Latest News (Site updated Friday, December 6, 2013 | 17:00)
Seminar on “Regional or minority languages in Europe today”
[05/12/2013 10:30:00] The Congress is organising on 9 December (afternoon) and 10 December (morning) 2013 in the Senate building (Palais du Luxembourg) in Paris a seminar on “Regional or minority languages in Europe today” in co-operation with the Secretariat of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of the Council of Europe. The seminar will be the occasion for taking stock of the situation of regional languages from the standpoint of the European Union and the Council of Europe.Special attention will also be paid to the role of local and regional authorities in protecting and promoting regional or minority languages. A press conference will be held at the opening of the seminar on 9 December at 2 pm in the Clémenceau room of the Palais du Luxembourg, Paris (France). Interested journalists are requested to forward their details for accreditation to Pauline Cadéac (email@example.com). They should report on the day of the meeting to the Senate reception services (15 or 15ter rue de Vaugirard).
The seminar is open to the press.
Press release Programme European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
A Congress delegation is carrying a visit to Leyla Güven
[06/12/2013 10:00:00] A delegation from the Congress, comprising the two rapporteurs on Turkey, Anders Knape (Sweden, EPP/CD) and Leen Verbeek, (The Netherlands,SOC), is carrying out, on 7 December 2013, a visit to Leyla Güven, former member of the Turkish delegation to the Congress, in prison in Diyarbakir. The delegation is accompanied by Jean-Philippe Bozouls, executive secretary to the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress. Ms Güven, former Mayor of Viransehir Municipality, has been in prison since December 2009, as have other local politicians, on allegations of abetting, and membership of, a terrorist organisation.
The situation of Ms Güven has been addressed in several Congress sessions and, since the Congress first visited her in prison in October 2011, the Congress Bureau has been updated on her situation at each of its meetings. She has been on trial since October 2010.
Gaye Doganoglu (EPP/CD), Head of the Turkish delegation to the Congress, is participating in this mission.
Andreas Kiefer: “Both integration policies and intercultural action must begin at the grassroots”
[06/12/2013 10:30:00] “Our integration efforts must necessarily be accompanied by policies to foster intercultural dialogue and build harmonious intercultural relations in our communities”, stated Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress, at the conference on “Integration policy at local and regional level”, in Graz, Austria, on 4 December 2013.
“Both integration policies and intercultural action must begin at the grassroots, in our communities where cultural groups interact most directly, both with one another and with public authorities and many successful examples exist, which were also presented in this conference”, he added. “Local populations with more than 30% residents having a migration background are becoming increasingly common. These residents have become an important force due to their economic, social and cultural contribution”, he explained. “The true challenge is to find ways of using this diversity for the benefit of the entire community”.
Photo: from left: Andreas Kiefer, Franz Schausberger, Detlev Eisel-Eiselsberg News Speech Congress reference texts
Andreas Kiefer : “People are holders of rights and not mere objects of governance”
[03/12/2013 16:00:00] ''Local and regional governments are fully-fledged actors and stakeholders in creating conditions for the exercise of human rights in their communities and in ensuring their full implementation'', underlined Andreas Kiefer, Congress Secretary General, at the Conference ''Human rights at local and regional level'', in Graz (Austria), on 3 December 2013. ''Because human rights are concrete, so is their realisation, which takes place not in an abstract legal space but in a concrete environment where people live, work and interact – in the environment of our communities, of our towns, cities and regions'', he explained. M. Kiefer underlined, in particular, the importance of training of politicians and civil servants, awareness-raising, benchmarking and setting up independent complaints’ mechanisms accessible at local level. Photo: (from left to right) Stefan Hoflehner, Gemeindebund, Renate Kicker, (ETC), Claus Starl (ETC), Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress, and Martin Haidvogl, Chief Executive of the City of Graz News Presentation by Andreas Kiefer Resolution 296 (2010) Recommendation 280 (2010) Resolution 334 (2011)
Congress Thematic Spokesperson on Children promotes the Pact to Stop Sexual Violence against Children in the United Kingdom
[04/12/2013 14:30:00] Johan van den Hout, Congress Thematic Spokesperson on Children, is visiting the United Kingdom from 4 to 6 December 2013 to promote the Pact of Towns and Regions to Stop Sexual Violence against Children. The Pact is a Congress contribution to the Council of Europe ONE in FIVE Campaign designed to promote the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (the Lanzarote Convention) in the 47 member countries. Mr van den Hout will meet around 20 mayors, councillors and local authority representatives in London, Birmingham, Sandwell, Nottingham, Derby, Manchester, Salford, Liverpool and Cardiff. The aim is to raise their awareness of the proposals made in the Pact and encourage them to implement them in their own authorities so as to prevent abuse, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators, while ensuring full participation for children.
Pact of Cities and Regions to stop sexual violence against children Sign up for the ''Pact of Cities and Regions'' Congress contribution to the ONE in FIVE Campaign
World Forum for Democracy: Connecting institutions and citizens in the digital age
[26/11/2013 18:00:00] The Congress participated in several thematic workshops (LAB) as part of the World Forum for Democracy to be held from 27 to 29 November 2013 in the Palais de l’Europe, Strasbourg (France). The Congress contributions hinged on the following themes: Alternatives to representative democracy – Towards democracy 2.0 – Governing with the citizens. On 28 November Tracey Simpson-Laing (United Kingdom, SOC), Councillor of the City of York and member of the Congress, spoke in LAB 2 “Online petitions and campaigning” and Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress, moderated LAB 8 “Virtual Agora”.
On 29 November Andris Jaunsleinis (Latvia, ILDG), municipal councillor of Ventspils and head of the Latvian delegation to the Congress spoke in LAB 14 “Participatory budgeting”, aimed at examining how successful participatory budgeting is in fostering dialogue and trust between citizens and authorities. In addition, the rapporteurs of LAB 12 “Put your money where your heart is” and LAB 15 “Digital local democracy” were, respectively, Andrée Buchmann (France, SOC), Regional Councillor of Alsace and member of the Congress and Clemens Lammerskitten (Germany, EPP/CCE), Member of the Niedersachsen Parliament and Vice-President of the Congress. They presented the plenary session with the conclusions of these two labs whose discussions will concern the tools and the methods for enhancing citizen participation.
Press release Forum website Contribution of the Congress to the World Forum for Democracy