive the European Label of Governance Excellence which will be valid for one year. Sultanbeyli and Şişli Municipalities’ applications for the Label were evaluated by an independent jury, consisting of senior experts and academicians who were selected by Argüden Governance Academy and Marmara Municipalities Union. These pioneering Municipalities will be able to extend their right to utilize the ELoGE in the future by providing evidence to maintain and improve their governance standards.

The opening speeches of the Conference were delivered by Dr. Yılmaz Argüden, Chair of the Trustees of Argüden Governance Academy; Arjen Uijterlinde, Consul General of the Netherlands in Istanbul, M. Cemil Arslan, Secretary General of Marmara Municipalities Union, Hüseyin Keskin, Mayor of Sultanbeyli and Muammer Keskin, Mayor of Şişli.

In his opening speech, Dr. Argüden said “The Academy achieved another first in Türkiye, by carrying out this project that enabled two pioneering municipalities to acquire a European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE). I congratulate Sultanbeyli and Şişli Municipalities for being the pioneering municipalities on the governance excellence journey in Türkiye, and I wish more Turkish municipalities to begin this journey of governance excellence” Dr. Argüden thanked the partners of the Project, the Council of Europe, the Marmara Municipalities Union, Sultanbeyli and Şişli Municipalites; donors of the Academy and the Dutch Consulate General for supporting the project.

Arjen Uijterlinde, Consul General of the Netherlands in Istanbul, said:

“Municipalities are the primary and the most visible level of government that most citizens come into contact with . The Integrated Municipality Governance Model has proved to be a useful tool for self-assessment and citizens participation leading to improved quality of local governance, which is in everybody’s interest. It is of particular value, that the municipalities of Sultanbeyli and Şişli have engaged in this process and showed ownership from the beginning and we are happy that we have been able to support this with Dutch government funds. I would like to congratulate the two stakeholder municipalities as well as the organisations involved for their commitments.”

Alina Tatarenko, the Head of Division of Democratic Governance, the Council of Europe, explained the local governance approach and labeling activities of the Council of Europe and said:

“We are witnessing a clear and worrying degree of democratic backsliding throughout Europe, as noted in the recent reports and resolutions of the Council of Europe’s Secretary General and the Parliamentary Assembly. This is why today, more than ever, our member States need to invest in good democratic governance at all levels, in a reinvigoration of democratic processes and institutions. Only a good governance which is effective and genuinely democratic can contribute to building sustainable and resilient European societies, and to ensuring peace and prosperity for all”.

Cemil Arslan, Secretary General of Marmara Municipalities Union said:

“The formation of democratic and sustainable urban governance is also a part of MMU’s mission. During local decision-making processes, self-evaluation of municipalities and active participation of all stakeholders of the city, especially including civil society, have particular importance. Our members, Sultanbeyli and Şişli Municipalities, are pioneers in utilizing the ‘Integrated Municipality Governance Model’ for improving local governance quality. MMU aims to both share the local government experience built in Türkiye on a global level and bring international best practices to the local level.”

Hüseyin Keskin, Mayor of Sultanbeyli, said in his speech:

“Municipalities are one of the most important foundation stones of democracy. We have created a governance culture in Sultanbeyli that touches all layers of society. Sultanbeyli Municipality became one of the two municipalities that won the right of use of the European Label of Governance Excellence. We accept this as an indication of the services we provide to our district. I would like to thank my colleagues who contributed to obtaining this distinction. We will continue to improve the quality of life in our district.”

Muammer Keskin, Mayor of Şişli said:

“The European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) has a crucial importance for Şişli Municipality. Because this step is the most important indicator that we have started to reach our goals with “Better Local Governance is Possible” approach. These goals are developing a management model that is transparent, accountable, with a strong financial balance, ethical principles, by respecting the environment, that makes socialist, participatory democracy work at all levels of municipality. These principles are also highly compatible with those of ELoGE. Şişli Municipality will continue to be a pioneer, in promoting participatory democracy.”

After these speeches, Dr. İnan İzci, the Project Coordinator, informed the participants about the scope and content of the Project. He stated that the Integrated Municipality Governance Model© was developed with a view to improving the level of good governance in all member states of the Council of Europe. The team members of the Project Dr. Erkin Erimez, Melis Türker, and Merve Ağca shared information about the details and implementation of the Model. It was underlined that if this Model is implemented fully, good governance in municipalities will be continuously improved for a sustainable future and better quality of life for their citizens.