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28th Session of the Congress - 24 to 26 March 2015

Jean-Claude Frécon: “Democracies must act urgently to combat terrorism”

Jean-Claude Frécon In his communication at the opening of the 28th session, the President of the Congress, Jean-Claude Frécon, referred to the acts of terrorism committed recently in several cities by young extremists. “Cities and regions must implement effective preventive and law enforcement measures to ensure that the radicalisation of a few of their citizens does not become a permanent threat to the majority”, he stressed. He said that, as part of an overall Council of Europe action plan, the Congress had drawn up a strategy proposing activities to be implemented with national governments, local authorities and regions in the short, medium and long term.
Communication by Jean-Claude Frécon - Video  

COMBATING RADICALISATION AND TERRORISM

Mustapha AbdiThe Congress adopted, after a urgent debate on 25 March 2015, a resolution and a recommendation focusing on the role of local and regional authorities in combating and preventing radicalisation. The Congress will draw up guidelines on preventing radicalisation and manifestations of hate at grassroots level, to be adopted at its 29th Session in October 2015 and create a pedagogical toolkit for use by local elected representatives. In another urgent debate on “Cities and towns against terrorism”, held on the same day with the participation of the Mayor of Kobane (Syria) Mustapha Abdi, Congress members reviewed the issue and assessed the internal and external threats facing towns and cities.

Declaration on the Kobane corridor
In a declaration adopted on 26 March 2015, after the statement by the Mayor of Kobane, the Bureau of the Congress expressed its solidarity and support with the population and local government administration of Kobane, as well as with the other cities in the region, which have been and continue to be victims of extremism, and stressed the need for support from the international community. It called on the Turkish authorities to keep their border open with a permanent and safe corridor, and to allow free passage of all consignments of medicine and medical supplies, as well as of essential foodstuffs and clothing.
Text of the Declaration  
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SITUATION IN UKRAINE
NehodaWith support from the Congress, Ukraine has engaged on an ambitious decentralisation programme. Several laws have already been framed to strengthen its local and regional structures, despite the military situation in the east of the country, which hinders progress. A debate held on 25 March 2015 on “the regional dimension of the process of decentralisation in Ukraine” took stock of developments. The Congress will continue to co-operate with the Ukrainian authorities at all levels in order to carry on the reforms already begun, in particular with the presentation of the post-monitoring roadmap to the government, bearing in mind that local democracy forms an integral part of the Council of Europe’s new Action Plan for Ukraine (2015-2017).
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MIGRATIONS
Giuseppina NicoliniA number of European municipalities are confronted with unprecedented migration flows, particularly as a result of conflicts and political instability and insecurity in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. This phenomenon has a key impact at local level, as municipalities are in the front line when it comes to receiving these new migrants and refugees and are faced with huge difficulties in providing basic services such as health care, education and waste management. In the light of the situation on the ground, the Congress held a debate on 24 March 2015 on the theme "local authorities facing migration flows" with the participation of the mayors of Calais (France), Lampedusa (Italy) and Siirt (Turkey), which are all particularly affected.
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SEE ALSO...
Jewish cemeteries: the Congress calls on local authorities to shoulder their responsibilities
Council of Europe Congress discusses UK devolution
Congress discusses Scotland after the 2014 independence referendum
Local and regional democracy in Poland
Local and regional democracy in Norway
Local and regional democracy in Greece

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Andreas Kiefer

Andreas Kiefer re-elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe Congress

 
Fifteen young local and regional politicians and youth activists participated in the Session.
 

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