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5th General Meeting of the national associations of local and regional authorities: stepping up co-operation with the Congress on shared priorities

[07/07/2016 10:30:00] On 19 September 2016, in Paris, the Congress will hold the 5th General Meeting of the national associations of local and regional authorities of Europe. This meeting, which the Congress has held regularly since 2006, provides an opportunity for dialogue and exchange between national representatives of local and regional authorities and the Congress on major issues of common interest. The goal of this 5th General Meeting is to discuss the Congress’s future work priorities for the period 2017-2020, to be submitted for adoption at the next Congress session (19-21 October 2016). The meeting will also be an opportunity to examine the work of the national associations on three key themes among the Congress’s priorities, namely the reception and integration of refugees, radicalisation and violent extremism, and ethics and the fight against corruption. The representatives of the national associations will be able to discuss these matters with the spokespersons and thematic rapporteurs of the Congress, in the presence of the Congress President, Jean-Claude Frécon, and the Presidents of the two Chambers Gudrun Mosler-Törnström (Chamber of regions) and Anders Knape (Chamber of local authorities), who are also rapporteurs on the priorities.
Draft programme
Congress priorities 2017-2020
Registration form (reserved for national associations)

Council of Europe grant to improve transparency and communication of the Communities Association of Armenia

[03/08/2016 10:30:00] Executive Director of the Communities Association of Armenia (CAA), Natalia Lapauri and the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Yerevan, Natalia Voutova signed on 29 July 2016 a grant agreement designed to support the Association in the implementation of its strategic objectives. These objectives are improving communication with and between members of the CAA and other stakeholders and enhancing transparency. The Association’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020, developed with support of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe within the framework of the “Institutional support to Communities Association of Armenia”, was approved by the Republican Council of the CAA on 28 July 2016, following a four month-long participatory process.
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John Warmisham “Keeping the memory of the Roma genocide is an important part of our fight for the rights of Roma people”

[03/08/2016 11:00:00] “Engaging with the past to keep the memory of the Roma genocide alive is to acknowledge the importance of the fight against the discriminations this population still faces today” declared Congress Vice-President and Thematic Rapporteur on Roma issues Mr John Warmisham (United Kingdom, SOC) on the occasion of the International Remembrance Day of the Roma Holocaust (“Pharrajimos”). The Remembrance Day commemorates the 72nd anniversary of the extermination of more than 3,000 Roma inmates in the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chambers on the night of 2-3 August 1944. Mr Warmisham also expressed his concerns over “today’s climate of growing racial tensions that is a threat to our commitment to build a free and democratic future.” To help improve the integration of more than 10 million Roma estimated to live in Europe, he reiterated his call for a closer cooperation between local and regional authorities. This echoes the recent approval on 15 June by the Congress Current Affairs Committee of a report on “The situation of Roma and Travellers in the context of rising racism and xenophobia” that will be debated during the next Congress session in October 2016. The Congress has helped implement local and regional strategies to strengthen Roma integration through the “European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the inclusion of Roma and Travellers” and other Council of Europe initiatives such as the 2010 “Strasbourg Declaration on Roma”, “ROMACT” as well as the “ROMED2” programs.
Resolution 333(2011) “The situation of Roma in Europe: a challenge for local and regional authorities”
Recommendation 315(2011) “The situation of Roma in Europe: a challenge for local and regional authorities”

Jean-Claude Frécon signs post-monitoring roadmap with government of the Republic of Moldova

[08/07/2016 09:30:00] The President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Jean-Claude Frécon, and the Secretary General of the Government of the Republic of Moldova, Tudor Copaci, signed a roadmap for the implementation of Recommendation 322 (2012) on local and regional democracy in the Republic of Moldova in Chisinau on 7 July 2016, in the presence of Tatiana Badan, Chair of the Congress of Local Authorities of Moldova (CALM). “The signing of the roadmap marks our shared commitment to work towards improved local and regional democracy rooted in the principles laid down in the European Charter of Local Self-Government,” said Jean-Claude Frécon. He pointed out that the recommendation adopted by the Congress in 2012 invited the Moldovan authorities to implement the National Decentralisation Strategy. “The strategy was adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova on 5 April 2012 and supplemented with an action plan (2012-2015) aimed mainly at implementing decentralisation. Your commitment to this short timeframe once again demonstrates strong political will,” he added.
Press release
Speech by Jean-Claude Frécon (French)
Recommendation 322 (2012)
European Charter of Local Self-Government
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Yoomi Renström: “Lithuanian constitutional amendment proposal to ban same-sex couples from the concept of family life is a step back from Europe’s promise to protect the rights of LGBT people”

[21/07/2016 15:30:00] Congress rapporteur for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT), Yoomi Renström (Sweden), condemned the vote taken in June in the Lithuanian Parliament in favour of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex couples from the constitutional concept of family life. “This proposal goes against Europe’s progress towards an open and modern society and to our understanding that the rights of individual citizens and equality before the law should prevail against an unqualified defence of old traditional values. A family constellation today can be imagined in many different ways, regardless of what people think is right or wrong, and a constitution that defines a family in a narrow way will put the children in other kinds of families at risk. This is not in line with the protection of children’s rights” she underlined. Ms Renström concluded that after all the progress made in promoting the rights of LGBT people, it was worrying to see a member State of the Council of Europe such as Lithuania backtracking on hard won progress.
News
Resolution 380 (2015) on LGBT people’s rights
Recommendation 370 (2015) on LGBT people’s rights
Explanatory memorandum CPL(17)2
Lithuanian Gay League website

Young local leaders in Ukraine propose new local initiatives

[11/07/2016 12:30:00] 24 young local leaders, including 10 local councillors from four regions of Ukraine (Chernihiv, Rivne, Sumy and Volyn), discussed their role as future leaders during a seminar organised by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in Chernihiv from 5 to 7 July 2016. Natalia Romanova, Vice-Governor of the Chernihiv region and former Vice-president of the Congress, sharing her vision of local self-government reform challenged the participants: “Your generation has the power to change things. Don’t be afraid to cooperate with Mayors and Councillors”. Participants discussed with Congress members Saimir Plaku (Albania, NI-NR) and Saara Ilvessalo (Finland, SOC), and experts how to introduce change at the local level, increase citizen participation, encourage ethical decision-making and prevent corruption as well as how to get further involved in view of the forthcoming local elections. They developed a set of initiatives to be implemented in their communities as a follow-up to the seminar. The seminar was organised in the framework of the “Promoting local democracy in Ukraine” project, which is part of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine 2015-2017.
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