The News (Site updated Tuesday, May 21, 2013 | 15:00)
Romanova : ''Local and regional authorities are best placed to raise environmental awareness among citizens''
[21/05/2013 11:00:00] ''Due to their physical proximity to citizens, local and regional authorities are best placed to raise environmental awareness among the local population and lead by example in setting trends in local and regional ecological policies,'' stated Nataliya Romanova, (Ukraine, ILDG), President of the Congress Chamber of Regions at the VI Nevsky International Ecological Congress on 'Environmental Awareness as a Tool of Environmental Solutions' in St Petersburg, Russian Federation, on 21 May 2013. ''They also have the means to do so: the decentralisation of power and fiscal devolution have endowed local and regional authorities with a growing scope of competences and responsibilities in the areas that are key to building a healthy and sustainable environment,'' she added. ''In other words, local and regional authorities have become an economic and political force to be reckoned with,'' she concluded.
All Council of Europe member States are now covered by the Charter for Local Self-Government
[16/05/2013 18:00:00] With the signature of the European Charter of Local Self-Government by the Foreign Affairs Minister of the Republic of San Marino, Pasquale Valentini on 16 May 2013, all 47 member states of the Council of Europe are now covered by this international treaty. “The signature of the Charter by the Republic of San Marino completes a cycle commenced in 1985 with the opening for signature of this instrument, which lays down the European standards for local and regional democracy”, stated Jean-Claude Frécon (France, SOC), President of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress. “The application of the Charter over 100% of European territory was indeed one of the major objectives of the Congress,” he concluded. [Photo: (in the foreground from left to right) Pasquale Valentini, Foreign Affairs Minister of the Republic of San Marino, and Thorbjørn Jagland, Council of Europe Secretary General - (in the background) Jean-Claude Frécon, President of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress, and Andreas Kiefer, Congress Secretary General] Press release European Charter of Local Self-Government
Congress delegation carried out a monitoring mission to assess grassroots democracy in the Netherlands
[15/05/2013 09:30:00] The Congress carryiedout a monitoring visit to the Netherlands from 14 to 16 May 2013. Congress Rapporteurs Artur Torres Pereira (Portugal, EPP/CCE) and Jean-Pierre Liouville (France, SOC) examined the follow-up to the commitments undertaken in the field of territorial democracy and decentralisation, with regard to the Netherlands’ ratification of the European Charter of Local Self-Government in 1991.
High level meetings were scheduled with representatives of the government, namely the State Secretary for Finance Frans Weekers, with representatives of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations as well as with members of the Parliament, of the Council of State of the Netherlands, and representatives of the Audit offices and Ombudsmen.
The delegation held meetings with the Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam, representatives of the Municipality of Gouda and the Municipality of Zoeterwoude.
The delegation also met with members of the Dutch Delegation to the Congress and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG).
The report on local and regional democracy in the Netherlands should be discussed at the next Congress Session in March 2014.
Photo: Congress delegation meets with the Dutch State Secretary for Finance Frans Weekers Press release Programme
After Yerevan elections: Congress urges Armenian authorities to seize the opportunity of the Council of Europe Chairmanship to increase voters’ confidence
[06/05/2013 14:30:00] A 12 member-delegation of the Council of Europe Congress composed of representatives from nine European countries including three members of the EU Committee of the Regions has observed the elections for the Yerevan Council of Elders on 5 May 2013. At a press conference in Yerevan, the Head of the delegation and Rapporteur, Stewart Dickson (UK, ILDG), presented preliminary conclusions following the observation of this vote by which also the Mayor of Yerevan was elected. M. Dickson stated that, with the exception of individual incidents in a few polling stations, the elections were carried out in a calm manner and that the vote was technically well prepared, although the counting process needs further improvement. Congress Rapporteur nevertheless invited the authorities to seize the opportunity of the up-coming Council of Europe Chairmanship of Armenia to improve voters’ confidence in electoral processes. “The Council of Europe Venice Commission said that the new Electoral Code of Armenia has the potential to ensure the conduct of democratic elections but legislation alone cannot ensure this. It is the exercise of political will by all stakeholders – and I mean government and opposition - which makes the difference. There has to be fair play without intimidations and other infringements prior to Election Day and there have to be complaint and appeal procedures for an effective remedy in which citizens can have confidence. Only such an environment can ensure genuinely democratic elections and thus improve the confidence of voters in electoral processes', he concluded.
Photo: tert.am Press release Statement by Rapporteur Dickson Special file