Latest News (Site updated Thursday, June 23, 2016 | 16:30)
AER will co-operate with the Congress on the Council of Europe Internet Governance Strategy 2016-2019
[23/06/2016 14:00:00] “Declining trust in political structures and actors in many European countries and low voter turnout in elections show that we need new, transparent, more inclusive and easily accessible tools” stated Andreas Kiefer, Congress Secretary General, addressing the Bureau of the Assembly of European Regions (AER), in Bodø, Norway, on 22 June 2016. “The challenges identified and opportunities offered by information and communication technologies require responses at political level but also need a regulatory framework,” he added. M. Kiefer informed AER members about the activities of the Congress in this field and about the Council of Europe Internet Governance Strategy, adopted in March 2016. “European assemblies of regions, such as the AER and institutions like the Congress, need to take up the role of a knowledge pool for regions. We need to serve as a political platform for discussion on the relevance of e-democracy and e-governance to the regions, as well as to cross-border co-operation. The draft political declaration ‘(R)e-inventing Democracy – a regional approach’ you adopted today is an important step for such co-operation,” he concluded. The AER-Bureau decided to co-operate with the Congress in contributing to the Council of Europe Internet Governance Strategy 2016-2019: 'Democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the digital world'.
Speech by Andreas Kiefer AER Website Photo gallery
The President of the Congress meets the Prime Minister of Estonia
[23/06/2016 15:00:00] On 22 June 2016 Jean-Claude Frécon met Taavi Rõivas, the Estonian Prime Minister, whose country has held the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe since May 2016. The President of the Congress congratulated the Prime Minister on the way in which local democracy had been developed in his country. He made particular reference to the case-law of the Estonian Supreme Court, which recognises the importance of the European Charter of Local Self-Government. “This reference by the Supreme Court, which is quite the opposite of what Thorbjørn Jagland has called “legislative nationalism”, is a good example which the Congress welcomes”, he said. The President also said that the Congress monitored local and regional democracy in member states every five years or so and that a visit to Estonia was planned from 6 to 8 September 2016, while the latest monitoring exercise had taken place in October 2010. The Prime Minister confirmed that an administrative reform was currently taking place in Estonia to give more weight and resources to the municipalities and enable them to provide a high standard of public services to their citizens.
Ukraine : supporting accountability and transparency at local level
[22/06/2016 15:00:00] “It is of the upmost importance that we, as mayors, join forces to ensure that our administrations are accountable and transparent, in order to increase the trust of citizens in their elected representatives” affirmed Sergii Chernov, Vice President of the Congress, at the opening session of the regional seminar on “Local public ethics: from vision to action” organised by the Congress in Kyiv, Ukraine, from 21-23 June 2016. Volodymyr Prokopiv, Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the Kyiv City Council and member of the Congress (Ukraine) stressed that “In the current climate we, as local elected representatives, have to make clear strides towards ensuring that citizens’ expectations are met and that close attention is paid to ethical behaviour and transparency, in both public and private spheres”.
Speech by Sergii Chernov Programme of the seminar
New strategic orientation of the Communities Association of Armenia (CAA)
[21/06/2016 16:30:00] “It is of upmost importance for the Communities Association of Armenia to define its new five-year strategy. We are developing our priorities jointly with our members, striving to ensure that local communities have a strong and trustworthy voice in the new political system of Armenia”, stated Emin Yeritsyan (EPP/CCE), President of the CAA and Head of the Delegation of Armenia to the Congress, during the workshop held on 20 June 2016 in Yerevan, Armenia. A national association of local authorities is a core element of a system of good local governance, as affirmed by the European Charter of Local Self-Government. By enhancing the accountability, effectiveness and efficiency of the CAA, the project directly promotes and strengthens local democracy, which is one of the key priorities of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Armenia 2015-2018.
Monitoring visit by the Congress to Iceland
[17/06/2016 15:30:00] A delegation from the Congress of the Council of Europe will carry out a monitoring visit to Iceland from 21 to 23 June 2016. The delegation will examine the situation on local democracy in the light of the provisions of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, ratified by the country in 1991. Co-rapporteurs on local democracy Mr Jos Wienen (Netherlands, EPP/CCE) and Mr Zdenek Broz (Czech Republic, ECR), will focus on the developments in the field of local democracy occurred since the last Congress monitoring visit in 2009 which led to the adoption of the report on local democracy in Iceland and of Recommendation 283 (2010).
High level meetings are scheduled in Reykjavik, in particular with Mr Hermann Sæmundsson, Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of the Interior, Mr Markús Sigurbjörnsson, President of the Supreme Court, as well as Mr Sigurdur H. Helgason, Director General for the Department of Public Management and Reform at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs of Iceland.
The delegation will also meet the Ombudsman Mr Tryggvi Gunnarsson. A meeting is also scheduled at the Parliament with Ms Vigdís Hauksdóttir, Chairman of the Budget Committee.
The rapporteurs will meet with the representatives of the city of Reykjavik, Dalabyggð, Garðabær, and Reykjanesbær as well as the Icelandic Delegation to the Congress and National Association of Local Authorities.
Seminar in Kyiv “Local public ethics : from vision to action”
[21/06/2016 09:30:00] The Congress is organising a regional seminar on “Local public ethics: from vision to action” from 21 – 23 June 2016 in Kyiv (Ukraine), as part of the EU/CoE Programmatic Co-operation Framework (PCF) for 2015-2017 for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus.
The seminar will bring together local elected representatives, associations of local and regional authorities and experts from across the region and other European countries to share experience on the ways to enhance transparency and develop local public policies with higher ethical standards. Through interactive sessions, the seminar will aim to increase the awareness and readiness of mayors to promote ethical governance in their daily initiatives, and ensure inclusive citizen participation in local decision-making.
More information TV CTH Ukraine (watch meeting video at minute 4)