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30th Session of the Congress - 22 to 24 March 2016
Jean-Claude Frecon

At the opening of the 30th Session of the Congress, the President of the Congress, Jean-Claude Frécon denounced the barbaric attacks committed in recent weeks in several cities and in particular in Brussels. In his communication, he pointed out that despite the current major concerns – terrorism, refugee crisis, conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and economic crisis – the work of the Congress to strengthen local and regional democracy was as vital as ever. “Local and regional authorities are key players in democratic stability of the continent” stated Jean-Claude Frécon, whilst regretting that central governments do not enough to involve them. “The Charter of Local Self-Government is an essential part of this system. It is a topical text which remains up-to-date and relevant, providing guidance to local authorities on how to rise to the challenges facing us,” he concluded. 
Statement by Jean-Claude Frécon
Video

Gudrun Mosler-Törnström, President of the Chamber of Regions: "The rise of nationalism goes together with a tendency to re-centralise powers and resources" Jean-Claude FreconAnders Knape, President of the Chamber of Local Authorities: "We must encourage our governments to accept to be bound by all the articles of the Charter"
ETHICS AND TRANSPARENCY AT LOCAL AND REGIONAL LEVELS

A long-standing proponent of transparency and anti-corruption measures at local and regional level, the Congress is preparing a strategy in this area, which are all the more important as no country is immune from public corruption. Former president of the Congress and chair of the thematic group on public ethics, Herwig van Staa (Austria, EPP/CCE) pointed out, in a debate in Strasbourg on 22 March, how corruption threatens the rule of law and invited experts to work with the Congress on this issue. In its second debate on ethics and transparency at local level, the Congress on 24 March 2016 debated the prevention of corruption in public procurement.

MONITORING AND OBSERVATION OF ELECTIONS

As part of its monitoring of the implementation of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, the Congress also considered reports on the situation of local and regional democracy in France and the Slovak Republic in the presence of the ministers concerned. A recommendation on the observation of the local elections in Ukraine (25 October 2015) was presented for adoption on 23 March and members were informed about the conclusions of the fact-finding visit to Albania (24-26 February 2016).

POST-MONITORING DIALOGUE

“Post-monitoring enables the Congress to work with the national authorities to look at how the recommendations made in the framework of the monitoring process can be implemented. This results in a road map”, explained Philippe Receveur (Switzerland, EPP/CCE) introducing the debate on the Congress’s post-monitoring activities in Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine, in the presence of the ministers concerned. (more...)

Vache Terteryan, First Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Territorial Development, Armenia
Video: FR-EN-Original | Speech
Tengiz Shergelashvili, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Georgia
Video: FR-EN-Original | Speech
Vyacheslav Nehoda, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Ukraine
Video: FR-EN-Original | Speech
Nehoda
REFUGEES

Against the background of the current crisis, the Congress examined the integration of migrants at local level with Thorsten Klute, Secretary of State, Ministry of Labour, Integration and Social Affairs of North Rhine Westphalia (Germany), Mustafa Dündar, Mayor of Osmangazi district, Bursa (Turkey), and Gabriele C Klug, Deputy Mayor of Cologne (Germany). Congress members also debated the issue of “Internally displaced persons: the hidden face of the refugee crisis”.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Human trafficking, which in the words of Anders Knape (Sweden, EPP/CCE), President of the Chamber of Local Authorities, has become a “global and rapidly expanding epidemic”, takes many forms, ranging from forced labour and prostitution to the sale of children and organs. While states are taking action to try and put an end to these crimes, local and regional authorities also have a prime role to play. (more...)

COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS

Lilyana Pavlova, Minister of Regional Development and Public Works of Bulgaria, spoke on behalf of the Bulgarian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers. She addressed the various areas of common concern of the Committee of Ministers and the Congress, in particular terrorism, refugee and migration crisis and the situation in Ukraine. (more...)

SEE ALSO...

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Serhii Chernov (Ukraine, ILDG) was elected 7th vice-president of the Chamber of Regions
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