Latest News (Site updated Thursday, July 27, 2017 | 17:30)
CALRE Seminar: “ Public action without engaging citizens is futile”, said Congress President
[27/07/2017 15:30:00] Congress President Gudrun Mosler-Törnström took part in a seminar organised by the Conference of European Regional Legislative Assemblies (CALRE), on 24 July 2017, in Oviedo, Spain, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the founding of CALRE in 1997. Addressing the presidents of regional parliaments from Spain, Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Austria on “Ideas for Europe”, she stressed the importance, for the future of Europe, of decentralisation and citizen’s involvement as the latest report on the State of Democracy, Human rights and the Rule of Law, presented by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland earlier this year, clearly identified. “Decentralisation and dialogue on regional devolution are an essential component of a balanced distribution of powers and therefore enhanced democratic security” she underlined, stating that the most important thing was to build ”an inclusive Europe not only for member countries but first and foremost for European citizens that are at the heart of public policies”. “Regions, as well as local authorities, are taking on the responsibilities for competences that have been traditionally seen as the prerogative of national governments – in the areas of democratic governance, the rule of law and delivery of human rights,” the Congress President added presenting the work of the Congress, and, in particular, its recently adopted Human Rights Action Plan as well as the Human Rights Manual for local and regional authorities which was in the pipeline. “Public action without engaging citizens is futile”, she concluded.
Speech Parliament of the Principality of Asturias Video of the speech (begins at 1:31:00) CALRE website
Switzerland ratifies the Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority
[18/07/2017 11:00:00] Congress President Gudrun Mosler-Törnström welcomes Switzerland’s ratification of the Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority, on 18 July 2017. The report on the state of local and regional democracy in Switzerland, prepared by co-rapporteurs Marc Cools (Belgium, ILDG) and Dorin Chirtoaca (Moldova, EPP/ECC), and approved at the meeting of the Congress Monitoring Committee in Kharkiv, in June 2017, commended the decision of the Swiss Parliament to authorise the ratification of the Additional Protocol which Switzerland already respects de facto. This report will be presented for adoption at the 33rd Session of the Congress (18-20 October 2017). The Protocol will enter into force with respect to Switzerland on 1 November 2017. Switzerland had signed the European Charter of Local Self-Government in 2004 and ratified it in 2005.
European Charter of Local Sefl-Government and additional Protocol
Congress President welcomes the election of Karl-Heinz Lambertz as President of the European Committee of the Regions
[13/07/2017 10:30:00] “I am convinced that you will ensure that the voice of the regions and the cities will be heard at the level of all European institutions and that the regions in particular will be more and more involved in the European Union decision-making process,” said Congress President Gudrun Mosler-Törnström in a letter sent to Karl-Heinz Lambertz, newly elected President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR). “Over the past years, the co-operation between the CoR and the Congress has been very fruitful and I am persuaded that these two institutions can keep on combining their forces and take advantage of the complementarity of their activities. We will continue acting in synergy on the major subjects of concern for the European citizens,” she added. Karl-Heinz Lambertz is an active member of the Council of Europe Congress in which he is currently Vice-President and member of its Chamber of Regions. He also chaired the Congress Governance Committee from 2010 to 2014 and the Socialist Political Group from 2012 to 2016.
Website of the European Committee of the Regions
Forum for Local Democracy in Ukraine: mayors, councillors and young local leaders commit to strengthen good local governance
[07/07/2017 11:30:00] Meeting at the Forum for local democracy in Ukraine, organised by the Congress, some hundred participants - Ukrainian mayors, councillors and young local leaders, as well as Congress members and experts - adopted a final declaration. They committed to increase the quality of representative democracy and to develop participatory strategies to engage citizens in the decision-making processes at the local and regional levels, thereby contributing to the local self-government reform in Ukraine. The declaration emphasizes the need for transparency and trust, as well as for initiatives promoting equal opportunities for women and men and for better participation of young people. The Snovjanka Forum is organised within the project “Promoting Local Democracy in Ukraine”, led by the Congress in the framework of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine 2015-2017.
Press release Newsletter Final declaration (English version) Final declaration (Ukrainian version) Video interviews (Youtube) Video clip Photos (Flickr) Website of the Forum
Ukraine: Council of Europe to support transparency and citizen participation initiatives in five communities
[04/07/2017 15:00:00] Five Ukrainian local authorities (Baranivka, Zytomir Oblast; Chernivtsi; Kreminna, Lugansk Oblast; Pervomaysk, Mykolaiv Oblast; and Fastiv, Kyiv Oblast) will receive financial and expert support to implement local initiatives aimed at making their governance more open, inclusive, responsive, transparent and accountable to citizens, whilst ensuring that gender perspective is taken into account. During the Forum for Local Democracy in Ukraine, which kicked off today in Snovjanka, Chernihiv region, the Head of the Council of Europe office in Ukraine, Marten Ehberg, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with each of the mayors of the five selected cities which will implement the initiatives. 'Democracy starts at the local level, - said Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom, President of the Congress - and must meet these requirements to function effectively'. The Congress is glad to offer you, as local politicians, the structures and tools that will enable you to address and respond to the needs and to the requests of citizens.' These initiatives will be implemented 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. The project aims to improve the implementation of democratic principles in Ukraine, by enhancing the institutional and leadership capacities of local elected representatives (mayors and local councillors), and disseminating nation-wide good practices of local democracy.
Local initiatives (English version) Local initiatives (Ukrainian version) Photos of the ceremony [Flickr] Forum webpage
Congress President meets Prime Minister of Montenegro: “Self-government is our philosophy”
[28/06/2017 16:30:00] On 27 June 2017, during the session of the parliamentary Assembly, the President of the Congress of Local and Regional authorities Gudrun Mosler-Törnström met the Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković. They discussed the situation of local and regional democracy in the country as well as other issues such as the economic crisis, the problems of corruption and radicalisation and the crisis of refugees and migrants. The Prime Minister underlined that his country was committed to the European Charter of Local self-government and would seek to reach the highest level of decentralisation. Montenegro was also willing to be a partner in all current challenges, he added, stressing that it was a multilevel society which could serve as a role model. The President of the Congress welcomed the spirit of reforms shown by the Prime Minister and accepted the invitation to visit the country to see the changes that have occurred over the last years. She underlined that the Charter was more than a text but rather the expression of a philosophy.