Austrian chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers and grassroots democracy
Armenia has handed over the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to Austria during a meeting held on 14 November 2013 in Strasbourg. ''The Congress is pleased to see that the quality of democracy and governance at the grassroots level continues to figure on the agenda of the Austrian Chairmanship, after those of Andorra and Armenia,' said Jean- Claude Frécon, President of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress. The priorities presented by Austria emphasize the role of the Congress as a “political assembly which promotes and strengthens local and regional democracy, inter-territorial and cross-border co-operation, as well as active citizenship and social inclusion in towns and regions. The commitment of elected representatives to ethical conduct and the fight against corruption at local and regional level are of topical interest in this respect.''
3-4 December 2013, Graz, Austria Expert Conference on integration policy
7 February 2014, Edmundsburg, Salzburg, Austria Conference on citizen participation
27 February 2014, Landhaus, Innsbruck, Austria Conference on 20 years of Congress and the Committee of the Regions (EN - DE)
31 March – 1 April 2014, Konzerthaus, Klagenfurt, Austria Conference on education and youth (EN - DE)
5-6 May 2014, Palais de l’Europe and Robert Schuman University, Strasbourg, France 3rd Conference on European democracy- EuDEM 2014
8-9 May 2014, Congress Center, Innsbruck, Austria Conference on fighting corruption
Declaration by Congress President on proposed Crimean Referendum [07/03/2014]
Reacting to the announcement of a referendum in the Crimea on 16 March on whether it should join the Russian Federation, Congress president Herwig Van Staa declared:
“I cannot but deplore this initiative. To hold a referendum, at such short notice, using closed questions, without consultation with the national authorities and in the unauthorized presence of military forces, in flagrant violation of international law, is a travesty of the democratic process and one that I condemn. It would be a serious step backwards for the democratic development of this region.
As President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Europe’s Pan-European Assembly of elected representatives of Europe’s towns and regions, I strongly support the development of greater regional autonomy in our member states. Moreover, in its 2013 Recommendation to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, on Regions and territories with special status in Europe, the Congress urges member states to make greater use of the special status model to address the specific needs of regions with special historical and cultural characteristics, of which the Crimea is a striking example.
I would like to point out that the Crimea already enjoys a special status of autonomy within Ukraine. If the people of Crimea wish to further deepen and extend that autonomy, the legal framework exists, within the Republic of Ukraine to revise those constitutional provisions. The Congress would be ready to assist and advise on any such developments.”
The Austrian delegation to the Congress comprises 6 representatives and 6 substitutes. The head of the delegation is Mrs Gudrun Mosler-Törnström. Austrian delegation
"Question/answers" brochure provides information on the political priorities, issues and events related to Austria's chairmanship, in particular of interest for th Congress. Brochure
Media booklet accompanying the DVD "Council of Europe - European integration" produced on the occasion of the Austrian Chairmanship Booklet (German) Video
"Council of Europe" (German)