“The Congress and the CALRE share a long-standing relationship and co-operation with many areas of common interest,” stated President of the Congress Chamber of Regions Harald Sonderegger (Austria, EPP/CCE), at the Plenary Assembly of the Conference of Regional Legislative Assemblies of Europe (CALRE), held in Namur (Belgium), on 18 November 2022.
Speaking on the occasion of CALRE’s 25th anniversary, he underlined the current priorities shared by both organisations, such as improving the quality of regional democracy, engaging citizens in regional governance, reducing inequalities, fighting discrimination as well as promoting inclusion of vulnerable groups, fostering gender equality, and reducing the urban/rural divide.
Stressing that current multiple crises faced by regions call for urgent responses, Harald Sonderegger pointed out that regional legislative assemblies were well positioned to lead in framing such regional response measures. In this regard, he referred to the Congress work on climate change and highlighted, in particular, the recent report on a “green reading” of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, adopted in October 2022, aimed at recognising the local and regional responsibilities in protecting the environment
Harald Sonderegger also recalled the commitment of regional parliaments and governments to align their objectives with the need to address climate change, accelerate the ecological transition and build sustainable and more resilient regional communities for the benefit of citizens. "The Congress is convinced that the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals at local and regional levels require the full application of the principle of subsidiarity, including with regard to SDG 13 on climate action," he concluded.