During the 24th session, Gilbert Saboya Sunyé, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Andorra, presented, on 21 March 2013, the themes of the Andorran Chairmanship, as the main topic concerned the stimulation and safeguarding of local democracy in Andorra and the other member states. ‘’Particular attention must be given to the protection of democratic processes and social cohesion, in the knowledge that these both can be victims of the negative consequences of the economic climate. As part of the action to further democratic life, the top priority for the Andorran Chairmanship has been to promote education in democratic citizenship,’’ he explained. “We believe that responsibility for “nurturing human rights” is shared by all of us, each and every one of the 800 million people in the Europe-wide area of the Council of Europe. I invite you to become active, to participate by joining in with this campaign as of today. If these efforts are to show progress, commitment and engagement from all levels of government are required, not least at the local and regional level.” he underlined.
Heavily committed to combating corruption at local and regional levels, the Congress held a debate on Thursday 21 March 2013 with several heads of anti-corruption bodies on the best means of counteracting this 'political and economic gangrene' which undermines the whole of democracy. Among the speakers were Marin Mrcela, president of the Council of Europe's Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), Jean-Pierre Guis, president of the French ANTICOR association of elected representatives and citizens against corruption, Petra Kneuer, director of investigations of the European Union's Office European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), and Sir Alan Meale, British parliamentarian and member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The congress will build upon the results of this debate in order to elaborate a joint strategy for the promotion of ethics and the prevention of corruption at local and regional levels, which will be introduced progressively in all 47 member states.
While the regions of Europe intend to prove that they are capable of meeting the challenges thrown up by the economic crisis and preparing their citizens’ future, they are also seeing their own resources, and even their powers, whittled away by the financial and social difficulties weakening the continent. When it decided to devote a large part of its March 2013 plenary session to the effects of the economic crisis on local and regional authorities, the Congress resolved to give priority to seeking solutions and to practical debate. That objective was fully met at the Round Table held on 20 March by the Chamber of Regions on “Regionalisation and devolution in Europe in a context of economic crisis”, during which speakers were blunt about the risks that the current crisis entailed for Europe’s social, economic and political cohesion.
The development of a legal framework for local self-government remains a priority for Russia
“High time to translate national strategies into local action”: European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion was launched in Strasbourg
The future of local democracy depends on the development of e-forms of government
Amy Koopmanschap : ''Local elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina were well-prepared''
Observation of the by-elections in Armenia: ''It seems essential for the Armenian authorities to create the conditions for genuine political pluralism''
“Fostering Active citizenship”: the debate highlights the risks of declining citizen participation
“Post-monitoring” and “post-observation” dialogue needed to ensure the implementation of Congress’ recommendations
ON AIR special edition: 24th Session of the Congress
Social exclusion: A problem with many faces
Jean-Claude Frécon: “We should use the potential of new technologies to improve our democracy”
Monitoring of local and regional democracy in Spain
Monitoring of local and regional democracy in Italy
Local and regional democracy in Georgia
Congress' spring session tackles the crisis in Europe and challenges it poses to local and regional democracy
Herwig van Staa: ''The Congress needs to translate its proposals into specific activities on the ground''
Council of Europe Congress launches the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion
Thorbjørn Jagland stresses the importance of fighting corruption at grassroots level
All the news of the 24th Session