Latest News (Site updated Tuesday, May 31, 2016 | 18:00)
Andreas Kiefer welcomes the close relation between the Congress and the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions
[31/05/2016 17:00:00] “The Congress maintains close relations with the major European associations of local and regional authorities and the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) is a very active one”, stated Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress, at the meeting of the Balkan & Black Sea Regional of the CPMR, held on 30-31 Mays in Istanbul. He presented the involvement of the Congress in the neighbourhood policy of the Council of Europe and its contributions to the neighbourhood policy of the EU. “The Congress participates in the exchanges of the Council of Europe with the European Commission in preparation of the respective progress reports of candidate countries” he recalled, highlighting that the recommendations from the Congress’ monitoring reports are an important means in this process. He also presented the targeted co-operation activities of the Congress in the framework of the EU-CoE Programmatic Framework for Eastern Partnership countries (2015-2017) and highlighted the series of seminars organised by the Congress for mayors and councillors from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine as well as from the non-member state Belarus. Andreas Kiefer concluded by announcing the next Congress’ seminar to be held in Kyiv on 21-23 June 2016 focusing on “Local public ethics: from vision to action”.
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Andreas Kiefer : “Refugee crisis represents a challenge for local authorities”
[30/05/2016 14:00:00] “Whatever the status of the persons who arrive at our frontiers, the local authorities’ concern is to address the individuals themselves, their needs and their social rights” stated Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress, on May 27, at the International Conference: “The protection of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants”, in Nafplio (Greece). Mr Kiefer highlighted the challenge the refugee crisis represents for local authorities, especially as far as the delivery of services, the respect for human and social rights and the building of inclusive societies is concerned, and urged support from the regional and local levels of government to face the crisis. He further stressed the responsibilities of regional and local authorities in providing refugees with basic rights such as health protection, an adequate standard of living, education and participation in public life. Lastly, the Secretary General, with the aim of debunking common stereotypes associated with the refugees issue, underlined the importance of promoting intercultural and interreligious dialogue, organising anti-rumour campaigns and discussing with migrants, in order to increase understanding of their needs, prior to shaping policy responses.
More information Speech by Thorbjørn Jagland Programme of the Conference
Leen Verbeek : « European local and regional authorities can rise to the challenge of tackling extremism and building inclusive societies »
[30/05/2016 15:00:00] Leen Verbeek, Vice-president of the Congress, participated in the conference “European cities facing radicalisation: communication and counter-narratives”, co-organised by the European and French Forums for Urban Security and the city of Bordeaux, on 27 May 2016. He recalled that the Congress adopted, at its 28th Session in March 2015 and immediately after the first Paris attacks, its “Strategy to combat radicalisation at grassroots level”. “Within this strategy we have adopted Guidelines for local and regional authorities on preventing radicalisation and manifestation of hate at grassroots level”, he explained. “We are also preparing a toolkit for local authorities, which consists of texts, a film and other digital resources that can help them organise interreligious and intercultural activities to foster more social inclusion”, he added. Leen Verbeek also mentioned the “Alliance of European Cities against violent extremism”, launched by the Congress in cooperation with the European Forum for Urban Security and the municipalities of Aarhus (Denmark) and Rotterdam (Netherlands). He concluded by inviting all attending mayors to take part in the summit of mayors which will take place in Rotterdam, on 9 November 2016, to develop the Alliance.
Speech by Leen Verbeek Programme of the Conference
Young local leaders in Armenia determined to make positive changes in their communities
[27/05/2016 16:30:00] Twenty six young men and women, municipal employees, NGO representatives and students, coming from 8 regions of Armenia and Yerevan, gathered together to exchange best practices in the field of local democracy, on 24-26 May in Yerevan (Armenia). Emin Yeritsyan, Head of the delegation of Armenia to the Congress, called on the young local leaders to “shape the future of their community with their active contribution”. The importance of further getting involved in public affairs and the community life, especially with the view to engage in local elections, was also highlighted and Congress member Nino Zurabishvili (Georgia, SOC) inspired the participants with her practical experience of taking part in electoral campaigns. “I have decided to get involved in my community because I didn’t want my future children to live in the same situation than we are now; and here I am reinforced in my motivation to work towards change” stressed one of the participants.
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