Latest News (Site updated Tuesday, May 24, 2016 | 16:30)

Istanbul Declaration : Commitment to Local Action for Social Inclusion

[18/05/2016 13:30:00] Mayors and senior political representatives of cities from different regions of the world, including a large delegation of Congress members, met in Istanbul on the occasion of the “Social Integration Summit” on 17 and 18 May 2016. “We, the local powers, play a significant role in guaranteeing a safe, fair, sustainable and inclusive environment for our citizens” they stated in a Declaration adopted at the closing of the Summit. “Therefore, cities should be both architects and executors of strategies that foster social inclusion […]. We commit ourselves to act in cooperation with relevant stakeholders, and with the participation of the inhabitants, by adopting a participatory approach, empowering individuals, promoting awareness on causes of inequality, developing public services and acting in a sustainable way toward removing all kinds of barriers to employment”, they added. “We commit ourselves to promoting the social development of our cities, guided by the following principles: equity, access, participation and cohesion”, the mayors and political representatives concluded in their Declaration.
Istanbul Declaration
Jean-Claude Frécon: “By strengthening the synergy between the various levels of governance and Europe, we will be able to build a society that offers everybody a future”
Yoomi Renström: Integration and dialogue with migrants must go hand in hand with a staunch defence of our democratic values and their transmission to all citizens''
Leen Verbeek: “There is no typical profile, no traditional route in radicalization processes. It is rather connected to some serious shortcomings of our democracies”
Dusica Davidovic presents the Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma inclusion
Gaye Doganoglu : ''Il faut se mobiliser davantage pour assurer une égalité des chances aux personnes handicapées et leur inclusion dans la vie de la société''
Jean-Philippe Bozouls: “Towns and cities are made for and by all citizens within democratic local authorities”

Ukrainian Mayors united to build trust and co-operation

[24/05/2016 15:30:00] 20 mayors from four regions of Ukraine (Chernihiv, Rivne, Sumy and Volyn) shared their experiences as local leaders and discussed their role in the implementation of the decentralisation reform, in Kyiv on 18 and 19 May 2016. “We should be more open and transparent as local authorities, only this sense, people will trust and trust is an integral part of a stable and prosperous community”, stressed one of the participants. Ukrainian mayors and their peers from Slovenia and The Netherlands shared views on what it entails to be a mayor. “Key to success for a mayor is co-operation and communication with the community” emphasised Congress Member Bernardka KRNC (Slovenia, GILD). During a two-day seminar “Mayors, leaders for change”, mayors discussed their day-to-day challenges through interactive and practical sessions.
Full text of the news

Herwig.van Staa : ''We must work together to put our societies back on course to become more prosperous, more inclusive and more respectful of human rights.''

[24/05/2016 14:30:00] ''National governments have increasingly recognised local and regional authorities as major stakeholders and actors in responding to the challenges faced by European societies; in particular as regards to the political and confidence crisis faced today''. stated Herwig Van Staa, (Austria, PPE/CCE), former Congress President addressing the Round table on the 60th anniversary of the Austria’s accession to the Council of Europe, jointly organised by the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, the Austrian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs as well as the Austrian Institute for European politics and Security. ''Local democracy is a cornerstone of the democratic system and the core mission of the Congress is the effective monitoring of the situation of local and regional democracy in member States,'' underlined Herwig van Staa. ''In the current situation, local and regional authorities have a special role to play and their responsibility is to help finding responses for their communities. In the Congress we believe that it is the pooling of efforts and resources, at all levels of governance – European, national, regional and local that will make us more efficient and will, in the end, produce positive results'', he added.
Programme (German)

Jean-Claude Frécon: ''Grassroots knowledge and close links with the public make local elected representatives key governance partners in the response to the crises currently sweeping Europe”

[18/05/2016 14:00:00] ''The crises that Europe is currently undergoing are different in nature, ranging from the problem of controlling the flow of refugees and migrants to problems of security, including war. Added to this is a wider crisis of confidence among the people in those who govern them and, more seriously still, in democracy'', said the President of the Congress, Jean-Claude Frécon, at the 126th meeting of the Committee of Ministers in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 18 May 2016. ''Local and regional authorities have a particular role to play because of their broad powers and responsibilities. The fight against radicalisation leading to terrorism is a perfect illustration of this: sound grassroots knowledge combined with close links with the public make local elected representatives key partners for prevention, suppression and the implementation of deradicalisation programmes'', he added. ''It is together, at all governance levels, each working within the framework of our own powers, that we can get back on the path towards a more prosperous Europe'', concluded the Congress President, while highlighting the importance of the political dialogue which the Congress keeps up with the Committee of Ministers and its Chairmanships.
Speech (French)

Celebration of Europe day in Vinnytsia: “Council of Europe values are our common heritage and belong to all of us”

[17/05/2016 12:00:00] During the speech given on 14 May at the ceremony to celebrate Europe day, in the presence of Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and Mayor of Vinnytsia Serhiy Morhunov, the Vice-President of the Congress praised the efforts made by the City of Vinnytsia in order to improve living conditions of citizens, to fight corruption and promote higher education of young people. She said these results were made possible by a dynamic and determined municipal policy within a peaceful Europe. She stated that Europe day symbolises the reconciliation between people after the Second World War and celebrates peace and unity in Europe. “We should never forget that it is the process of European construction that has allowed us to make peace with the past and to live without any major conflict since then” she underlined. Mentioning the crisis that have rocked European countries for several years – including the return of war in some parts of Europe and in Ukraine in particular – she said” we must find again the path towards political will and solidarity, to make our societies more prosperous and more inclusive”. Quoting the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Gudrun Mosler-Törnström concluded that “Ukraine has much work ahead of it and Europe is here to help”. Photo: (from left to right): Volodymyr Groysman, Gudrun Mosler-Törnström and Serhiy Morhunov
Photo gallery [Flickr]
Video - TV channel THB
Video - TV channel BITA
Video interview - TV Channel VDT
Celebration of Europe day in Vinnytsia

Congress President presents Congress medal to Yavuz Mildon

[17/05/2016 11:00:00] Congress President Jean-Claude Frécon presented the Congress medal to Yavuz Mildon, honorary member and former president of the Congress, at a ceremony held in Istanbul on 16 May 2016 on the sidelines of the International Social Integration Summit. “Like the Mediterranean Sea, you are a link between several countries and several cultures, between ideas and between women and men whose shared conviction is based on brotherhood and exchanges”, said Jean-Claude Frécon, while praising the open-mindedness and modern approach of Yavuz Mildon, who joined the Congress in 1995 and became its president in 2008. “Through your commitment and your activities, you have contributed to the exchanges between all the shores of the Mediterranean and to improved dialogue between cultures. And we know today just how much that task has again become an urgent priority in political and even humanitarian terms,” he stressed. “Victor Hugo said that the sea was a place of rigour and freedom; I would add that, as a man of the sea, you put rigour and freedom to work for Europe,” he said in conclusion. At the close of the ceremony, the Congress members attended an official dinner hosted by Hasan Akgün, mayor of Büyükçekmece and Congress member.
Speech (French)

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Session 2016

The agenda in brief
27 May - Lessons learnt from the recent crisis and perspectives for coodinated action of International Organisations / Nafplion, GREECE
27 May - European conference on European cities facing radicalisation: communication and counter-narratives / Bordeaux, FRANCE

Calendar of events

Calendar of local and regional elections


Drapeau européenCo-operation activities

Drapeau européenYouth activities
Drapeau européenFocus on Ukraine
VIDEO CLIP - The Congress in brief YouTube

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