The News (Site updated Friday, May 17, 2013 | 16:30)
All Council of Europe member States are now covered by the Charter for Local Self-Government
[16/05/2013 18:00:00] With the signature of the European Charter of Local Self-Government by the Foreign Affairs Minister of the Republic of San Marino, Pasquale Valentini on 16 May 2013, all 47 member states of the Council of Europe are now covered by this international treaty. “The signature of the Charter by the Republic of San Marino completes a cycle commenced in 1985 with the opening for signature of this instrument, which lays down the European standards for local and regional democracy”, stated Jean-Claude Frécon (France, SOC), President of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress. “The application of the Charter over 100% of European territory was indeed one of the major objectives of the Congress,” he concluded. [Photo: (in the foreground from left to right) Pasquale Valentini, Foreign Affairs Minister of the Republic of San Marino, and Thorbjørn Jagland, Council of Europe Secretary General - (in the background) Jean-Claude Frécon, President of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress, and Andreas Kiefer, Congress Secretary General] Press release European Charter of Local Self-Government
Congress delegation carries out a monitoring mission to assess grassroots democracy in the Netherlands
[15/05/2013 09:30:00] The Congress is carrying out a monitoring visit to the Netherlands from 14 to 16 May 2013. Congress Rapporteurs Artur Torres Pereira (Portugal, EPP/CCE) and Jean-Pierre Liouville (France, SOC) are examining the follow-up to the commitments undertaken in the field of territorial democracy and decentralisation, with regard to the Netherlands’ ratification of the European Charter of Local Self-Government in 1991.
High level meetings are scheduled with representatives of the government, namely the State Secretary for Finance Frans Weekers, with representatives of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations as well as with members of the Parliament, of the Council of State of the Netherlands, and representatives of the Audit offices and Ombudsmen.
The delegation will hold meetings with the Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam, representatives of the Municipality of Gouda and the Municipality of Zoeterwoude.
The delegation will also meet with members of the Dutch Delegation to the Congress and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG).
The report on local and regional democracy in the Netherlands should be discussed at the next Congress Session in March 2014.
Photo: Congress delegation meets with the Dutch State Secretary for Finance Frans Weekers Press release Programme
Nataliya Romanova: “It is essential that regions react and find ways to tackle the economic crisis”.
[15/05/2013 15:00:00] ''The economic crisis is turning into a social and political one. In many countries the level of mistrust between citizens and their political leaders is reaching historical peaks'', stated Nataliya Romanova (Ukraine;, ILDG), President of the Congress’ Chamber of the Regions, at the 3rd Summit of the Assembly of European Regions on 'Regions and the Economic crisis' in Paris, France, on 16 May 2013. ''It is essential that European regions react and find ways to tackle the economic crisis, their role should be strengthened in institutional terms. We have to seek the best way of distributing powers between levels of government, with due regard for the principle of subsidiarity. We have to achieve an efficient distribution of the resources available, and, what is most important, we have to ensure that the best possible use of public money is made. For doing so, we have to involve as much as possible the citizens in the decisions that touches upon their daily lives'', she added.
Congress calls on the « Cities for Children » Network to join the ONE in FIVE Campaign
[13/05/2013 14:00:00] “Children’s well-being is at the heart of the Council of Europe’s programme to build a Europe for and with children which seeks to ensure respect for children’s rights across our continent,” stated Clemens Lammerskitten, addressing the 7th Annual Conference of the European Network “Cities for Children” on behalf of the Congress President, on 13 May. He underlined, in particular, the Congress’s commitment to the Council of Europe’s ONE in FIVE Campaign to raise local and regional authorities’ awareness of the role they can play in combating child sexual exploitation and abuse. “We have just launched a Pact of Towns and Regions to Stop Sexual Violence against Children which contains examples of policies, activities, initiatives and structures which we feel local and regional authorities can usefully implement to achieve the aims of the campaign,” he explained, “We rely on networks like your own to spread the word about the Pact and to lobby mayors, councillors, and members of regional parliaments to sign up for it.”
Speech (English) Speech (German) Programme Pact of Cities and Regions to stop sexual violence against children
After Yerevan elections: Congress urges Armenian authorities to seize the opportunity of the Council of Europe Chairmanship to increase voters’ confidence
[06/05/2013 14:30:00] A 12 member-delegation of the Council of Europe Congress composed of representatives from nine European countries including three members of the EU Committee of the Regions has observed the elections for the Yerevan Council of Elders on 5 May 2013. At a press conference in Yerevan, the Head of the delegation and Rapporteur, Stewart Dickson (UK, ILDG), presented preliminary conclusions following the observation of this vote by which also the Mayor of Yerevan was elected. M. Dickson stated that, with the exception of individual incidents in a few polling stations, the elections were carried out in a calm manner and that the vote was technically well prepared, although the counting process needs further improvement. Congress Rapporteur nevertheless invited the authorities to seize the opportunity of the up-coming Council of Europe Chairmanship of Armenia to improve voters’ confidence in electoral processes. “The Council of Europe Venice Commission said that the new Electoral Code of Armenia has the potential to ensure the conduct of democratic elections but legislation alone cannot ensure this. It is the exercise of political will by all stakeholders – and I mean government and opposition - which makes the difference. There has to be fair play without intimidations and other infringements prior to Election Day and there have to be complaint and appeal procedures for an effective remedy in which citizens can have confidence. Only such an environment can ensure genuinely democratic elections and thus improve the confidence of voters in electoral processes', he concluded.
Photo: tert.am Press release Statement by Rapporteur Dickson Special file