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The Congress supports Pope Francis’s call for a “new agora” for dialogue between all civic and religious groups

[25/11/2014 17:00:00] Speaking at the end of the visit by Pope Francis to the Council of Europe, the President of the Congress Jean-Claude Frécon (France, SOC), welcomed the Pope’s speech and his call to continue the dialogue to maintain the peace so desired by the founding fathers of the Council of Europe. “This dialogue must be pursued at all political levels – European, national, regional and local, and must also include the inter-faith level so as to encompass all the constituent elements of our societies,” said Jean-Claude Frécon. In his speech, Pope Francis called for the creation of “a sort of new agora in which all civic and religious groups can enter into free exchange, while respecting the separation of sectors and the diversity of positions”. “As President of the Congress, I give my unreserved support to the creation of such an agora tying in perfectly with the objectives of the Council of Europe and the Congress which are to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” said Jean-Claude Frécon.
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2nd Congress visit in order to examine the situation of local and regional democracy in Greece

[18/11/2014 14:30:00] Artur Torres Pereira (Portugal EPP/CCE) and Gudrun Mosler Törnström (Austria, SOC) carried out a monitoring visit from 18th until 20th November in Greece. On 18 November several meetings were scheduled with the mayors of Paros and Naxos and Small Cyclades Islands, as well as the Director of the Financial Department of the Municipality of Naxos. On 19 November, the delegation met with deputy Mayors of Lagadas as well as with the Mayor of Thessaloniki. Finally on 20 November, they held talks with the Mayor of Athens, the President of the National Centre for Public Administration and Local Government (EKDDA), the Representative of the President of Central Union of Municipalities of Greece, as well as the representatives of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece and the Union of Greek Regions.
Press release

Meeting of the Contact Group Committee of the Regions/Congress

[18/11/2014 10:30:00] On 18th November 2014, Jean-Claude Frécon (France, SOC), Congress President, took part in the meeting of the Contact Group Committee of Regions/Congress held in Brussels with the participation of the Ambassador of the European Union to the Council of Europe Jari Vilen and the Ambassador of the Council of Europe to the EU Torbjørn FRØYSNES. Among the items on the agenda were the state of play of the relations between the European Union and the Council of Europe, priority areas of cooperation between the CoR and the Congress, the state of local and regional democracy, multilevel governance and decentralisation processes, as well as the neighbourhood policy of both Organisations. The Congress delegation also included Herwig Van Staa (Austria, EPP/CCE), Gunn Marit Helgesen (Norway, EPP/CEE), Lulzim Basha (Albania, EPP/CCE), Sabine Steppat (Germany, SOC), Leen Verbeek (Netherlands, SOC), Marc Cools (Belgium, ILDG)and Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress.
Jean-Claude Frécon presents “partner for local democracy” status
Herwig van Staa : ''There is no level of government which has a monopoly on decision-making''

Joint Meeting of the Congress Governance Committee and the EU Committee of the Regions CIVEX Commission

[12/11/2014 12:00:00] On the occasion of the 20th anniversaries of the Congress and the Committee of the Regions, the Congress Governance Committee held a joint meeting with its counterpart in the Committee of the Regions, the CIVEX Commission on 17 November in Brussels. This was the first time the two committees held a joint meeting. Among the items on the agenda were : the protection of the rule of law and human rights at the local level, the regionalisation and decentralisation trends in Europe and the new forms of local governance. The participants also reviewed the recent Congress election observation missions in Georgia and Ukraine, to which CIVEX members had contributed.
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The agenda in brief 
27 November - Diversity Advantage Challenge Prize Jury meeting / Strasbourg, FRANCE

Calendar of events
Calendar of local and regional elections in COE member states
VIDEO CLIP - The Congress in brief YouTube

Drapeau européenPolitical dialogue with governments
Belgian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers
Leyla GüvenLeyla Güven, former Congress member