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Connectivity Principle

The Connectivity Principle (Connexity = context) is a principle in national law that states that task and financial responsibility belong together. The authority (state level) that is responsible for a task is also responsible for financing. This is often expressed in simplified terms with the phrase "Whoever orders, pays".

Basics [edit]

In the Basic Law, the principle of connectivity is formulated in Art. 104a as follows: "(1) The federal government and the states separately bear the expenses resulting from the performance of their tasks, unless this Basic Law stipulates otherwise. (2) If the states act on behalf of the federal government, the federal government bears the resulting expenses. (...) ". We do not speak of municipalities here, as they are considered part of the federal states in the Basic Law.

The level that is legally responsible for a task is not always the same as the level that carries it out. Therefore, a distinction is made between two forms of the principle of connectivity, depending on whether the connectivity to the legislation ("Occurrence Connectivity") or to the implementation ("Execution Connectivity") is bound. Market-oriented economic theories advocate execution connectivity: only if the level that executes a task also has to bear the costs for it, there is an incentive for an economical and efficient design. However, this argument does not work if there is little or no leeway for the executing level to influence the costs.

From the municipal point of view, the principle of connectivity is therefore discussed in terms of causation connectivity. According to long-term observation, the federal and state governments tend to create new tasks and assign them to the municipalities without ensuring that the resulting costs are covered. The most recent prominent example of this is the introduction of the right to a daycare place for children under the age of 3 on August 13, 2013. For the municipalities in many federal states, the fulfillment of this right by creating new daycare places is associated with considerable costs, which are only partially borne by the federal and state governments.

States and municipalities [edit]

After the municipalities and their central associations had long argued for the legal fixation of the principle of connectivity, it has been included in the constitutions of all territorial states since the 1990s. The formulations are different; some countries have a "strict principle of connectivity", according to which any additional financial burden must be compensated. In other countries there is only one "relative principle of connectivity", i. H. they stipulate that in the event of financial burdens due to newly assigned tasks, the state parliament must deal with the regulation of costs. Occasionally the regulation contains further restrictions, e.g. For example, the state constitution in Lower Saxony speaks of "considerable and necessary costs".

However, from the point of view of the municipalities, a legally anchored principle of connectivity does not solve all problems:

  • Disputes can arise about how high the actual costs are.
  • It can also be disputed whether the change in standards for existing tasks, which leads to higher costs, is to be understood as a task transfer in the sense of the principle of connectivity. The situation is similar if the federal or state government withdraws from one of their tasks and in this way additional burdens arise for the municipalities.
  • There are many parallel financial relationships between the state and municipalities. If there is a strict connection, the country can try to compensate for the additional costs by reducing other allocations or grants.

Practice has at least shown that a principle of connectivity laid down in the state constitution supports the municipalities politically and legally. You can use it to argue and, if necessary, sue. Despite the scope for interpretation and circumvention, the connectivity has strengthened the position of the municipalities when it comes to delegating tasks to the federal states.

Principle of connectivity in the state constitutions [edit]

The principle of connectivity between the state and municipalities is anchored in the following state constitutions:

  • Baden-Württemberg: Art. 71 para. 3 of the constitution of the state of Baden-Württemberg reads: “The municipalities and municipal associations can be assigned the execution of certain public tasks by law. In doing so, provisions must be made regarding the coverage of costs. If these tasks lead to an additional burden on the communities or community associations, an appropriate compensation must be created. "
  • Bavaria: In Art. 83 Para. 3 Bayer. Constitution states: “If the state assigns tasks to the municipalities, if it obliges them to perform tasks in their own sphere of activity or if it makes special demands on the performance of existing or new tasks, it must at the same time make provisions on the coverage of costs. If the performance of these tasks leads to an additional burden on the communities, a corresponding financial compensation must be created. "
  • Brandenburg: Article 97 (3) of the constitution of the state of Brandenburg has the following wording: “The state can oblige the municipalities and associations of municipalities by statute or on the basis of a statute to perform tasks of the state and reserve the right to issue instructions in accordance with statutory provisions. If the municipalities and municipal associations are obliged by law or on the basis of a law to carry out new public tasks, provisions must be made to cover the costs. If these tasks lead to an additional burden on the communities or community associations, an appropriate financial compensation must be created. "
  • Hesse: Art. 137 (6) of the Constitution of the State of Hesse reads: “If the municipalities or municipal associations are obliged to fulfill state tasks by state law or state law ordinance, regulations must be made about the cost consequences. If the transfer of new tasks or changes to existing ones, whether one's own or transferred, results in an additional burden or relief for the communities or community associations in their entirety, a corresponding compensation must be created. The details are governed by a law."[1]
  • Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Article 72 paragraph 3 of the constitution of the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has the following wording: “The municipalities and districts can be obliged by law or by ordinance on the basis of a law to fulfill certain public tasks, if at the same time provisions are made regarding the coverage of costs. If the fulfillment of these tasks leads to an additional burden on the communities and districts, an appropriate financial compensation must be created. "
  • Lower Saxony: Article 57, Paragraph 4 of the Lower Saxony Constitution reads: “The municipalities and districts and the other municipal bodies can be assigned mandatory tasks to fulfill on their own responsibility by law or on the basis of a law by ordinance, and state tasks can be assigned to fulfillment according to instructions. For the considerable and necessary costs caused by the regulations according to sentence 1, the corresponding financial compensation must be regulated immediately by law. If a change in the regulations according to sentence 1 results in significant increases in costs, the financial compensation must be adjusted accordingly; in the event of a reduction in costs, it can be adjusted. ... " Additional regulations can be found in Article 58 of the Lower Saxony Constitution, Article 2, Paragraph 2 and Article 4, Paragraph 4 of the Lower Saxony District Code (NLO) and Article 3, Paragraph 2, Article 4, Paragraph 1 and Article 5, Paragraph 1 and 3 of the Lower Saxony Municipal Code (NGO).
  • North Rhine-Westphalia: According to Art. 78 Para. 3 of the state constitution of North Rhine-Westphalia, the state can “Oblige the municipalities and municipal associations by law or ordinance to take on and carry out certain public tasks, if at the same time provisions are made about the coverage of costs. If the transfer of new or the change of existing and transferable tasks leads to a significant burden on the affected communities or community associations, a corresponding financial compensation for the necessary average expenses must be created by law or ordinance on the basis of a cost impact assessment. The reimbursement of expenses should be paid at a flat rate. If a significant deviation from the cost impact assessment is subsequently determined, the financial compensation will be adjusted for the future. A law regulates the details of sentences 2 to 4 ... " In addition, the municipalities in North Rhine-Westphalia can refer to the case law of the Constitutional Court for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (judgment of July 9, 1998 - VerfG 16/96 and 7/97 as well as judgment of December 1, 1998, VerfG 5/97 Right to local self-government "A claim directed against the country to adequate funding".
  • Rhineland-Palatinate: Art. 49 Paragraphs 4 and 5 of the State Constitution of Rhineland-Palatinate read as follows: “(4) The municipalities and municipal associations or their boards of directors can be assigned state tasks to perform according to instructions by law or ordinance. The municipalities and municipal associations can also be assigned compulsory self-administration tasks by law or ordinance. (5) If the state transfers the fulfillment of public tasks to the municipalities or associations of municipalities in accordance with paragraph 4 or places special requirements on the fulfillment of existing or new tasks, it must at the same time make provisions on the coverage of costs; this also applies to the imposition of financing obligations. If the fulfillment of these tasks and obligations leads to an additional burden on the communities or community associations, a corresponding financial compensation must be created. The details are governed by a law."
  • Saarland: Art. 120 SaarlVerf reads: “1) The municipalities and associations of municipalities can be assigned state tasks for implementation by means of a formal law. In doing so, provisions must be made regarding the coverage of costs. The state secures the municipalities and municipal associations the means necessary to carry out the assigned tasks. 2) The same applies if the state makes the fulfillment of such tasks, which it has previously performed itself, legally obligatory for the municipalities and municipal associations. "
  • Saxony: Art. 85 para. 1 and 2 SächVerf reads: “(1) The municipal bodies responsible for self-government can be assigned the execution of certain tasks by law. They should be transferred to them if they can be reliably and appropriately fulfilled by them. In doing so, provisions must be made regarding the coverage of costs. (2) If the transfer of the tasks leads to an additional burden on the municipal bodies responsible for self-administration, a corresponding financial compensation must be created. This also applies if voluntary tasks are converted into compulsory tasks or if the Free State of Saxony directly causes an additional financial burden in the execution of assigned or existing tasks through a law or on the basis of a law. " The obligation to compensate for additional burdens is still legally stipulated by Section 2, Paragraph 2 of the SächsGemO and the SächsLKrO.
  • Saxony-Anhalt: Art. 87 para. 3 of the state constitution of Saxony-Anhalt reads: “The municipalities can be assigned compulsory tasks to fulfill on their own responsibility by law and state tasks to be carried out according to instructions. At the same time, the coverage of the costs is to be regulated. If the performance of tasks leads to an additional burden on the municipalities, an appropriate compensation must be created. ”Furthermore, § 5 Paragraph 1 GO SachsAn states: “By law, state tasks can be assigned to the municipality to perform according to instructions (...); the necessary funds are to be made available ".
  • Schleswig-Holstein: Here the principle of connectivity is formulated in Articles 46 and 49 of the constitution of Schleswig-Holstein. Art. 46 (4): "By law or by ordinance on the basis of a law, the municipalities and municipal associations can be obliged to fulfill certain public tasks." Art. 49 (2): "If the municipalities or municipal associations are obliged by law or by ordinance to fulfill certain public tasks, provisions must be made to cover the costs. If these tasks lead to an additional burden on the municipalities or municipal associations, a corresponding one is required to create financial compensation. "
  • Thuringia: The state constitution contains the following provisions: Article 91 (3): "On the basis of a law, the municipalities and municipal associations can be assigned state tasks to perform according to instructions." Article 93 (1): "The state ensures that the municipal bodies responsible for self-government can fulfill their tasks. If the transfer of state tasks according to Article 91, Paragraph 3 leads to an additional burden on the municipalities and municipal associations, an appropriate financial compensation must be created." In addition, there is § 3 of the Thuringian municipal constitution: "(1) The municipalities can be obliged by statute or on the basis of a statute to fulfill certain public tasks of the state or other corporations under public law (tasks of the transferred sphere of activity) ... (2) In the transfer, the necessary means for To make available. (...)" Section 88 regulates the same for the rural districts.

Federation and municipalities

There is currently no legally secured principle of connectivity between the federal government and the municipalities in Germany. Instead, the constitutional law enshrined the prohibition of intervention, which forbids the federal government to assign tasks to the municipalities directly.

Footnote [edit]

Web links and literature [edit]