Case: In county X, there are three active youth councils in the municipalities. After many meetings and discussions of plans, the members of these councils came to the conclusion that they could work more effectively together in many matters. A proposal arose to merge the three youth councils into one – a youth council for the entire county and to deal with youth-related matters throughout the county.
- Can a youth council be created by merging other councils?
- What are the ways to “formalize” cooperation between youth councils?
Since 2021, youth advisory bodies can be created at all levels of local government. In each case, they are established on the basis of a resolution of the legislative body of the given local government unit (Article 5b(2) of the Act on Local Government and corresponding provisions in acts applicable to counties and voivodeships). The acts do not provide for the procedure for establishing a youth council for a larger local government unit (e.g. county) by “merging” youth councils from smaller local government units (e.g. municipalities). Therefore, a youth council for a county cannot be created in this way.
This is also the essence of decentralization and independence of local government levels. The municipality has its own tasks and bodies, the county and voivodeship also deal with matters that are not assigned to another level of local government and are “separately organized”, i.e. within the limits and on the basis of the law, they establish their own bodies that carry out tasks and competences exclusively for them.
However, if there is a desire among the members of youth councils in municipalities for a youth council to be established in the county, they can initiate such an action – members of youth councils in municipalities as “interested environments” can submit an application to the county authorities for the establishment of a youth council for the county, as provided for in Article 3e(2)(2) of the Act on County Self-Government.
As for cooperation between youth councils in municipalities, the legislator has not expressed an opinion on this matter. However, if these joint activities fulfill the tasks of the youth councils in their statutes or the law (Article 5b(8) of the Act on Local Government), there is nothing to prevent youth councils, in the legal form of resolutions, from establishing cooperation within the framework of a specific event or long-term cooperation.