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Leen Verbeek: “The Turkish Constitution should recognise the interests of all parts of the population”

[22/01/2015 15:00:00] Leen Verbeek (Netherlands, SOC), Vice-President of the Congress, took part in the Roundtable Meeting “Towards Turkey's New Constitution” organised by the Venice Commission of Council of Europe in cooperation with TESEV Democratization Program held on 22 January 2015, in Ankara, Turkey. “A basic condition for a Constitution that will win the support of all parts of society is an approach whereby the national government recognises not only the interests of the majority, but also the interests of minorities. This should include trust in the democratic correction mechanisms available at regional and local level,” he underlined, stressing the risk of distrust between the national government, regional bodies and local authorities. “For 20 years, the Congress has been in a dialogue with the Turkish authorities to strengthen local and regional democracy through regular monitoring missions, targeted fact-finding visits and missions to observe local and regional elections. In 2016, a monitoring mission is planned to Turkey and I will be participating in this mission,” he added. Refering to the last Monitoring Report on Turkey, adopted by the Congress in March 2011, he called on the Turkish Authorities to undertake constitutional and legal amendments – as well as changes in territorial practice – which should rest on three major principles: subsidiarity, partnership, and financial autonomy.
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Programme

Cooperation programmes : Call for expression of interest for the assignment of short-term international experts

[21/01/2015 14:30:00] The Congress implements bilateral and multilateral projects as part of the democracy component of the Council of Europe Action Plans and priority documents for its member states such as Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, as well as Belarus and Kosovo, and the Eastern and Southern neighbourhood (Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Kazakhstan). These projects provide capacity-building and awareness-raising activities on local democracy principles for mayors and municipal councillors as well as for other actors of local democracy. They also support to the institutional development of local government associations and policy advice to reinforce the dialogue with national authorities. The Congress is looking for international experts to contribute to the implementation of current, and forthcoming, co-operation projects under the guidance of its Secretariat both in the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg (France) and in the Council of Europe Offices located in target countries. Candidates must submit their curriculum vitae in English or French possibly in Europass format to congress.cooperation@coe.int with a subject line 'Call for experts'.
Call for interest – more information
Special file Congress Cooperation programmes

Jean-Claude Frécon: ''Mobilisation needed for rule of law to prevail over terrorism''

[08/01/2015 11:00:00] Replying on 7 January to a question from a French journalist about the outrage against Charlie Hebdo, Jean-Claude Frécon, President of the Congress , declared: ''The outrage against Charlie Hebdo is an ignoble act of barbarism which revolts us. The murderers contemptibly killed police officers, journalists, several men and one woman. But they did not act haphazardly; they wanted to silence the free press that is the hallmark of our democracy. In tribute to the memory of the victims and to their courage, it behoves all believers in democracy to mobilise in order that freedom of expression may remain the cement that bonds our democratic society and rule of law may prevail over terrorism.''
Press release
Reactions - Council of Europe

Communication of the Congress Secretary General to Committee of Ministers

[10/12/2014 17:30:00] In his communication to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 10 December 2014, the Congress Secretary General Andreas Kiefer presented an overview of the activities of the Congress in recent months, particularly the work of monitoring the local and regional democracy and the observation of local elections as well as the political dialogue with Member States and cooperation activities developed in recent years in close collaboration with its partners in the Council of Europe and outside. He recalled that a Congress delegation is currently in Ukraine in the framework of the post-monitoring dialogue to support the authorities to implement the decentralization reform in this country.“Now that all 47 member states have ratified the European Charter of Local Self-Government and that an increasing number of them have accepted to apply additional articles of the Charter, one of the key priorities in 2015 and beyond will be to establish a common European space of local democracy,” the Secretary General stated.
Speech
Activity report CG(27)19

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The agenda in brief 
27 January - Signature of the Pact of towns and regions to stop sexual violence against children / Eupen, BELGIUM

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Drapeau européenPolitical dialogue with governments
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Belgian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers
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Leyla GüvenLeyla Güven, former Congress member
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