Latest News (Site updated Friday, April 29, 2016 | 17:00)
Kosovo delegation pays visit to the Congress
[29/04/2016 15:30:00] In the framework of a working visit of a delegation from the Kosovo* Ministry of Public Administration and representatives of the Institute for Public Administration, on 28 April 2016 in Strasbourg, Deputy Minister Hajredin Hyseni expressed interest in co-operation with the Congress, notably in the field of election observation and awareness raising for the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government. Hyseni underlined the commitment of Pristina to implement European standards and that the Strasbourg visit – which was organised with the support of the GIZ (German Society for International Cooperation) and the University of Applied Sciences in Kehl (Germany) - was an opportunity to exchange views with key actors in grassroots’ democracy such as the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. The Deputy Minister invited Congress’ Secretary General Andreas Kiefer to visit Kosovo in order to get an impression of the real situation of local democracy.
*All references to Kosovo, whether the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nation's Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.
Congress concludes mission to assess local and provincial elections in Serbia
[25/04/2016 17:30:00] On Monday 25 April 2016, a 12-member delegation from the Congress concluded an Electoral Assessment Mission focussing on the local and provincial part of the vote organised on the day before, in the Republic of Serbia. The delegation - which was joined by two members of the EU Committee of the Regions - visited more than 120 polling stations throughout the country with a special attention to the elections held in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and the vote organised for the municipal councils. 'Apart from individual irregularities observed by our teams, Elections Day was organised in a calm and orderly manner, largely in line with the regulations', stated the Head of the Delegation, Congress' member Karim Van Overmeire, Belgium. 'However, there is room for improvement of the practical side of the elections, notably regards protection of the secrecy of the vote, and substantial reform is required to complement the legal framework of elections including the monitoring of campaign and party financing, misuse of administrative resources and the quality of the voters' lists', Van Overmeire added.
Press release Programme of the mission Photo Gallery Interview with Mr. Karim Van Overmeire and Mr Zoran Perisic
Exchange of views on the impact of the current refugee crisis on local authorities
[27/04/2016 13:00:00] On the initiative of Ambassador Gerhard Küntzle an informal exchange of views on the impact of the current refugee crisis on local authorities, regions, Council of Europe member States represented in the Committee of Ministers, the European Court of Human Rights and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities took place in Strasbourg on Monday, 25 April 2016. Congress Vice-President Clemens Lammerskitten and Bernd Vöhringer, head of the German delegation to the Congress, referred to the need for a pragmatic approach to enable municipalities and regions to properly respond to the urgent needs of refugees who arrived in Germany. They added that politicians should engage in an active dialogue with the population to ensure acceptance for the living areas chosen for those migrants who wish to integrate. Congress Secretary General Andreas Kiefer presented the outline of a Congress report on refugees and integration currently in preparation which will be presented to the Current Affairs Committee in October 2016. The exchange with the judges of the European Court of Human Rights was considered very useful as cases brought to the Court at a later stage could have their origins in decisions of local authorities.
More information Migrants And Integration - Congress reference texts