Latest News (Site updated Tuesday, June 2, 2015 | 16:00)

Congress to take part in a parliamentary conference on “The implementation of the right to free elections”

[02/06/2015 15:30:00] The conference organised by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the French National Assembly and the Venice Commission is to be held at the National Assembly in Paris on 4 and 5 June 2015. The participants will discuss Council of Europe standards concerning democratic elections and relevant monitoring mechanisms, as well as possibilities for improving legal frameworks and electoral practices. Jean-Claude Frécon, President of the Congress, will address the opening session. Jos Wienen, Chair of the Council for Democratic Elections and Congress Spokesperson on the Observation of Local and Regional Elections, will also address a session on “Inaccuracies in voter lists and difficulties related to the vote of citizens residing abroad.” Lastly, Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress, will chair a session on the functioning of electoral administrations.
Programme (French)

Graz declaration on the implementation of human rights

[29/05/2015 19:30:00] The representatives of the Congress of the Council of Europe, in the presence of local and regional decision makers from 25 countries, coming together on the occasion of the international implementation forum “Focusing on Human Rights” on 28-29 May 2015 in Graz, Austria, adopted today a declaration on the implementation of human rights. “The point of time has come at which it is indispensable to respond to the threats to human rights and fundamental freedoms by means of enforcing the cooperation between authorities at all levels, exchanging best practises and assessing the outcomes of implemented actions in order to pursue a common strategy to enhance inclusion and make human rights a reality in Europe’s cities and regions,” concluded Congress members in their declaration.
Press release
Graz declaration
Grazer Erklärung
File Forum ''Focusing on human rights''

Jean-Claude Frécon: “This declaration follows in the tradition of our work at the Congress”

[29/05/2015 16:00:00] “This forum gave us an opportunity to adopt this political text, which I see as a new departure for our activities” said Jean-Claude Frécon, President of the Congress, about the declaration adopted by the representatives of the Congress in the presence of local and regional decision-makers from 25 countries meeting at the International Forum “Focusing on human rights”, held in Graz on 28 and 29 May 2015. The President also welcomed the commitment of Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, who also took part in the forum, and his unfailing support for the Congress in its work of highlighting the role of human rights at local and regional level.
Speech (French)
Text of the declaration

Local elections in Albania: Congress carries out a pre-electoral visit to Tirana

[28/05/2015 11:30:00] A delegation of the Congress, headed by Gaye DOGANOGLU, Congress Vice-President (Turkey, EPP-CCE), makes a pre-electoral visit to Albania, from 27 to 29 May 2015, in view of the upcoming local elections scheduled for 21 June, the first vote to take place using the new territorial structure. The findings of the Pre-Election Delegation will be the basis for the preparation of the main Congress mission, to be carried out from 17 to 22 June. Photo: The Congress delegation with Lefterije LUZI, Chair of the Central Electoral Commission of Albania (in the centre)
Press release
File “Observation of elections”

The future of young people’s participation in the work of the Congress

[27/05/2015 16:00:00] The ad hoc discussion group on participation by young people met for the first time on 21 May 2015 in Paris. The meeting was held to exchange ideas about how the Congress can promote young people’s participation in its work. The discussion group, set up at the meeting of the Bureau of the Congress on 2 February 2015, comprises three representatives of the Congress (Gunn Marit HELGESEN (Norway, EPP/CCE), Vice-President of the Chamber of Regions, John WARMISHAM (United Kingdom, SOC), Vice-President of the Chamber of Local Authorities, and Malcolm BYRNE (Ireland, ILDG), recently appointed thematic spokesperson on youth) and three representatives of the joint management system responsible for the Council of Europe youth sector (two members of the Advisory Council on Youth, Liam PRESTON, of the European Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Associations (YMCA), and Christian SCHARLING, from the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) were present at the meeting). The group held an exchange of views with Marcio BARCELOS, a member of the Board of the European Youth Forum. Further meetings are scheduled for 2015, with the next one taking place on 30 June 2015 in Strasbourg. For more information:

Leen Verbeek : “Enhancing security through video surveillance requires safeguards for the respect of human rights”

[12/05/2015 14:00:00] Leen Verbeek, Thematic Rapporteur on combating radicalisation and King’s Commissioner for the province of Flevoland (Netherlands, SOC), represented the Congress at the State of the Union Conference organised by the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence on 9 April 2015. “When we speak of security, we think more and more in terms of technology and video-surveillance,” he said addressing the participants in the Session “Security, Freedom and Technology in an urban context”. “But we must be aware of the risks this involves with regard to human rights abuses. Enhancing security through video surveillance is good, provided safeguards are in place such as consultation of citizens, transparency in the aims, as well as proportionality between aims and means,” he stressed referring to the EFUS Charter for a democratic use of video-surveillance. Mr Verbeek insisted on the specific role of local elected representatives in developing and implementing security measures. “Local and regional authorities can play a crucial role in tackling the dilemma of security versus freedom because of their proximity to citizens,” he concluded.
Conference website

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The agenda in brief
3 June - Plenary session of the Committee of the Regions / Brussels, BELGIUM
4 June - Conference on Implementation of the Right to Free Elections / Paris, Assemblée nationale, FRANCE

Calendar of events
Calendar of local and regional elections in COE member states
Drapeau européenYouth activities
Drapeau européenFocus on Ukraine
VIDEO CLIP - The Congress in brief YouTube

Drapeau européenPolitical dialogue with governments
Bosnian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers