If you encounter problems in opening this newsletter : click here - version française: cliquer ici    |  7 May 2014
Committee of Ministers in Vienna:
''Local and regional democracy has become THE landmark of European democratic development'', says Herwig van Staa

''Today, we are commemorating the foundation of the Council of Europe 65 years ago and we think of the creation of the Congress by the Committee of Ministers 20 years ago. Local and regional democracy through decentralisation and greater autonomy for local authorities and regions has become the landmark of European democratic development. But, this process of decentralisation is at a crossroads today, challenged by multiple crises,'' stated Herwig van Staa, President of the Congress, at the 124th Session of the Committee of Ministers, in Vienna, Austria. ''Local and regional authorities play a crucial role in responding to today’s challenges, and have become fully-fledged political partners of national governments. The Congress is at the forefront of this action, as the only political assembly in Europe that regularly monitors the development of local and regional democracy and works for its improvement. Today, the situation in Ukraine is our major concern, and the Congress will be observing the partial local elections in this country later this month,'' he concluded stressing that the Congress remains a committed partner of the Committee of Ministers.
Commitee of Ministers' website
Photo Gallery

Congress Secretary General presents the highlights of the Congress recent activities to the Committee of Ministers

On 16 April 2014, Congress Secretary General Andreas Kiefer gave the Ministers’ Deputies a presentation of the results of the 26th (March 2014) session of the Congress and other recent Congress activities, in one of his regular exchanges with the Committee of Ministers. He underlined that “empowering youth” would be the focus of both Congress sessions and other activities in 2014. He also recalled that in 2014 the Congress was celebrating its 20th anniversary and had held a special ceremony for this during the March Session. An urgent debate had been held on the situation in Ukraine, with the Congress adopting a declaration stating that it defended the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The Congress had declared itself ready to send a delegation to Ukraine, including the Crimea, to discuss the situation there, and was currently preparing an observation mission for the local elections on 25 May. Andreas Kiefer underlined the growing number of invitations to observe local or regional elections as another sign of the relevance of the Congress’ work.
Communication CG(26)19

Empowering youth: a shared responsibility for cities and regions

The Congress has decided to devote a large part of its two annual sessions in 2014 (March and October) to the theme “Empowering youth: a shared responsibility for cities and regions”. The aim is to generate exchanges between European local and regional elected representatives on the participation of young people, as actors of local and regional democracy. This gave rise to a number of targeted debates on issues relating to youth and democracy during the 26th Congress session, from 25 to 27 March 2014, in Strasbourg (France): on 25 March, on “Is there a real place for young people in local and regional democracy?”, on 26 March, on “Fostering youth employment through education and training: role and best practices within regions in Europe”, as well as, on “Empowering Roma youth participation: effective policy design at local and regional levels”. Finally, on 27 March, a debate was devoted to “Youth participation- Voting at 16?”. (more...)

Monitoring of local and regional democracy in Europe

During the 26th Session, Congress members examined several monitoring reports concerning Armenia, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Sweden, as well as a report on the post-monitoring of local and regional democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Adopted recommendations and resolutions, as well as press releases and videos, are available below.

Local democracy in Armenia
Local and regional democracy in the Netherlands
Local and regional democracy in the United Kingdom
Local and regional democracy in Sweden
Post-monitoring dialogue in Bosnia Herzegovina

All the debates, adopted texts, speeches, videos and interviews are available in the online file of the 26th Session (25-27 March 2014).
File "26th Session of the Congress"

Special edition on the 20th Anniversary of the Congress and “The State of the Congress 2013” magazine

The state of the Congress 2013
20 years of the Congress  


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Sabine Zimmer,
Head of Planning, Coordination and Institutional Communication Unit
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+33 (0)3 90 21 48 95 - congress.web@coe.int - www.coe.int/congress
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