Latest News (Site updated Tuesday, May 31, 2016 | 8:30)
Andreas Kiefer : “Refugee crisis represents a challenge for local authorities”
[30/05/2016 14:00:00] “Whatever the status of the persons who arrive at our frontiers, the local authorities’ concern is to address the individuals themselves, their needs and their social rights” stated Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress, on May 27, at the International Conference: “The protection of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants”, in Nafplio (Greece). Mr Kiefer highlighted the challenge the refugee crisis represents for local authorities, especially as far as the delivery of services, the respect for human and social rights and the building of inclusive societies is concerned, and urged support from the regional and local levels of government to face the crisis. He further stressed the responsibilities of regional and local authorities in providing refugees with basic rights such as health protection, an adequate standard of living, education and participation in public life. Lastly, the Secretary General, with the aim of debunking common stereotypes associated with the refugees issue, underlined the importance of promoting intercultural and interreligious dialogue, organising anti-rumour campaigns and discussing with migrants, in order to increase understanding of their needs, prior to shaping policy responses.
More information Speech by Thorbjørn Jagland Programme of the Conference
Leen Verbeek : « European local and regional authorities can rise to the challenge of tackling extremism and building inclusive societies »
[30/05/2016 15:00:00] Leen Verbeek, Vice-president of the Congress, participated in the conference “European cities facing radicalisation: communication and counter-narratives”, co-organised by the European and French Forums for Urban Security and the city of Bordeaux, on 27 May 2016. He recalled that the Congress adopted, at its 28th Session in March 2015 and immediately after the first Paris attacks, its “Strategy to combat radicalisation at grassroots level”. “Within this strategy we have adopted Guidelines for local and regional authorities on preventing radicalisation and manifestation of hate at grassroots level”, he explained. “We are also preparing a toolkit for local authorities, which consists of texts, a film and other digital resources that can help them organise interreligious and intercultural activities to foster more social inclusion”, he added. Leen Verbeek also mentioned the “Alliance of European Cities against violent extremism”, launched by the Congress in cooperation with the European Forum for Urban Security and the municipalities of Aarhus (Denmark) and Rotterdam (Netherlands). He concluded by inviting all attending mayors to take part in the summit of mayors which will take place in Rotterdam, on 9 November 2016, to develop the Alliance.
Speech by Leen Verbeek Programme of the Conference
Young local leaders in Armenia determined to make positive changes in their communities
[27/05/2016 16:30:00] Twenty six young men and women, municipal employees, NGO representatives and students, coming from 8 regions of Armenia and Yerevan, gathered together to exchange best practices in the field of local democracy, on 24-26 May in Yerevan (Armenia). Emin Yeritsyan, Head of the delegation of Armenia to the Congress, called on the young local leaders to “shape the future of their community with their active contribution”. The importance of further getting involved in public affairs and the community life, especially with the view to engage in local elections, was also highlighted and Congress member Nino Zurabishvili (Georgia, SOC) inspired the participants with her practical experience of taking part in electoral campaigns. “I have decided to get involved in my community because I didn’t want my future children to live in the same situation than we are now; and here I am reinforced in my motivation to work towards change” stressed one of the participants.
More information Programme
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.
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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.