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Andreas Kiefer addresses the Committee of Ministers: “Local authorities bind our societies together and apply democracy and human rights close to the citizens”

Strasbourg 13 December 2017
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Andreas Kiefer addresses the Committee of Ministers: “Local authorities bind our societies together and apply democracy and human rights close to the citizens”

“The European model of society is not characterised by vertical hierarchies but has developed over the last decades in the direction of decentralisation. The Council of Europe has a duty to defend this model of society of which we are so justifiably proud” Congress Secretary General Andreas Kiefer stated on 13 December 2017 when presenting the second activity report for 2017 to the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies. “No government can ignore the role of local and regional authorities and their elected leaders managing the living together, ensuring social cohesion and inclusion” he said, underlining the work of the Congress to disseminate and implement the values of the Council of Europe at the local level. “Going back to recentralisation would not reflect the expectations of the people, who are ready to take responsibility for their communities” he added. The Congress Secretary General presents twice a year a written activity report on the activities of the Congress and its members to the Ministers’ Deputies, which complements the annual political exchange of views of the Deputies with the President of the Congress. “The Congress, as the political assembly of mayors and councillors from all member States, is the communication centre and hub to disseminate not only values but also good practices across Europe” he stressed warning also that the model of European society was currently under threat. “In the difficult situation the Council of Europe is facing, it is indispensible to maintain critical mass and economies of scale in order to achieve meaningful impact of the work of the Congress, in particular as regards monitoring of local and regional democracy and observation of local elections” he said.

The activity report is available in English and French on the Congress website