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The Congress delegation’s high-level meeting to Ukraine comes to its conclusion.
[18/07/2014 15:30:00] During its high-level meeting to Ukraine on 17 and 18 July, the Congress’ delegation, headed by its President Herwig van Staa and comprising Jean-Claude Frécon (France, SOC) and Nataliya Romanova (Ukraine, ILDG), respectively Presidents of the Chamber of Local Authorities and of the Chamber of Regions, as well as the Presidents of the Congress political groups and the Rapporteur on Ukraine, held a large number of interviews in Kyiv and Odessa.
“We have been able to get a complete picture of the current situation in Ukraine and of the major difficulties this country is going through”, declared President van Staa. “The delegation understands that the reforms in Ukraine will not be able to be fully implemented until the problem of territorial integrity and its dramatic consequences are solved.” He particularly underlined the situation of municipalities which have to deal with a massive influx of displaced persons and often, tragically, the arrival of dead bodies, as well as having to organise and finance housing, schooling, and employment”.
President van Staa concluded: “Our delegation has appreciated the willingness the government has shown to reform; we particularly welcome the fact that first steps have been taken, such as the election of mayors - despite these difficult circumstances - which are fully in line with Congress recommendations and clearly illustrate the government’s commitment in this respect.
Conclusions - Communiqué de presse Press release to announce the visit Ukrainian version Spécial File Press review
Congress President condemns attack on Malaysia Airlines civilian flight MH17
[18/07/2014 13:00:00] At a press conference in Odessa at the close of a high-level visit to Ukraine on 18 July 2014, the President of the Congress, Herwig van Staa, made the following statement on the attack upon flight MH17, which killed 298 people: “This attack is a horrifying criminal act. In the name of the Congress I join the international community in its unanimous condemnation of this act. The criminals who committed this despicable act must be identified and brought to justice without delay.”
Press release Ukrainian version
Regional training seminar for young local leaders on local and regional democracy in Ukraine
[10/07/2014 17:00:00] “Ukraine has a unique window of opportunity to carry out an effective decentralisation process. There is a real political will to carry out such a reform today” underlined Nataliya Romanova (Ukraine, ILDG), President of the Congress Chamber of Regions on 17 July, during a Congress Seminar for young local leader in Truskavets (Lviv Oblast, Ukraine). “We need to develop a new political elite”, she added, encouraging the participants to use this opportunity and the support offered by the Council of Europe and most of the European countries. The Seminar is part of a series of regional workshops aimed at spreading a culture of democracy by raising awareness on local and regional democracy principles and developing the participants’ capacity to engage in local elections in an active and qualified manner. Members of the Congress including Svitlana Bohatyrchuk - Kryvko, (Ukraine, ECR), Mairi Evans (United Kingdom, NR) and Sabine Van Dooren (Belgium, ILDG) also exchanged their experience.
Full text of the news News (ukrainian version) Special File Ukraine
Chisinau Declaration: The Congress monitoring Committee expresses its concern about separatist tensions in eastern European countries
[03/07/2014 16:30:00] During its meeting in Chisinau on 3 July 2014, the Monitoring Committee of the Congress adopted a declaration to express its profound concern at the situation of countries of the region faced with dangerous separatist tensions. The statement noted that the annexation of the Crimea by the Russian Federation has unfortunately opened the way to regional destabilisation which threatens the territorial integrity of states . It recalled that the Congress defends local and regional government all over Europe through implementation of the European Charter of Local Self-Government but local and regional self-government cannot truly develop unless countries are stable and societies are at peace.
Chisinau Declaration Press release
Congress pleased by release of Leyla Güven and the other elected representatives detained in Turkey
[03/07/2014 11:30:00] “Leyla Güven and 30 local elected representatives held in Diyarbakir have just been released. After over four years of detention for Leyla Güven, the judge in Diyarbakir Court has just taken a decision that does credit to Turkey”, said the rapporteurs on local and regional democracy in Turkey, Anders Knape, Sweden (L, EPP/CCE), and Leen Verbeek, Netherlands (R, SOC).
For the Congress, the case of Leyla Güven has always been symbolic of the situation of all the local elected representatives detained in Turkey.
“For the Congress, which has been calling for Leyla Güven’s release since her first day in detention, it is a great relief. We are delighted for Leyla and for her family and friends, who are being reunited with her at last after so many years of suffering. We realise that the decision is still shaky. It does not end the judicial procedure and, as rapporteurs on local democracy in Turkey, we will continue with the Congress to keep a very close eye on the situation of Leyla Güven and the other elected representatives being detained”, they concluded.
Photo: Congress delegation visited Leyla Guven in December 2013 Press release