Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments


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Germany

Germany is a federal state composed of the federal and the regional level. Municipalities (Gemeinden), cities (Städte) and counties (Kreise) are a constitutional part of the regions (Länder).

Data: 2016
Local level: 11,313 municipalities (Gemeinden) 2,060 of which are cities (Städte)
There are two types of local structures in Germany, depending on the region’s legal status: the magistrate system (Magistratsverfassung) and the council system (Süddeutsche Ratsverfassung).

The council system exists in all German regions except for Hessen. According to the council system, the local council is elected by direct universal suffrage for five years. 

The mayor (Bürgermeister) is also elected by direct universal suffrage for a mandate that can vary from four to nine years, which also applies to Hessen. The mayor chairs the local council and heads the municipal administration.

The local council (Gemeinderat) is the municipality’s central body. It is elected by direct universal suffrage for a mandate that can vary from four to six years. The local council is the legislative organ and makes most of the decisions, all the while holding a monitoring and controlling function vis-à-vis the mayor and local administration.

The magistrate system (Magistratsverfassung) only exists in one region (Hessen).  In this system, the executive branch is composed of the mayor and his/her deputies (Magistrate). These are civil servants appointed by the local council for a mandate that generally lasts four years. The magistrate represents the municipality, is in charge of the daily local administration and implements local council decisions.

Competences

. Urban planning
. Municipal taxation
. Public security and order
. Municipal roads
. Public transport
. Water supply and waste water management
. Flood control and management
. Fire fighting
. Social aid and youth
. Child care
. Housing
. School building and maintenance
. Cemeteries

Note

The aforementioned competences are examples of the mandatory competences of local authorities in Germany.  There also exist a number of optional competences, notably in the fields of energy, economic development, infrastructures, culture, sports, migration and integration.
Intermediary level: 295 counties (Kreise)
The county assembly (Kreistag) is composed of members elected by direct universal suffrage for a mandate that can vary from four to six years depending on the region.  It is the county’s legislative body.

The county president (Landrat) is elected either by the county assembly or by direct universal suffrage, depending on the region. He/she is a civil servant elected for a period that varies from five to eight years and chairs the county assembly.

The county office (Landratsamt) is the county’s executive body and is composed of civil servants recruited by the county or by the region.

Competences

. Construction and maintenance of intermediary roads
. Social services and youth
. Collecting and managing household refuse
. Health care
. Food safety
. Protection of nature and environment
. Foreign affairs
. Disaster management
. Public transport

Note

The aforementioned competences are examples of the mandatory competences of county authorities.  There also exist a number of optional competences, notably in the fields of culture, economy, tourism, as well as building and managing libraries.
Regional level: 16 regions (Länder)
The parliament (Landtag) is the region’s legislative body. It consists of members elected by direct universal suffrage for a four-year mandate. It elects the minister-president of the region.

The government (Landesregierung) is the executive body of the region. It is elected by the parliament for a four-year mandate. It elects the minister-president.

The minister-president (Ministerpräsident) chairs the government. He/she has the exclusive power to designate and dismiss the ministers of the region.

This differs for the three city-states Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg, where the house of representatives
(Abgeordnetenhaus) or citizens’ assembly (Bürgerschaft) is the legislative, the senate of the city (Senat) is the executive and the mayor (Bürgermeister) is the governing chair.

Competences

. Legislation
. Public administration
. Police
. Homeland security
. Taxation
. Justice
. Culture
. University education
. Education
. Environment
. Legal supervision of local self-government

Note

Regional competences are shared with the central government in the fields of justice, social policy, civil law, criminal law and labour law.

CEMR in Germany

German Association of CEMR (RGRE)
Secretary General: Mr. Helmut DEDY
Rat der Gemeinden und Regionen Europas / Deutsche Sektion
Gereonstrasse 18 - 32, 50670 Köln
Tel.: +49 221 377 13 11
Fax: +49 221 377 11 28
E-mail: post@rgre.de
Web: www.rgre.de
German Association of Cities
Secretary General: Helmut Dedy
Deutscher Städtetag
Gereonstrasse 18-32, 50670 Köln
Tel.: +49 221 3771 0
Fax: +49 221 3771 128

Berlin office
Str. des 17. Juni 112, 10623 Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 37711 0
Fax: +49 30 37711 999
E-mail: post@staedtetag.de
Web: www.staedtetag.de
German Association of Towns and Municipalities
Executive Director: Dr. Gerd LANDSBERG
Deutscher Städte- und Gemeindebund
Marienstraße 6, 12207 Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 77307 0
Fax: +49 30 77307 200
E-mail: dstgb@dstgb.de
Web : www.dstgb.de
German County Association
Secretary General: Dr Hans Günter HENNEKE
Deutscher Landkreistag
Headquarters: Lennéstraße 17, 10785 Berlin
Mailing address: Postfach 11 02 52, 10832 Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 590097 309
Fax: +49 30 590097 400
E-mail: info@landkreistag.de
Web: www.landkreistag.de
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