"The European Committee of the Regions and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities are undeniably complementary in sharing the same goal of championing local public policies in Europe ", stressed Anders KNAPE, President of the Congress, at the ceremony organised at the European Parliament in Brussels on 27 June 2019, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the two institutions. "Two distinct and equally important roles to work in the same direction: what governments have called subsidiarity and what I prefer to call shared democracy," he added.
“Today, we are also celebrating the desire of governments to place citizens and those who represent them at the heart of decision-making processes at national and European level. 25 years on, the role of the local and regional authorities in the institutional architecture of the member states is more crucial than ever”, he specified.
Referring to tangible achievements which have fostered local and regional democracy, Anders Knape alluded in particular to the European Charter of Local Self-Government, a binding legal instrument ratified by the 47 member states of the Council of Europe on which the Congress bases its regular monitoring of the situation of local and regional democracy in the Council of Europe member states.
The President highlighted the need for continued co-operation and complementary activities involving both institutions in the light of the threats which European local and regional authorities currently face, such as a tendency towards recentralisation, a lack of consultation by central government, populism, abstention and public distrust of institutions.
“We are convinced that today’s challenges cannot be met solely at national level. Instead they highlight the need to take account of the various levels of governance and, as a prerequisite to everything else, to acknowledge that local and regional democracy is one of the pillars of our democratic system”, he concluded.
- See also the news: Brussels: The European Committee of the Regions and the Council of Europe’s Congress celebrate their 25th anniversary in Brussels, on 27 June
- Speech of the President
- Webpage of the event