The main tasks of the German County Association are to promote local government self-administration (which is guaranteed by the German constitution, network between Landkreise) and foster common interests between all local government bodies vis-à-vis the Federal State and the public.
The German County Association (“Deutscher Landkreistag”) is the federal association of the 301 German counties (Landkreise). The Landkreis sector covers around 96 per cent of the surface area of the Federal Republic of Germany and represents three quarters of the local authorities, who in turn represent almost 56 million inhabitants or 68 per cent of the German population. The association also understands itself as promoter of the rural areas in Germany.
Founded in 1916 during World War I, as Association of the Prussian Landkreise, the organisation was re-founded as the German County Association at the beginning of 1947.
The German County Association is unlike other interest groups (e.g. private sector), as it represents public interest; via the local authorities which are politically responsible to German citizens.
The German County Association is active in a broad range of local tasks, including: municipal law, e-government, modernisation of administration, public services law, savings banking, local services of general interest (energy, water, waste water, waste), business development, social affairs, youth, health, transport law, environmental law, planning law and European affairs.
There is increasing need for German Landkreise to be prepared for the implementation of European directives and regulations. The German County Association has its own office in Brussels, which represents the interests of the German Landkreise vis-à-vis the European Institutions (above all European Commission, European Parliament and Committee of the Regions). The Association also networks with other local associations such as Association of Polish Municipalities or Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, and contributes to an exchange of experiences as well as to arranging county-partnerships.