Latest News (Site updated Friday, December 2, 2016 | 9:30)
Post-monitoring dialogue, cooperation programmes, fight against radicalisation and promotion of intercultural dialogue among the main Congress activities in 2016
[01/12/2016 15:00:00] Twice a year the Secretary General of the Congress presents the most significant activities and achievements of the Congress to the Committee of Ministers. On 30 November 2016, Andreas Kiefer underlined in particular the signature of two more roadmaps as a follow-up to Congress monitoring reports (Armenia in June and Republic of Moldova in July), the successful implementation of the local democracy dimension of the Council of Europe Action Plans in Ukraine, Armenia, Albania and in the regional programme for the six countries of the UE neighbourhood policy, the launching of an Alliance of cities and regions to fight radicalisation during a first Summit of Mayors in Aarhus and its consolidation during the second Summit in Rotterdam, the elaboration of a toolkit for intercultural and interreligious activities by municipalities as well as the enhanced participation of young delegates in the work of the Congress. As written support to his communication, the Secretary General has made available a written report of activities between mid April and mid November 2016.
Activity Report - CG31(2016)27
Johan van den Hout: “Local Authorities have a key responsibility in safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare”
[01/12/2016 17:00:00] “Local and regional governments are the first witnesses of crimes of sexual violence against children committed inside their own communities” stated Johan van den Hout, Congress Spokesperson on Children, at the 27th meeting of the Network of Contact Parliamentarians to stop sexual violence against children, in Florence on 1 December 2016. The Congress has been working on raising awareness to prevent sexual violence against children at local and regional levels in the 47 member States of the Council of Europe. Speaking about the Pact of Towns and Regions to Stop Sexual Violence against Children which was launched by the Congress in 2012 and which comprises policies and initiatives to guide local and regional authorities”, he said: “Even if the One in Five Campaign of the Council of Europe officially ended last year, the Congress will pursue its efforts to promote the Campaign and the Pact” He referred to the statement issued by the Congress President, Gudrun Mosler-Törnström on the occasion of the European Day on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (18 November) which calls on local and regional authorities to fight against these crimes. Since 2015, the Congress has been organising a biannual seminar for national associations of local and regional authorities to explore ways of cooperation and to encourage them to sign the Congress Pact.
Speech - Johan van den Hout
Eunice Campbell-Clark: “We must bring down barriers to youth participation”
[01/12/2016 16:30:00] “The Congress promotes youth participation and empowerment” stated Eunice Campbell-Clark, Vice-President of the Congress, in a video message delivered on the occasion of the European Youth Festival 2016 on the theme “Digital creativity improving society”, in Graz (Austria) on 30 November 2016. Recalling that this fifth jubilee year of the European Youth Award takes place under the patronage of the Congress, she outlined Congress actions in this field. “We must bring down barriers to youth participation. This is why the Congress adopted a resolution in 2015 in which we asked local authorities to create the opportunities for young citizens and elected representatives to enter into dialogue in order to strengthen the links between them and to explore participation modalities such as co-management” Eunice Campbell-Cark explained. “The Congress also promotes youth participation and empowerment within its own body by inviting youth delegates from Council of Europe Member States to attend Congress sessions and by cooperating with them so that they can develop projects together with their local authorities at home” she added. Finally she welcomed the addition, among the 13 outstanding solutions reflecting the Council of Europe’s goals selected by the jury, of a special category on the refugee movement, integration, and migration.
Speech - Eunice Campbell-Clark
Congress Greeting cards 2017
[01/12/2016 10:00:00] The Congress Season's Greetings 2017 e-card is available online. You can add a personal message and send it to your contacts by e-mail.
Download the greeting card 2017
Gudrun Mosler-Törnström: 'The Congress is a natural partner of CALRE in promoting territorial democracy and tackling the migration crisis'
[25/11/2016 16:30:00] Congress President Gudrun Mosler-Törnström addressed the 2016 Plenary Session of the Conference of European Regional Legislative Assemblies (CALRE), in Varese, on 25 November 2016. She underlined the importance of the cooperation between CALRE and the Congress in the context of the European refugee and migrant crisis and presented the Congress report adopted last October on this topic. “Firstly, local and regional policies promoting migrants’ integration should be seen as a pre-condition for the development of a systemic reception policy. Secondly, our motto must be service provision to the individual human being, regardless of their status as asylum seeker, refugee or migrant, and thirdly, integration must start as early as possible” she stressed. “Regional governments and parliaments have a particularly important role to play here,” she added calling on CALRE members to liaise with the Congress members who sit on their respective parliaments and are therefore natural links between both organisations.
Congress President addresses the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities of Serbia: “decentralisation is a collaborative process”
[25/11/2016 11:00:00] Speaking at the 44th General assembly of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities of Serbia on 24 November, Gudrun Mosler-Törnström, President of the Congress underlined the importance of the reforms on decentralisation undertaken by Serbia. ”The Congress is strongly supporting this process in all member States and my participation in this meeting today shows the attention we grant to the work of national associations of local and regional authorities” she said, praising the strength and efficiency of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities of Serbia. In a bilateral meeting, Minister of Public administration and local self- government, Ana Brnabić, confirmed that decentralisation must be achieved in close cooperation with the Standing Conference. Ms Mosler-Törnström presented the Congress monitoring and post-monitoring dialogue as “very helpful instruments that central authorities should use on their way to develop local self-government and promote capacity building of local authorities”. The Congress will organise a regular monitoring visit to Serbia end of February 2017. Minister Brnabić also invited the President to pay an official visit to the country in January 2017.
Young leaders in Ukraine promote local democracy
[24/11/2016 17:00:00] 19 young local leaders, representatives of non-governmental organisations, media and local authorities, shared their perceptions of local democracy and leadership within the reform processes in Ukraine during a three-day seminar, from 22 to 24 November in Lviv (Ukraine). They developed ideas to be implemented in their communities from four regions of Ukraine: Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Zakarpattya, reflecting, in particular, on the challenges of citizen participation in decision-making, accountability and transparency in local authorities. “Being part of this seminar is an unforgettable and valuable experience. Ukrainian participants have much desire to learn new methods to actively bring change in their community. I strongly believe that this type of seminars will have a long lasting impact - not just on participants but on the Ukrainian society” shared Eva Černigoj (Slovenia, ILDG), a young politician herself, when concluding the seminar. The seminar was organised by the Congress 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.
Albanian mayors committed to making a change
[25/11/2016 16:30:00] In the framework of the workshop “Mayors, Leaders for Change”, organised by the Congress from 22 to 23 November 2016 in Durres (Albania), Albanian mayors shared their experience with international peers. They realised that when leading change, similar challenges arise as in other European countries Congress member Miranda Rira (Albania, SOC) pointed out that “Citizens are expecting mayors to change”. All 15 participants agreed with Majlinda Bufi (Albania, SOC) that dialogue with citizens is a must for enhancing local policy making. “Speak with your people, don’t stay with your peers and establishment” recommended Congress member Lelia Hunziker (Switzerland, SOC) while Mary-Hanna Hourigan (Ireland, EPP) encouraged them to “listen to the people and never give up. If you believe in something, you must keep on fighting. Perseverance is key”. Ethical dilemmas in decision-making and the importance of citizen participation were also among the key-topics discussed.
Giuseppe Boschini: “All levels of governance must work together to respond to the refugee crisis”
[25/11/2016 14:30:00] “Local and regional authorities have to respond to the needs of refugees often with only limited support from their national governments or at European level,” said Giuseppe Boschini (Italy, SOC), member of the Congress at the 2016 Lisbon Forum (24 to 25 November) focusing on Migration and human rights: how to structure effective collective action? “In order to respond to this crisis, our local authorities need clearly defined legal and financial frameworks, just as our national governments need European support and solidarity,” he added. He referred to the approach advocated by the Congress based on respect for the human dignity of all migrants, the construction of inclusive societies and co-operation between all levels of governance. Mr Boschini said that the local and regional authorities had a unifying role to play in reformulating the response to the migration crisis. “National governments must also play a key role in providing assistance to local and regional authorities, in particular by clarifying the legal framework in order to facilitate their action,” he concluded.
Speech by Giuseppe Boschini (French version) Programme - Lisbon Forum 2016
Call for proposals for initiatives on transparency, accountability and integrity in local government
[10/11/2016 17:00:00] The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities promotes local democracy and a culture of ethical and inclusive decision-making, as part of the thematic programme “Strengthening institutional frameworks for local governance” in the Eastern Partnership countries. In this context, the Congress is launching a call for proposals for mayors involved in the “Mayors, leaders for change” activities in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The selected local initiatives will foster transparency, accountability and integrity in local authorities. The deadline for the submission of applications is on 7 December 2016.
Call for proposals Annex I: Application Form Annex II: Estimated Budget Annex III: Template Grant Agreement Website PCF