Regional democracy the core topic of Congress events taking place in Innsbruck (Austria)
Congress President Keith Whitmore receives the 2012 Emperor Maximilian Prize [04/06/2012]
Innsbruck, Austria, Saturday 2 June: The 2012 Emperor Maximilian Prize for outstanding contribution to European local and regional politics was awarded to Congress President Keith Whitmore. Given by the Land of Tyrol and the City of Innsbruck, this prestigious prize recognizes those personalities and institutions of superior merit in this field. “It is with the feeling of great honour and pride that I accept this award,” said Keith Whitmore. “I see this award first and foremost as the recognition of the undeniable, fundamental value of local and regional democracy itself, and I am proud to have been part of this democratic process for more than 30 years”. In his acceptance speech, Keith Whitmore recalled some of the main developments in local and regional politics which he had witnessed in his 30-year political career: the empowerment of local and regional authorities through decentralization; their role in promoting and implementing human rights in their communities; and their involvement in enhancing citizen participation in democracy.
Recognising the efforts of previous winners of the prize, he added “I accept this award on behalf of all those committed to building a better grassroots democracy for our citizens”.
A declaration to strengthen regionalisation in Europe adopted in Innsbruck (Austria) [01/06/2012]
The “International Conference on the Role of Regions with Legislative Power in Council of Europe and European Union member states”, adopted on 1st June 2012 a declaration aimed at advancing decentralisation in Europe by strengthening Europe’s regions. The declaration reiterates the key principles of regional democracy and focuses on the current challenges and strategic goals for European regions with legislative powers including multi-level governance, the principle of subsidiarity, and decentralised human rights policies, as well as transfrontier regional co-operation and the regional level of government – and all this against the background of the current financial and economic crisis.
Innsbruck Conference on regions with legislative power calls for ''innovative regionalisation'' [01/06/2012]
Current challenges and strategic goals for Europe’s regions with legislative power were at the centre of a Round Table discussion in the frame of the International conference on regions with legislative powers in Innsbruck (Austria) on 1st June. In the face of the financial, economic and political crisis, the speakers of the Round Table noticed a “certain uneasiness” with regard to regionalisation and decentralisation in Europe. With the exception of very few countries, there was little progress visible with regard to existing regional autonomy models in Europe, said Francesco Palermo from the University of Verona(Italy). ''If legislations are changed, this is often detrimental to regionalisation'', he underlined. At the same time, the Round Table agreed on the growing need for sub-national government in Europe. In order to resolve the current uneasiness, institutional innovation at regional level is necessary. ''Europe’s regions, in particular the strong regions with legislative powers, are places where new forms of governance can be experimented and where, for example, participatory democracy can be tested to the maximum extent'', said Palermo.