Latest News (Site updated Thursday, March 23, 2017 | 17:00)
32nd Session of the Congress to focus on migration, citizen participation and local and regional democracy in Europe
[23/03/2017 10:00:00] The 32nd session (28 to 30 March) will include several debates focusing on the role of local authorities facing migration, the reception of unaccompanied child migrants and border regions facing migration flows. The Congress will also examine the state of local and regional democracy in Finland, the state of local democracy in Malta, Estonia and Iceland, as well as a report on the observation of local elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina (October 2016). In addition, following a fact-finding mission to Turkey in October and December 2016, members of the Congress will adopt a report on the situation in that country and, in particular, regarding the detention of elected mayors and their replacement by persons appointed by the Government. Also on the agenda are the adoption of a checklist for preventing the misuse of administrative resources during electoral processes at local and regional level, as well as thematic debates on citizen participation, youth autonomy and access to employment, open data, human rights at local and regional level, and on the fight against anti-Gypsyism. Within the framework of the Southern Mediterranean Partnership, the Congress will host two delegations from Morocco and Tunisia. The 32nd Session will also mark the 10th anniversary of European Local Democracy Week (ELDW).
Press release 32nd Session Agenda
Declaration against anti-Gypsyism: the Congress calls on local and regional authorities to take a stand
[23/03/2017 09:30:00] At the 32nd Congress Session (28-30 March), a “Declaration of Mayors and Elected Local and Regional Representatives of Council of Europe Member States against anti-Gypsyism” will be presented by John Warmisham the Congress Spokesperson for Roma Issues. The Congress calls on elected representatives of local and regional authorities to sign in order to affirm their explicit opposition to anti-Gypsyism. The Declaration was approved on 9 March by the Current Affairs Committee and signed by its Chair Gabriele Neff and by John Warmisham - a call for signature to which the mayor of Bucharest (Sector Five) Daniel Florea immediately responded. This Declaration will be proposed for signature during the 32nd Session and will be disseminated through the network of the European Alliance of Local and Regional Authorities for the Inclusion of Roma and Travellers.
Declaration of Mayors and Elected Local and Regional Representatives of Council of Europe Member States against anti-Gypsyism European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion
Georgia: 'The territorial integrity of the State is a guarantee for the development of the regional dimension', says the President of the Congress of the Council of Europe
[21/03/2017 15:00:00] Reacting to recent electoral events in Georgia, Congress President, Gudrun Mosler-Törnström declared: 'The 'de facto' authorities of the Abkhazia region in Georgia have just organised elections. In the meantime, the self-proclaimed 'President' of South Ossetia has announced that a referendum will be held in April on the name to be given to this region. These initiatives are illegal and will do nothing to help restore Georgia's legitimate sovereignty over these two regions, but will just contribute to further isolating these regions from the international community.'
'The Congress of the Council of Europe has always shown its commitment to the territorial integrity of member states and we believe that this integrity is the first guarantee of a positive development of the regional dimension in our countries' concluded the Congress President.
Gudrun Mosler-Törnström: “engaging with women at the local level is the surest way to secure the participation of women at all levels of government”
[17/03/2017 12:00:00] “Achieving equal representation between women and men in the political sphere is a persistent challenge” stated Congress President Gudrun Mosler-Törnström at the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women, in New York on 16 March 2017. Considering women are still largely underrepresented in local and regional councils, Ms Mosler-Törnström recalled that engaging with women at the local level is the surest way to secure the participation of women at all levels of government. “If we do not make it possible for women to be present in big numbers at the local level, we will not achieve parity in parliaments and governments” she added. In this regard, she set out different solutions such as the implementation of quotas, which is an efficient way to achieve this goal. “Thanks to a 30 per cent quota requirement, from 2011 to 2016, the Congress managed to increase the percentage of women from 31% to 42% among Congress’ members” she commented. “It is on the ground, as mayors and councilors, that elected representatives develop their political profiles. We need proactive local and central governments to work for ensuring women’s presence at local and regional government levels” Gudrun Mosler-Törnström concluded.
Speech by Gudrun Mosler-Törnström
Ukrainian local councillors provide input to upcoming legislation on their status
[17/03/2017 17:00:00] “Meet peers, exchange views with your community members, and share experiences - this is essential for sustainable democracy” underlined Robert Zeman, member of the Congress (Czech Republic, EPP/CCE) during a three-day workshop which gathered together 27 local councillors from the Lviv, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk and Zakarpattia regions. Organised by the Congress, this event enabled its participants to exchange, in particular, on citizen participation and practical dilemmas related to ethical decision-making. During a session with representatives of the Secretariat of the national Parliament, participants also contributed to the legislation being prepared on the status of local councillors in Ukraine. The workshop was organised in Lviv, from 14 to 16 March 2017, 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.
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The World Forum for Democracy returns with a sixth edition! – Call for submissions
[23/02/2017 09:00:00] The 2017 World Forum for Democracy (WFD) will be held in Strasbourg on 8-10 November. This year, the role of political parties and the media in the context of rising populism will be at the centre of discussion, with themes such as “From democracy of parties to democracy of citizens?” and “Media - friend or foe of democracy?”. Debates will focus, among others, on how to counter populism and foster pluralism in online media rather than extremism and polarisation. Public and private organisations, as well as local and regional authorities worldwide are invited to express their interest in presenting their ideas by filling in the Submission of initiative in the Call for submissions document below and sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 April 2017.
Call for submissions Concept paper World forum for Democracy - website