Latest News (Site updated Wednesday, September 28, 2016 | 17:00)
Congress’ delegation to observe local elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina
[27/09/2016 18:30:00] A delegation of the Congress will undertake a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina from 28 September to 3 October 2016, to observe the local elections scheduled for 2 October in the country. Headed by Congress Rapporteur Stewart Dickson (United-Kingdom, ILDG), the delegation includes twenty Congress members, five members of the EU Committee of the Regions and two members of national associations of local self-government. Prior to Election Day, meetings are scheduled on 29 and 30 September in Sarajevo, where the delegation will exchange views with representatives of the diplomatic corps and the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina and with the President of the Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr Ahmet Santic. The current situation of grassroots’ democracy in the entities will be at the center of meetings with Mr Mato Jozic, Minister of Justice, Government of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and with the Secretary General of the Association of Local Authorities of Republika Srpska, Mr Aco Pantic.
On Election Day, 2 October, the Congress delegation will deploy 12 teams to different regions of the country. A Press Conference will be held on Monday, 3 October 2016, at 12:00 to present the preliminary conclusions of the mission.
Press release Draft Programme - Main Mission (28 September – 3 October 2016) Programme of the pre-electoral mission (7-9 September 2016) File - 2016 Local Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Congress concludes Electoral Assessment Mission in Armenia
[19/09/2016 18:30:00] In the frame of its targeted mission to assess the local by-elections held on 18 September 2016 in a part of Armenia's communities, a 15 member delegation from the Congress, headed by Congress' Rapporteur Liisa Ansala (Finland, ILDG), was deployed in four regions of the country. For Liisa Ansala the improvement of the quality of voters' lists in Armenia is of crucial importance for the trust of citizens in the system: 'Transparency - together with more competition between candidates - is needed to increase the interest of the population in local elections which are currently mainly seen as a formality by the citizens. We will see in how far the new Electoral Code, introducing the proportional electoral system, and the decentralisation reform, which is currently being implemented, will be able to change the situation to the better. 'The detailed Information Report following the Electoral Assessment Mission will be debated in the frame of the 31st Congress Session on 19-21 October in Strasbourg.
Press release Photo Gallery
5th General Meeting of the national associations of local and regional authorities
National associations of local and regional authorities discuss the Congress priorities 2017-2020
[20/09/2016 09:30:00] Representatives of national associations of local and regional authorities have been meeting in Paris, at the invitation of the Congress, to discuss the latter’s draft priorities for the period 2017-2020. “Essentially, this draft is based on the Congress’s terms of reference which are to evaluate and develop the situation of local and regional democracy in the 47 Council of Europe member states,” said Gudrun Mosler-Törnström (Austria, SOC), co-rapporteur and President of the Chamber of Regions, introducing the debate. “To rise to the challenges facing us in Europe, there has to be action at national level, but we also need to devise strategies at local and regional level,” said Anders Knape (Sweden, EPP/CCE), co-rapporteur and President of the Chamber of Local Authorities, stressing the need to take into account the objectives of the Council of Europe and the international context. Participants at the 5th General Meeting of the National Associations underlined the particular urgency of ensuring that local and regional authorities have the appropriate resources to be able to fulfil new obligations. This exchange took place the day before the meeting of the Congress Bureau which will be finalising the draft priorities for their adoption at the 31st Session (19-21 October 2016).
Congress priorities 2017-2020
Jean-Claude Frécon: “National associations of local and regional authorities are the Congress’s natural partners”
[19/09/2016 16:30:00] “At a time when Europe is facing growing extremism and radicalisation and the challenges of receiving and integrating a substantial influx of refugees and migrants, and when public distrust of national or European institutions and their representatives is also on the rise, I consider it more crucial than ever to strengthen the role of elected representatives on the ground and promote grassroots activities”, said Jean-Claude Frécon at the opening of the 5th General Meeting of the National Associations of Local and Regional Authorities in Paris on 19 September 2016. “It is you, the national associations who have the ability to unite elected representatives and make them work together to assist their fellow citizens more efficiently”, he added, while hailing the role of national associations as the “natural partners” of the Congress and central governments.
Speech by Jean-Claude Frécon (French version)
Integration of migrants: local and regional authorities must be involved in national and European policies
[19/09/2016 17:00:00] The Congress held an exchange of views on the role of local and regional authorities in the face of migration with representatives from 34 national associations of local and regional authorities, gathered in Paris, on 19 September 2016, for the regular General Meeting organised by the Congress before its renewal session. “Without necessarily having powers and resources at their disposal, local and regional authorities are in fact finding themselves faced with managing the influx of refugees and migrants”, stated the Secretary General of the Congress, Andreas Kiefer,who opened the discussion by introducing the report “Reception and integration of migrants and refugees at local and regional level”, prepared by Yoomi Renström (Sweden, SOC) and György Illes (Hungary, ILDG).
The participants unanimously underlined that this is an issue which must be coordinated at European level and which cannot be solved solely at national level.
Decentralisation: “Congress will support Ukraine in the crucial phase and welcomes the commitments to proceed from advice to implementation of the reform” stated Andreas Kiefer
[15/09/2016 10:30:00] The Secretary General of the Congress, Andreas Kiefer, met Deputy Minister Maksym Malashkin, Ministry of regional development, and Sergiy Vlasenko, Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on state building, regional policy and local self-government of the Parliament of Ukraine and a delegation of the chairpersons of the respective subcommittees at the Palais de l’Europe in Strasbourg, on 14 September, in the framework of the project “Decentralisation and territorial consolidation in Ukraine”. The Congress Secretary General recalled the fruitful political dialogue established between the Congress and the Ukrainian national authorities, which led to the signing of a roadmap for implementation of the decentralisation reform, in May 2015. In light of this, he stressed the crucial need for the Ukranian Parliament to take the necessary decisions to implement the reform without further delay. Andreas Kiefer also reiterated Congress’ interest and support for Ukraine and the ongoing constitutional and decentralisation reform process in the country. “Times have changed and today Ukraine proceeds from receiving advice to implementing the reforms it has decided to undertake. I am very happy that this was the clear message I received during my visit to Ukraine in August and most recently from Foreign-Minister Pavlo Klimkin during his visit to Strasbourg last week”, he concluded.
Full text of the news File - Congress activities in Ukraine Photo gallery (Flickr)