Latest News (Site updated Friday, April 28, 2017 | 16:30)
Challenges of subnational reform at the center of Congress Conference in Eupen
[28/04/2017 10:30:00] The Congress is organising a Conference “Successful territorial reform” on Friday 5 May 2017 in Eupen, Belgium. The event will bring together some 60 participants – politicians, practitioners and academic experts – including the Finnish State Secretary at the Ministry of Local Government and Public Reforms, Jari Partanen, the Armenian First Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Development, Vache Terteryan, and Congress member Luc Martens, Vice-President of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, and President of the Association of Flemish Towns and Municipalities. The Conference will follow up on the report on “Autonomy and borders in an evolving Europe”, adopted by the Congress in March 2016. The participants will discuss the causes, methods and good practice of subnational reform in Council of Europe member States, in four round tables, moderated by Alexander Homann, Head of the representation of the German Community of Belgium in Brussels. On the eve of the Conference, on Thursday 4 May 2017, the Congress Governance Committee will also meet in Eupen, under the presidency of Jean-Louis Testud (France, EPP-CCE).
Press release Agenda Web file
Nawel Rafik-Elmrini: “We need to champion an approach based on reasonable accommodation to build respect for freedom and religion in Europe”
[27/04/2017 15:00:00] “It is through the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular its Articles 8 and 9, that the Council of Europe works to safeguard freedom of religion and human rights, especially in the context of migration”, said Nawel Rafik Elmrini (France, SOC), Vice-Chair of the Congress Current Affairs Committee and Thematic Rapporteur on Diversity, at the high-level seminar on “Freedom of religion in Europe: achievements and perspectives” held in Strasbourg on 28 April 2017 by the Permanent Delegation of San Marino to the Council of Europe. Noting that politicians can sometimes give into dangerous excesses in connection with the migration crisis, she underlined local and regional authorities’ duty to resist such temptations and use their leadership role for establishing dialogue. She presented the toolkit developed by the Congress to encourage the implementation of intercultural and interfaith activities at the local level and to fight against growing radicalisation leading to the rise in violent extremism or sectarian attitudes. This requires teaching about religions, mutual awareness of the various players and the promotion of gender equality, as well as religious neutrality, non-discrimination and exchanges between migrants and host societies. “It is an approach based on reasonable accommodation which would allow for the broadest expression of religious sentiments provided that such expression does not conflict with other fundamental rights that we value and promote through this toolkit,” she said in conclusion.
Meeting with the Greek President: Gudrun Mosler-Törnström calls for greater solidarity with Greece
[27/04/2017 16:00:00] At the meeting with the President of Greece, Prokopios Pavlopoulos, on 26 April 2017, Congress President Gudrun Mosler-Törnström recalled the importance ''of the role of local and regional authorities in the face of the difficulties facing Greece today ''. In particular, she stressed ''the essential role of towns and regions in the reception and integration of refugees, despite the inadequate means at their disposal''. In this perspective, she called for ''greater European solidarity with Greece''. The Greek President, for his part, insisted on ''the situation of coastal and island communities, which are facing the most important challenges''. He welcomed the work and support that Congress has given to his country. The President of the Congress will have another official meeting with the Greek President, in Athens, on 25 May 2017, on the occasion of the Conference on ''Human dignity in times of conflict and crisis - Human rights and humanitarian law'' (26-27 May 2017, Napflion).
Youth participation in local affairs: a key feature of democracy in Ukraine
[28/04/2017 12:00:00] “Sustainable change starts at the local level. Therefore, engaging youth to participate in local affairs is of the upmost importance’’ pointed out Saara Ilvessalo, member of the Congress (Finland, SOC). “It is also the only way to achieve a better and peaceful society”, added Eva Černigoj, member of the Congress (Slovenia, GILD). Sharing their experience as local and regional councillors, both Congress members inspired the 30 young representatives of civil society organisations, media and local authorities from Odessa, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Mykolayiv regions. On this basis, ideas were developed for initiatives to foster citizen engagement for a transparent decision-making and to strengthen local democracy in their community, during the three-day seminar organised by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.
The seminar was organised in the framework of the project “Promoting local democracy in Ukraine”, which is part of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine 2015-2017.
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Albanian Mayors committed to turn their ideas into projects
[28/04/2017 12:00:00] “Citizens elect you for your vision and ideas” shared Vladimir Prebilič, Mayor of Kocevje and member of the Congress (Slovenia, NI), with Albanian peers, during the second workshop “Mayors, leaders for change”. This workshop, organised by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities upon a request by Albanian mayors, aims to support them in the design of projects responding to citizens’ aspirations and in the preparation of attractive applications for funding.
The workshop was followed by a training seminar for political advisers and municipal staff, representing eight Albanian municipalities, and in charge of project definition and implementation.
The workshop “Mayors, Leaders for Change” and the subsequent training seminar were organised on 25 to 27 April 2017 in Tirana, within the framework of the project “Strengthening local government structures and co-operation of local elected representatives in Albania - Phase II, Line of Action II: Building a sustainable, pluralistic and unified platform of dialogue for local government in Albania”, implemented by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, with financial support provided by the Government of Switzerland.
Exchange of views of the Secretary General of the Congress with the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
[25/04/2017 16:00:00] The 32nd session of the Congress and the work carried out by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe since the end of November 2016 were the subject of a communication to the Ministers' Deputies on Wednesday 19 April. Secretary General Andreas Kiefer stressed the importance of the debates held during the Session on the situation of local and regional democracy in several member states in the presence of the ministers of these countries (Estonia, Finland, Iceland and Malta). 'The participation of state representatives in the debates shows the relevance of the political dialogue to give concrete follow-up to the Congress's recommendations,' he said, adding that 'more and more member states view the work of the Congress as a positive contribution to their reforms '.
Full text of the news Activity report CG32(2017)29
Call for proposals for initiatives on transparency and citizen participation in Ukraine
Monitoring visit by the Congress to the Principality of Andorra
[20/04/2017 12:00:00] A delegation from the Congress carried out its first monitoring visit to the Principality of Andorra from 25 to 26 April 2017. Co-rapporteurs on local democracy, Ms Gaye Doganoglu (Turkey, EPP-CCE), and Mr Zdenek Broz (Czech Republic, ECR), examined the situation on local democracy in the light of the provisions of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, ratified by the country in 2011. High level meetings were scheduled, in particular with Mr Antoni Martí Petit, Head of Principality of Andorra government, and Mr Jordi Cinca Mateos, Minister of Finance. The delegation also met with the President of the Court of Auditors, Mr Francesc d’Assís Pons Tomàs, the Vice-President of the General Council (Parliament), Ms Mònica Bonell Tuset, the President of the Constitutional Court, Mr Isidre Molas Batllori, as well as the Ombudsman (El Raonador del Ciutada), Mr Josep Rodriguez Gutièrrez.
Press release Programme Photo Gallery - Flickr
The World Forum for Democracy returns with a sixth edition! – Call for submissions
[23/02/2017 09:00:00] The 2017 World Forum for Democracy (WFD) will be held in Strasbourg on 8-10 November. This year, the role of political parties and the media in the context of rising populism will be at the centre of discussion, with themes such as “From democracy of parties to democracy of citizens?” and “Media - friend or foe of democracy?”. Debates will focus, among others, on how to counter populism and foster pluralism in online media rather than extremism and polarisation. Public and private organisations, as well as local and regional authorities worldwide are invited to express their interest in presenting their ideas by filling in the Submission of initiative in the Call for submissions document below and sending it to email@example.com by 30 April 2017.
Call for submissions Concept paper World forum for Democracy - website