Latest News (Site updated Tuesday, September 20, 2016 | 15:00)
Congress concludes Electoral Assessment Mission in Armenia
[19/09/2016 18:30:00] In the frame of its targeted mission to assess the local by-elections held on 18 September 2016 in a part of Armenia's communities, a 15 member delegation from the Congress, headed by Congress' Rapporteur Liisa Ansala (Finland, ILDG), was deployed in four regions of the country. For Liisa Ansala the improvement of the quality of voters' lists in Armenia is of crucial importance for the trust of citizens in the system: 'Transparency - together with more competition between candidates - is needed to increase the interest of the population in local elections which are currently mainly seen as a formality by the citizens. We will see in how far the new Electoral Code, introducing the proportional electoral system, and the decentralisation reform, which is currently being implemented, will be able to change the situation to the better. 'The detailed Information Report following the Electoral Assessment Mission will be debated in the frame of the 31st Congress Session on 19-21 October in Strasbourg.
Press release Photo Gallery
Congress concludes pre-electoral mission to Sarajevo
[09/09/2016 15:00:00] A Congress pre-electoral delegation, headed by the Rapporteur Stewart Dickson (United Kingdom, ILDG) concluded on 9 September its mission to prepare the observation of the local elections scheduled for 2 October 2016 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. During meetings with representatives of the Central Election Commission and authorities of the different Entities, the delegation was up-dated on the state of technical preparations and electoral support programmes. Briefings with members of the international community and domestic NGOs gave insight related to underlying issues of the elections. The main Congress observation mission will be carried out as of 28 September and will include a final press conference to present preliminary conclusions on Monday, 3 October 2016, in Sarajevo.
Photo: At the centre, Miroslav LUCIC, President of the City Assembly, East Sarajevo (Republika Srpska) with the members of the Congress delegation. Programme Photo gallery (Flickr) Web site of the City of Sarajevo (bosnian)
5th General Meeting of the national associations of local and regional authorities
National associations of local and regional authorities discuss the Congress priorities 2017-2020
[20/09/2016 09:30:00] Representatives of national associations of local and regional authorities have been meeting in Paris, at the invitation of the Congress, to discuss the latter’s draft priorities for the period 2017-2020. “Essentially, this draft is based on the Congress’s terms of reference which are to evaluate and develop the situation of local and regional democracy in the 47 Council of Europe member states,” said Gudrun Mosler-Törnström (Austria, SOC), co-rapporteur and President of the Chamber of Regions, introducing the debate. “To rise to the challenges facing us in Europe, there has to be action at national level, but we also need to devise strategies at local and regional level,” said Anders Knape (Sweden, EPP/CCE), co-rapporteur and President of the Chamber of Local Authorities, stressing the need to take into account the objectives of the Council of Europe and the international context. Participants at the 5th General Meeting of the National Associations underlined the particular urgency of ensuring that local and regional authorities have the appropriate resources to be able to fulfil new obligations. This exchange took place the day before the meeting of the Congress Bureau which will be finalising the draft priorities for their adoption at the 31st Session (19-21 October 2016).
Congress priorities 2017-2020
Jean-Claude Frécon: “National associations of local and regional authorities are the Congress’s natural partners”
[19/09/2016 16:30:00] “At a time when Europe is facing growing extremism and radicalisation and the challenges of receiving and integrating a substantial influx of refugees and migrants, and when public distrust of national or European institutions and their representatives is also on the rise, I consider it more crucial than ever to strengthen the role of elected representatives on the ground and promote grassroots activities”, said Jean-Claude Frécon at the opening of the 5th General Meeting of the National Associations of Local and Regional Authorities in Paris on 19 September 2016. “It is you, the national associations who have the ability to unite elected representatives and make them work together to assist their fellow citizens more efficiently”, he added, while hailing the role of national associations as the “natural partners” of the Congress and central governments.
Speech by Jean-Claude Frécon (French version)
Local councillors in Ukraine take action to enhance trust and openness in local governance
[19/09/2016 11:00:00] “Dialogue with your citizens and partners is the only way to establish trust, increase your effectiveness and gather support for your decisions” underlined Robert Biedron, member of the Congress (Poland, SOC) and Mayor of Slupsk, during the two-day seminar which gathered 27 Ukrainian local councillors, most of whom hold their first electoral mandate. The seminar was organised 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. Representing the regions of Vinnytsa, Khmelnytsk, Ternopil, and Zhytomyr, the participants exchanged with Congress members and experts on citizens’ participation, ethical decision-making, and their roles and responsibilities within the current decentralisation reform in the country. Further discussing trust and openness in local governance, Andrew Boff, member of the Congress (UK, ECR), councillor from the Greater London Assembly, insisted on the role of individuals to mitigate conflicts of interests and concluded that “if you are confident in yourself, you should fear neither a code of conduct nor your electorate”.
Full text of the news
International Democracy Day 'Democracy should be a culture lived daily by all citizens,' said Jean-Claude Frécon
[15/09/2016 18:00:00] On the occasion of the International Day of Democracy, Congress President Jean-Claude Frécon insisted on the need to develop democracy at all levels of society. 'There can be no democracy at national level without a strong and developed local and regional democracy.' He added that 'democracy should be a culture lived daily by all citizens, and for this we have still some way to go.'
'Next month we are organising a new edition of the European Week of Local Democracy, a pan European meeting coordinated by the Congress and which mobilises each year local and regional actors to promote territorial democracy. I encourage all European cities and regions to participate and to share with their citizens meetings, debates and events,' he added.
European Local Democracy Week
Decentralisation: “Congress will support Ukraine in the crucial phase and welcomes the commitments to proceed from advice to implementation of the reform” stated Andreas Kiefer
[15/09/2016 10:30:00] The Secretary General of the Congress, Andreas Kiefer, met Deputy Minister Maksym Malashkin, Ministry of regional development, and Sergiy Vlasenko, Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on state building, regional policy and local self-government of the Parliament of Ukraine and a delegation of the chairpersons of the respective subcommittees at the Palais de l’Europe in Strasbourg, on 14 September, in the framework of the project “Decentralisation and territorial consolidation in Ukraine”. The Congress Secretary General recalled the fruitful political dialogue established between the Congress and the Ukrainian national authorities, which led to the signing of a roadmap for implementation of the decentralisation reform, in May 2015. In light of this, he stressed the crucial need for the Ukranian Parliament to take the necessary decisions to implement the reform without further delay. Andreas Kiefer also reiterated Congress’ interest and support for Ukraine and the ongoing constitutional and decentralisation reform process in the country. “Times have changed and today Ukraine proceeds from receiving advice to implementing the reforms it has decided to undertake. I am very happy that this was the clear message I received during my visit to Ukraine in August and most recently from Foreign-Minister Pavlo Klimkin during his visit to Strasbourg last week”, he concluded.
Full text of the news File - Congress activities in Ukraine Photo gallery (Flickr)
Jean-Claude Frécon: “Greece cannot be left alone to deal with the flow of refugees”
[07/09/2016 19:00:00] At the invitation of the Governor Rena Dourou, the President of the Congress, travelled to Attica Region, accompanied by a delegation, on 6-7 September. He visited several reception and logistic facilities, in particular the Elaionas and Skaramargas camps, as well as the Logistics centre for the supply of relief items for the refugees. The President of the Congress and his delegation also held a meeting with the Governor and her colleagues to examine the Region’s policy for receiving and integrating refugees. “In the Attica Region, and throughout the whole of Europe, the problem is not only the reception but also the integration of refugees” said Governor Dourou, stressing the political necessity of establishing a network of European regions to jointly discuss the priorities and practical steps that need to be taken. An initiative supported by Jean-Claude Frécon. “The Congress must persuade national governments of the extreme urgency of involving local and regional authorities in the solutions applied by the national authorities” he added, pointing out that to date, Europe had not always made full use of local and regional authorities’ initiatives and reception capacities.
Press release Photo gallery Flickr - Meeting with Rena Dourou and visits of refugees camps All information - Web file Website of the Attica Region
Congress delegation heading for electoral assessment mission in Armenia
[14/09/2016 14:30:00] The Congress is carrying out an electoral assessment mission to Armenia from 14 to 18 September 2016. The delegation, headed by Liisa Ansala (Finland, IDLG), will monitor the local by-elections to be held on 18 September. Preparatory meetings are planned in Yerevan and Armavir, with representatives of the electoral administration, the international community, NGOs, the media as well as local authorities and candidates. On Election Day, seven Congress’ teams will be deployed to assess the vote in the respective areas.
Press Release Programme