|Congress President meets with the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev||Secretary General Andreas Kiefer presents the Congress activity report for the period December 2013 to mid-April 2014|
|Congress President, Herwig van Staa (Austria, EPP/CCE), met with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, on 18 June 2014 in Baku. During the meeting, Mr van Staa confirmed the readiness of the Congress to support the local and regional dimensions of the priorities of the Azerbaïjan Chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers. He expressed the Congress’ satisfaction in co-organising the conference on youth participation which took place in Baku on the same day. He also underlined that further exchanges between young people and the sharing of experiences from other European countries will contribute to the consolidation of local democracy in Azerbaïjan. The Congress President also accepted the invitation from the Minister of Justice, Fikrat Mammadov, to pay an official visit later this year.||
On 16 April 2014, Congress Secretary General Andreas Kiefer gave the Ministers’ Deputies a presentation of the recent Congress activities. He underlined that “empowering youth” would be the focus of both Congress sessions and other activities in 2014. He also recalled that in 2014 the Congress was celebrating its 20th anniversary and had held a special ceremony for this during the March Session. An urgent debate had been held on the situation in Ukraine, with the Congress adopting a declaration stating that it defended the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The Congress had declared itself ready to send a delegation to Ukraine, including the Crimea, to discuss the situation there, and was currently preparing an observation mission for the local elections on 25 May. Andreas Kiefer underlined the growing number of invitations to observe local or regional elections as another sign of the relevance of the Congress’ work.