Latest News (Site updated Monday, April 27, 2015 | 9:30)

The partnership Strasbourg - Kairouan (Tunisia) under the patronage of the Congress

[24/04/2015 17:00:00] ''Congress welcomes the signing on 23 April 2015 of a partnership agreement between the cities of Strasbourg (France) and Kairouan (Tunisia) under the patronage of Congress,'' said Andreas Kiefer, Congress Secretary General on behalf of President Jean-Claude Frécon. ''Congress is engaged in fruitful cooperation with the city of Kairouan, which in 2014 organized the Arab week of local democracy, for the third time. We hope that the future status of partner for local democracy adopted by the Congress last October and intended for local elected representatives from the Council of Europe’s neighboring countries will allow us to further expand this cooperation, '' he added. Photo: Lassad Ghdami, Mayor of Kairouan, Roland Ries, Mayor of Strasbourg et Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress
Speech A.Kiefer (French)

Eastern Partnership: Congress participates in annual CORLEAP conference

[24/04/2015 14:30:00] “The CORLEAP and the Congress share a great affinity and we believe that we have great potential for synergies” said Congress Vice-President Nataliya Romanova (Ukraine, ILDG) at the annual meeting of the Conference of Local and Regional Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP) held in Brussels on 23 April 2015. Mrs Romanova presented the current important developments, in particular the strengthening of the Congress’s co-operation activities through the signing, last December, of the Council of Europe/European Union Eastern Partnership Programmatic Co-operation Framework 2015-2017. This includes a programme on strengthening institutional frameworks for local governance. “The Congress supports positive change in the member states of the Eastern Partnership region through its work of monitoring local democracy, election observation, post-monitoring dialogue and practical co-operation programmes”, recalled Mrs Romanova.
More information on the website of the Committee of the Regions

Jean-Claude Frécon meets the King and Queen of the Belgians

[21/04/2015 16:00:00] Jean-Claude Frécon, President of the Congress, today met the King and Queen of the Belgians, who were on an official visit to coincide with the Spring Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The President gave the Belgian royal couple an overview of the Congress’ activities, in particular monitoring local and regional democracy, fighting radicalisation and promoting intercultural dialogue and youth participation. The King and Queen showed particular interest in the Congress’ work on deradicalisation (a subject that had been discussed at the 28th Session in March with the participation of the Mayor of the Belgian town of Vilvorde, which is particularly active in this field) and in the Pact of Towns and Regions to stop sexual violence against children, which is the equivalent at local level of the activities carried out at national level by governments and the Parliamentary Assembly in the context of its ONE in FIVE campaign. The President also attended the speech which the King made before the members of the Parliamentary Assembly and took part in the inauguration of the exhibition by the Belgian cartoonist, Philippe Geluck, on the theme “Le Chat aime les droits de l’homme” –the Cat likes human rights”. The cartoonist was also present.

Speech by Juliana Hoxha at the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Cultural Heritage

[23/04/2015 15:00:00] “The Congress has a key role to play in the preservation of cultural heritage as a means of building more inclusive societies”, said Congress Vice-President Juliana Hoxha (Albania, SOC) at the 6th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Cultural Heritage, entitled “Cultural heritage in the 21st century for living better together. Towards a common strategy for Europe”, held in Namur (Belgium) on 23 April 2015. Among other things, she called on local authorities to implement policies to raise awareness of the importance of cultural heritage for recording our past and building the future, to create a favourable climate by encouraging the active participation of citizens, including migrant communities and minorities, in local political life, to foster intercultural dialogue against hatred, exclusion and xenophobia, and to protect cultural heritage against new threats. She also referred to the resolutions adopted by the Congress at the 28th Session in March 2015 on combating radicalisation and on the responsibility of local authorities for protecting, preserving and managing burial places as part of local history.
More informations

Jean-Claude Frécon: “Europe must bring a halt to the diabolical sequence of humanitarian disasters in the Mediterranean'

[21/04/2015 10:00:00] 'In response to the diabolical sequence of humanitarian disasters in the Mediterranean, Europe must show resolve and set up effective mechanisms to organise surveillance and rescue in the maritime areas concerned. Europe must also join forces with the local authorities and help them to deal with the migrants arriving on their territory', urged Jean-Claude Frécon, the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, in response to the sinkings that have occurred in recent days. “In addition to the horror that we feel when hearing of these tragedies, which are now occurring so unbearably frequently, we must act on several levels, European, national, but also local and regional, to deploy efficient strategies on both shores of the Mediterranean to avoid these disasters. We call on the participants at the extraordinary European Summit to be held on Thursday to take account of the need for discussion at all levels”, he added.
Press release
Debate « Local authorities facing migration flows » - March 2015
Declaration on “Emergency in the Mediterranean: the tragedy of Lampedusa” - October 2013

A run to raise public awareness of violence against children and promote the Council of Europe’s ONE in FIVE campaign

[20/04/2015 12:00:00] Clemens Lammerskitten, (Germany, EPP/CCE) Congress Vice-President, accompanied by Andreas Kiefer, Congress Secretary General welcomed, on Monday 20 April 2015, John McGurk and 20 other runners representing the “4a Children’s World” association from Osnabrück. Mr McGurk is leading a two-week run across Germany to draw attention to the sexual violence suffered by children, while also promoting the Council of Europe’s ONE in FIVE campaign to stop sexual violence against children. Andreas Kiefer, on behalf of the Congress President, invited Mr McGurk to urge the local authorities he will meet during the run to adopt and sign the Congress Pact of Towns and Regions to Stop Sexual Violence against Children, while encouraging them to introduce policies and strategies to ensure effective protection. He also stressed that the German government has not yet signed the Lanzarote Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. The run will start in Munich and pass through Frankfurt, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Bremen, Hamburg and Dresden before ending in Berlin on 5 May 2015.
More information on the One in Five campaign
Website of the association '4a Children’s World'
Photos Gallery (Flickr)

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