At its meeting in Brussels on 16 January 2018, the High-Level Group of the Congress and of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) took stock of their recent and current cooperation activities, and discussed common priorities for 2018.
The Congress was represented by President Gudrun MOSLER-TÖRNSTRÖM, and President of the Chamber of Regions Gunn Marit HELGESEN. The Committee of the Regions’ delegation included President Karl-Heinz LAMBERTZ, First Vice-President Markku MARKKULA and Barbara DUDEN, Chair of the Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX).
The participants examined in particular the recurring difficulties in implementing the provisions of the European Charter for Local Self-Government and discussed the co-operation in the field of migration, human rights at local level and the fight against corruption, chosen as priority areas for common action.
“We must forge closer links between the Congress and the Committee and work for establishing a true ‘proximity democracy’ in Europe. In this process, citizens are to be taken on board and not left behind - we have to think how citizens’ initiatives, citizens’ consultations and citizens vote can better function”, underlined the Congress President.
The Group agreed to present to the respective Bureaux a revised cooperation agreement between the two institutions that can allow creating additional synergies and avoid duplication and decided to organise a joint event in 2019, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of both institutions, to discuss the contribution of the local and regional authorities for the functioning of a democratic Europe, based on solidarity, the rule of law and human rights.
CoR President Karl-Heinz LAMBERTZ will address the Congress 34th Plenary Session in March 2018 in Strasbourg, where the revised cooperation agreement will be officially signed.