Latest News (Site updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 | 20:00)
Congress delegation heading to Portugal for a post-monitoring visit
[03/03/2014 15:30:00] The Congress will carry out a post-monitoring visit to Portugal on 4 March 2014. Congress Rapporteur Jos Wienen (The Netherlands, EPP/CCE) will examine the follow-up to the Recommendation 323 (2012) on local and regional democracy in this country. The aim of Congress post-monitoring activity is to develop a political dialogue and agree on a roadmap for the implementation of its recommendations. A first post-monitoring visit was carried out on 6 September 2013.
Meetings are scheduled with the Portuguese Secretary of State for Local Administration, Antonio Leitäo Amaro, the Secretary of State for Budget, Hélder Reis, as well as with representatives of the National Association of Parishes (ANAFRE) and the National Association of Portuguese Municipalities (ANMP).
Photo: Jos Wienen (The Netherlands, EPP/CCE) and Portuguese Secretary of State for Local Administration, Antonio Leitäo Amaro Press release
Herwig van Staa: ''We must work to embed a culture of decentralised democracy in European governance''
[27/02/2014 16:00:00] ''Today, as we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we must continue to reassert ourselves as equal partners of national governments in an emergent system of multi-level governance,'' stated Herwig van Staa, at the Conference on ''20 years of the Congress and the Committee of the Regions'', in Innsbruck, Austria. ''While we have much to celebrate, we cannot ignore that decentralisation – local and regional democracy – has reached a crossroads, challenged by the increasing threats to the European democratic model,'' he underlined. ''Local and regional authorities are at the forefront of responding to these threats, and our future depends on the capacity of our two assemblies to lead in this action. To be successful, we must work to embed a culture of decentralised democracy in European governance. We must convince national governments that it is dangerous to roll back democracy and participation, by seeking to make short-term financial savings.''Luc van den Brande, Vice-President of the Committee of the Regions of the EU also underlined the importance of establishing a multilevel governance Charter which would promote the values of partnership and cooperation between different levels of governance.
Andreas Kiefer: ''20 years on, we need visionary politicians to lead us forward''
[26/02/2014 17:30:00] “The Congress and the EU Committee of the Regions were created to give a voice to local and regional representatives in the European construction,” underlined Congress Secretary General Andreas Kiefer at the Conference on “20 years of the Congress and the Committee of the Regions”, in Innsbruck, Austria. However, the challenge now is to put into practice the legal framework established over the past two decades, he said, adding the we cannot respond to today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions and with theory alone. “We must go beyond mere standard-setting and political declarations. We need concrete follow-up action to be successful. We need democratic commitment by local and regional politicians that goes beyond lip service. Most importantly, we need that people, our citizens, see this commitment in action. We need to regain their trust, to restore public confidence in politicians and institutions of governance,” stressed the Secretary General.
Congress delegation meets the President of the Republic of Cyprus
[19/02/2014 11:30:00] On the occasion of the meeting of the Congress Monitoring Committee in Nicosia, Cyprus, a delegation led by the Monitoring Committee's Chair, Lars O. Molin (Sweden, EPP/CCE) met with the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades. 'Our Congress is ready to offer its experience to aid the development of local democracy in Cyprus, in the context of the peace and reconciliation process which was relaunched on 11 February', said Lars O. Molin, presenting the items on the agenda of the Monitoring Committee meeting. The Cypriot President welcomed the support of the United Nations, the United States and Europe in favour of the peace process. He also reaffirmed his support for the government’s approach to decentralisation and for the strengthening of Cypriot municipalities, developed in co-operation with the Council of Europe. The delegation was composed of Jean-Claude Frécon, President of the Congress Chamber of Local Authorities (France, SOC), Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress, Irene louizidou (EPP/CCE, Cyprus) member of the Congress and Alexis Galanos Chair of the association of Cyprus municipalities.
The Congress Monitoring Committee meets in Nicosia
[19/02/2014 10:00:00] The members of the Monitoring Committee of the Congress met in Nicosia (Cyprus) on 19 February 2014. Among other matters they examined the state of local and regional democracy in Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Armenia and recent developments in Portugal, the Republic of Moldova and Finland.
The committee held specific discussions on the post-monitoring process in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the current situation in Ukraine. The trend in the state of local democracy in Georgia was addressed in the presence of Tengiz Shergelashvili, Georgia's First Deputy Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure.
In the context of the committee meeting, a delegation from the Congress, led by the Monitoring Committee's Chair, Lars O. Molin (Sweden, EPP/CCE) and composed in particular of Jean-Claude Frécon, President of the Congress Chamber of Local Authorities (France, SOC) and Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress, also had a meeting with the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, and Interior Minister, Socratis Hasikos.