Plenary Session of the Congress
3 to 5 March 2009 - Strasbourg, France

Ways to better co-ordinate the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue at territorial level were discussed at the Congress Plenary Session on Tuesday afternoon.

The President of the Committeee of the Regions of the European Union, Luc Van den Brande, presented a new political instrument, the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (EMRLA) which should raise awareness among regional authorities of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and involve them in it.

The role of the Congress within this structure for the implementation of decentralised cooperation in the Euro-Mediterranean region will be significant, stressed Van den Brande. Congress speakers underlined the importance of this dialogue to achieve concrete results in the fight against poverty and social exclusion as well as the management of immigration problems. Congress President a.i. Ian Micallef pointed out that the Mediterranean basin was crucial for stability and peace in Europe as a whole. “The Congress has enough contacts, experience and motivation to plant grassroots democracy in this area”, Micallef concluded.

Luc Van den Brande, President of the EU Committee of the Regions
Jesmond Mugliett (Malta), Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM)

Khaled Osaily: The towns and cities of Europe can help us restore peace in Palestine
Speaking at the Congress debate on the role of local and regional authorities in the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue, the mayor of Hebron, the main city in Palestine, called on the towns and cities of Europe to take action so that his city and citizens can at last lead “a normal life as in the rest of the world”.


Ian Micallef: ''Congress know-how will sustain Euro-Mediterranean dialogue''
Stimulated by major policy moves like the “Union for the Mediterranean” project launched in 2008 by France, co-operation between the two shores of this sea also operates via local elected representatives. Long active in this field, the Congress means to have a still stronger presence there, explains Ian Micallef, President of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress.


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