Local authorities who took part in the ELDW in the past editions said:
“ELDW leads to a better involvement of citizens in public life and interaction with local authorities, testing citizens’ acquaintance with the participatory tools and their trust in local institutions, improving social cohesion and respect of the others in the community, taking part in a network of European municipalities and regions keen to improve local democracy in their place and across Europe”.
The Congress dedicates the European Local Democracy Week in 2013 to “active citizenship”
Motivating citizens to take part in decision-making processes at the grassroots level will be at the centre of the new edition of the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) which will be organised, this year, from 14 to 20 October in Europe and beyond. The leading theme of this event in 2013 - “Active citizenship: voting, sharing, participating” - has been endorsed by the new ELDW Political Co-ordinator, Congress Vice-President and member of the Municipal Council of Dubrovnik (Croatia), Dubravka Suica, further to a co-ordination meeting assembling representatives of European cities, regions and associations. “Functioning democracy at the grassroots level implies active citizenship and this is a common responsibility of citizens and their elected representatives. Interaction between citizens and local politicians is key in this respect - each part has to contribute”, Ms Suica says. Municipalities and associations who are interested in taking part and organising events and activities to promote democratic participation in their communities can learn more about this campaign and register easily online at: www.coe.int/demoweek-registration
General meeting of the ELDW : taking stock of the 2012 edition and launch of the new theme for 2013 on the agenda
A general meeting of the European Local Democracy Week will be held in Paris (France) on 28 January 2013. ''This meeting aims at choosing a general theme for the new edition of the ELDW and will be an opportunity for exchanging views and best practices between representatives of municipalities who participated or intend to do so. Representatives from “12 Star Cities” – those who give special prominence to their participation in the ELDW – will explain how they succeeded in mounting a veritable campaign for their citizens,'' explained Dubravka SUICA, Croatia, EPP/CD, new political coordinator of the Week. ''This year, we plan to focus involvement of young people in public life,'' she added.
Interview with Dubravca Suica
Around 310 activities in 30 countries are celebrating the European Week of Local Democracy 2012.
As every year between 15 and 21 October, the ELDW brings together local elected representatives and citizens. More than 130 local and regional authorities and partner associations have registered for actively participating in European Local Democracy Week. Among them, 17 towns and cities chose to organise the Week as “12 Star City”. They are organising more than 150 activities with their citizens.
“12 Star City” include this year: Metz and Strasbourg (France), Brussels (Belgium), Chania and Festos (Greece) Reggio Calabria Province and Mola di Bari (Italy), Utrecht (Netherlands), Katowice (Poland), Amadora (Portugal), Candelaria and Malaga (Spain), Sundbyberg, Örebro and Huddinge (Sweden) and Büyükcekmece and Lüleburgaz (Turkey).
“The growing interest of associations in this initiative, especially youth councils, as well as the number of participants who are marking their first participation this year, confirms our vision for the promotion of ELDW back in 2007. It is a sustainable and concrete measure for local democracy and citizen participation”, added Keith Whitmore, the former Congress president and one of the first supporters of the ELDW.
Events by country
The European Local Democracy Week at the World Forum for Democracy – Strasbourg 5-11 October 2012
On 7 of October, information materials about the ELDW was distributed during the Conference of INGOs on "Inclusive democracy". It was the first contribution to the annual "European Local Democracy week" by the international network of the Council of Europe representing the NGOs.
On 9 of October, the European Local Democracy Week was presented on the celebration day of the 10th anniversary of the Club of Strasbourg in the City Hall, focused on citizens’ participation methods. The Congress’ President Keith Whitmore opened the meeting, while the Director Antonella Cagnolati took part in the debate.
Representatives from different European towns exchanged their views on and experiences of engaging citizens, in order to make this useful tool for representative democracies as effective as possible. In this context the Congress presented the European Local Democracy Week as a tool able to improve citizens’ participation in local life in an increasing number of communities every year.
On 10 of October, a conference on the “challenges for sustainable democracy in southern Mediterranean countries” took place in Place Kleber. Antonella Cagnolati presented the Congress’ neighbourhood policy. The meeting registered the participation of a number of witnesses of the 2011 Arab spring, among them mayors and local councilors from Morocco and Tunisia; some of whom experienced for the first time this year the ELDW in their communities with a successful degree of citizen participation. They considered the ELDW as a suitable participation tool to be further exploited.
The European Local Democracy Week in South-Mediterranean communities
As part of the neighborhood policy of the Council of Europe, the Congress has encouraged the diffusion of the ELDW in Morocco and Tunisia. Because it strengthens citizens’ participation in decision-making, the ELDW is a relevant tool to accompany the decentralization reform ongoing in Morocco. It can also fit the need for more participation and democracy of Tunisian society. After the meeting between the Congress Director and Moroccan local authorities in Rabat on 10 July, several municipalities maintain their engagement and organized the ELDW in their communities. They include: Rabat, Fès, Arbaoua, Chefchaouen, Oujda, Tétouan (Morocco) and Kairouan (Tunisia). These municipalities organized several activities: meetings, competitions, lectures on children and human rights, awareness-raising activities about social and environmental rights,etc.
More information on ELDW Events by country web page.