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The Congress supports Pope Francis’s call for a “new agora” for dialogue between all civic and religious groups

[25/11/2014 17:00:00] Speaking at the end of the visit by Pope Francis to the Council of Europe, the President of the Congress Jean-Claude Frécon (France, SOC), welcomed the Pope’s speech and his call to continue the dialogue to maintain the peace so desired by the founding fathers of the Council of Europe. “This dialogue must be pursued at all political levels – European, national, regional and local, and must also include the inter-faith level so as to encompass all the constituent elements of our societies,” said Jean-Claude Frécon. In his speech, Pope Francis called for the creation of “a sort of new agora in which all civic and religious groups can enter into free exchange, while respecting the separation of sectors and the diversity of positions”. “As President of the Congress, I give my unreserved support to the creation of such an agora tying in perfectly with the objectives of the Council of Europe and the Congress which are to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” said Jean-Claude Frécon.
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Conference on ''Minority Protection in South East Europe''

[27/11/2014 11:30:00] ''Local and regional governments and elected representatives are full-fledged actors and stakeholders in creating conditions for the exercise of human rights in their communities and in ensuring their full implementation,'' stated Juliana HOXHA, Vice-President of the Congress addressing the First Regional Conference on the project ''Minority Protection in South East Europe'' in Skopje, on 26 November. This joint project of the Council of Europe and the European Union is aimed at improving access to rights for minorities at various levels of government based on the existing Council of Europe standards in this field. It includes a grants scheme to support 36 municipalities in developing concrete responses to remove the barriers facing the implementation of minority rights at local level. ''The Congress fully supports the approach focused on putting standards into practice and provoking change in policies at local level. This project has raised considerable interest among local authorities from the seven beneficiary countries. The 150 applicants are proof of the need for such support, the validity of the method and why the Congress and the Council of Europe should continue supporting the protection of minorities at local level'', she added.
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Meeting of the Contact Group Committee of the Regions/Congress

[18/11/2014 10:30:00] On 18th November 2014, Jean-Claude Frécon (France, SOC), Congress President, took part in the meeting of the Contact Group Committee of Regions/Congress held in Brussels with the participation of the Ambassador of the European Union to the Council of Europe Jari Vilen and the Ambassador of the Council of Europe to the EU Torbjørn FRØYSNES. Among the items on the agenda were the state of play of the relations between the European Union and the Council of Europe, priority areas of cooperation between the CoR and the Congress, the state of local and regional democracy, multilevel governance and decentralisation processes, as well as the neighbourhood policy of both Organisations. The Congress delegation also included Herwig Van Staa (Austria, EPP/CCE), Gunn Marit Helgesen (Norway, EPP/CEE), Lulzim Basha (Albania, EPP/CCE), Sabine Steppat (Germany, SOC), Leen Verbeek (Netherlands, SOC), Marc Cools (Belgium, ILDG)and Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress.
Jean-Claude Frécon presents “partner for local democracy” status
Herwig van Staa : ''There is no level of government which has a monopoly on decision-making''

Joint Meeting of the Congress Governance Committee and the EU Committee of the Regions CIVEX Commission

[12/11/2014 12:00:00] On the occasion of the 20th anniversaries of the Congress and the Committee of the Regions, the Congress Governance Committee held a joint meeting with its counterpart in the Committee of the Regions, the CIVEX Commission on 17 November in Brussels. This was the first time the two committees held a joint meeting. Among the items on the agenda were : the protection of the rule of law and human rights at the local level, the regionalisation and decentralisation trends in Europe and the new forms of local governance. The participants also reviewed the recent Congress election observation missions in Georgia and Ukraine, to which CIVEX members had contributed.
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27 November - Diversity Advantage Challenge Prize Jury meeting / Strasbourg, FRANCE

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Drapeau européenPolitical dialogue with governments
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Belgian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers
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Leyla GüvenLeyla Güven, former Congress member
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