ELDW on the Swedish Democracy Day 2014
The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) arranged its annual Democracy Day on 3 April 2014. More than 350 local elected representatives and officials from all over Sweden participated at the event, which was also a good opportunity to promote the benefits of the European Local Democracy Week. For the occasion of the Democracy Day, SALAR put together a leaflet with good examples from four of the Swedish municipalities that participated in the European Local Democracy Week 2013; Falun, Huddinge, Sundbyberg and Örebro. “Many participants were interested in their good practices and a large amount of leaflets and other materials of ELDW were distributed” – Björn Kullander, national coordinator of SALAR said. Photo: Marcel Moritz (Huddinge) and Jonas Andersson (Örebro), local project coordinators of ELDW.
“Participatory democracy: sharing, proposing, deciding” will be the slogan of the 2014 Democracy Week
On 24 March 2014, the Bureau of the Congress decided to dedicate the 2014 Edition of the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) to participatory democracy and adopted a new slogan : ''Participatory democracy: sharing, proposing, deciding''. A special emphasis will be given to youth participation, which will also give the opportunity to establish a link between the ELDW and the World Forum for Democracy (3-5 November 2014) which will focus on Youth. “It is our homework to teach, educate and inform young people about the importance of democracy” underlined Gaye Doganoglu (Turquie, PPE/CCE), political coordinator of ELDW after having presented the conclusions of the general ELDW coordination meeting, held in Paris, on 14 February 2014 to the Congress Bureau.
Interview of Gaye Doganoglu, Political Coordinator of the ELDW
Interview of Sevdia Ugrekhidze (Georgia PPE/CCE), Member of the Congress
Evaluation of the ELDW 2013 in Andalucía
Andalucía (Spain) participated for the first time in the ELDW and chose the status of “12 Star City”, with particular focus on youth and education. On the occasion of the Democracy Week 2013, students had the opportunity to meet local elected representatives, and participate in conferences and debates on local democracy, local commerce and citizens’ rights. “We believe that the strategic location of Andalucía, and its role as border region should motivate our local administration to be present in all spaces for debate and decision-making in Europe” – Diego Valderas Sosa, Vice-President of the Government of Andalucía, said in his presentation of activities organised in the framework of the EWLD, related to the 2013 leading theme “Active participation: voting, sharing, participating”.
Strong participation of citizens in the ELDW 2013 in Brussels-Capital Region
The Association of the City and the Municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region (Belgium) has been part of the ELDW initiative since 2008. Along the three main objectives defined – engaging youth, working with elected representatives on good governance and promoting the ELDW at local level -, round tables were organised, inviting young citizens and their local and European elected representatives, as well as various events took place in the municipalities around Brussels, such as “citizen coffees”, discovery tours and fun games. The success of the last Democracy Week and the strong involvement of citizens motivated local officials to continue participating in the initiative and go even further in 2014 –as Barbara Decupere, Councillor on Citizenship said in her presentation, held at the general coordination meeting of ELDW in Paris, 14 February 2014.
Presentation of the ELDW in Brussels-Capital Region (held on the general co-ordination meeting in Paris on 14/02/2014)
Website of the Association
Innovative participatory processes in the approach of Dionysos to the Local Democracy Week
In the occasion of the ELDW 2013, Dionysos (Greece) mobilised its schools, municipal officials, local associations and elders houses. At the general coordination meeting of ELDW, held on 14 February 2014, Sophie Katsigianni, Municipal Councillor, presented the diverse events organised: “open spaces”, creative workshops, World Café and many others. The idea behind was to create an opportunity for asking simple questions on local democracy to the participants, to which they could answer through intergenerational dialogue, innovative participatory processes, conversation circles or in form of artistic expression. The overall mission of the ELDW 2013 in Dionysos was to conduct a research on the functioning of local democracy. The Week ended with an exposition of paintings on the themes “Me and my city” and “The city I’d like to live in”.
Presentation of the ELDW in Dionysos (held on the general co-ordination meeting in Paris on 14/02/2014)
Website of Dionysos
Community engagement in Tbilisi for improving local democracy
Tbilisi (Georgia) has been part of the ELDW since 2007 and as a “12 Star city” since 2010. Svedia Ugrekhelidze (PPE/CCE), Mayor of Tbilisi and Member of the Congress, participated in the general coordination meeting of ELDW in February to present the events organised in her city during the 2013 Democracy Week. In Tbilisi, students were invited to take part in an essay competition on “The role and importance of the European Charter of local self-government for Georgia”. Young politicians attended a seminar on local democracy, and regular meetings on the topic of participatory budget planning for 2014 were held with heads of the local administration and homeowner association representatives. The ELDW 2013 was also used to inform citizens on the role of the Council of Europe and Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.
Presentation of the ELDW in Tbilisi (held on the general co-ordination meeting in Paris on 14/02/2014)
Website of Tbilisi
Huddinge participated for the third time in the European Local Democracy Week
Between 14-20 October 2013, Huddinge (Sweden) municipality held its third Democracy Week, giving special focus to education and youth. In the occasion of ELDW, students had the opportunity to meet local elected representatives, hear lectures on democracy and equality, and share their thoughts about their previous visit to the European Youth Centre of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Human rights and elections were the main topics covered during the 2013 celebration of local democracy in Huddinge. The activities organised in the framework of ELDW were presented by Katharina Wallenborg, chairperson of the Democracy and Equality Committee and Municipal Commissioner, at the general coordination meeting of ELDW, held in Paris, on 14 February 2014.
Video: Huddinge Democracy Days 2013
Website of Huddinge
Involvement of citizens and youth in Metz for democratic participation
Metz (France) has taken part in the ELDW since 2011 and held the status of “12 Star City” for the second time. Patricia Sallusti, Deputy Mayor of Metz, presented the events organised by the city in the 2013 edition of ELDW. One of these was the “citizen coffee” on “Active citizenship: voting, sharing, participating” which took place with the participation of many citizens, local officials and representatives of associations. As part of the initiative “ November of Equality ”, the Municipal Council of Children met with the French associations, SOS Racisme and MRAP, to talk about discrimination and integration. During the 2013 Democracy Week, the 7th meeting of the participation network Greater East was held in Metz, with a great focus on participatory democracy and its challenges for local governance.
Presentation of the ELDW in Metz (held on the general co-ordination meeting in Paris on 14/02/2014)
Website of Metz
Neighbourhood mee tings organised by Ordu municipality in the framework of ELDW
The municipality of Ordu (Turkey) took an active part in the 2013 Local Democracy Week, by organising a great number of events and activities in its community, in order to boost citizen participation at local level. In the spirit of active citizenship, Ordu organised and coordinated interactive meetings with the inhabitants of its neighbourhood, asking citizens what they would do for intercommunity cooperation in their area, if they were the mayor of their community. During the general coordination meeting of ELDW (14 February 2014, Paris), Hakan Adanir, ELDW Project Coordinator of Ordu, talked about the extensive information campaign that has been launched in the municipality and beyond to inform citizens about democratic participation and the ELDW initiative.
Website of Ordu
Presentation of the ELDW in Ordu (held on the general co-ordination meeting in Paris on 14/02/2014)
The European Week of Democracy in Iasi since 2007
Iasi (Romania) is one of the oldest and most active partners of the ELDW project, working together with the Congress in promoting active citizenship at local level. In 2013, the municipality chose the status of “12 Star City” to give special prominence to its participation. Elena Farca, Head of International Cooperation Office of Iasi City Hall presented the activities organised in the framework of the ELDW, which included the school contest entitled “Mayor for one day”, the exhibition “Me and Europe”, as well as a great number of open air events and debates aiming at encouraging citizen participation at the grassroots level.
Presentation of the ELDW in Iasi (held on the general co-ordination meeting in Paris on 14/02/2014)
Video on promoting voting on the European elections
Website of Iasi
The European Week of Local Democracy 2013 in Falun, especially dedicated to engaging young citizens
At the general coordination meeting of ELDW held in Paris, 14 February 2014, Linnea Risinger, Member of the Democracy Council of Falun (Sweden) presented its first experience of participation in the ELDW as a “12 Star City”. Falun celebrated local democracy with a 5-day program in September 2013, devoting each day to a different level of civic democratic participation: local, regional, national, transnational and global. But the active work of promoting democracy didn’t stop in the municipality with the end of the Week; the Democracy Council established in the occasion of ELDW, the weekly newsletters dealing with local issues of concern, the Democracy Passport developed and distributed around the city and the follow-up events will all contribute to keep citizens interested in democratic issues and politics at local level.
Presentation of the ELDW in Falun (held on the general co-ordination meeting in Paris on 14/02/2014)
Website of Falun
General coordination meeting of ELDW: evaluation of the 2013 edition and preparation for 2014
The annual coordination meeting of the European Local Democracy Week was held in Paris, France on 14 February 2014. Representatives of the “12 Star Cities”, national associations of local and regional authorities, as well as European and international organisations were invited to assess the 2013 edition, discuss the leading theme for 2014 and share their first-hand experience about the implementation of ELDW in their communities. The meeting was chaired by Dubravka Suica (EPP/CCE, Croatia) and Gaye Doganoglu (EPP/CCE, Turkey), political coordinators of the ELDW, who also presented the certificates of recognition to the “12 Star Cities” of 2013 as an expression of gratitude for their participation and strong commitment.
What happened in 2013?
European Local Democracy Week 2013 ''Active citizenship: voting, sharing, participating''
[18/10/2013 09:30:00] This week events and activities are taking place in some 100 towns and regions in the member States of the Council of Europe to celebrate the 2013 edition of the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) on the theme: “Active citizenship: voting, sharing, participating” (14-20 October). In addition, for the first time, ELDW welcomes as a partner the No Hate Speech Movement of the Council of Europe, which is also holding an Action Week to highlight the threat of hate speech to local democracy. Dubravka Suica, Spokesperson on ELDW for the Congress, has addressed a letter of support to all partners congratulating them on their creative ideas to celebrate this year’s theme. The 2013 edition already includes some 200 activities organised by 100 partners, including 18 '12- Star'cities, 44 communities and 34 associations, representing some 11 500 000 citizens.
No hate speech movement
ELDW welcomes the No Hate Speech Movement (NHSM) as a new partner
The No Hate Speech Movement is a youth campaign by the Council of Europe to combat hate speech online and offline. In partnership with the ELDW, it is organising an Action Week from 14 to 20 October to highlight the risks of hate speech to the cohesion of local communities and to mobilise support for local democracy.
More information: www.nohatespeechmovement.org
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 center of the new edition of the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) which will be organized, 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 organizing 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 was 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.
What happened in 2012?
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, 18 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), Stockton on Tees (UK), 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 material 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’ ex- President Keith Whitmore opened the meeting, while the ex-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.
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, Fčs, 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.