The members of the Congress met in Strasbourg, France, from 27 to 28 March 2018 for their 34th Session placed under the theme “rights-based governance at local and regional level”.
Congress members discussed in particular the role of local and regional elected representatives and officials in integrating the human rights dimension into their daily work. They adopted a draft resolution to promote, in particular, the dissemination of examples of good practice implemented by local and regional authorities in Europe. In addition, the situation of unaccompanied refugee children and the role of local authorities in this regard were the subject of a specific debate with the adoption of a resolution and a recommendation.
As part of their regular monitoring of the situation of local and regional democracy in Europe, they examined the reports on local democracy in the smallest Council of Europe member States, namely Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino. These reports were followed by a debate on the special challenges these countries face in implementing the European Charter of Local Self-Government. Speakers included Antoni MARTÍ PETIT, Head of Government of the Principality of Andorra, Patrice CELLARIO, Minister of the Interior of the Principality of Monaco, and Silvio PARNIS, Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government and Communities, Malta.
A report on the situation of local democracy in Latvia was also on the agenda, as well as a report on local elections in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (15 October 2017) and an information report on local elections in Georgia (21 October 2017). In addition, the results of the fact-finding mission on the situation of local elected representatives in the Republic of Moldova were presented to the members of the Congress. A debate on the situation of "Mayors under pressure" was also on the agenda with the participation of Elena GRITCO, member of Balti municipal Council, Republic of Moldova, and Patrick KLUGMAN, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of International Relations and Francophonie and member of the International Observatory of Mayors in Danger.
Several debates were focused on the regional identity and integrity of the nation-state, and the regional referendum as a democratic tool. In addition, on the occasion of this session, an exchange of views has been held with Karl-Heinz LAMBERTZ, President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), followed by the signing of a revised co-operation agreement between the European Committee of the Regions and the Congress.
In addition, 42 young delegates from 42 Council of Europe member States – youth activists, youth workers, students and young political leaders - sat alongside Congress members. This participation was part of the Congress initiative to promote youth engagement in politics.
Among the guests invited to the Session were Simon Emil AMMITZBØLL-BILLE, Minister of the Economy and the Interior, Denmark, on behalf of the Danish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, and Michèle NICOLETTI, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.