During its 5th Statutory Forum held remotely on 7 December 2020, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe adopted a report prepared by the Co-rapporteurs Wilma Delissen Van Tongerlo (Netherlands, ILDG) and Matija Kovac (Serbia, EPP/CCE) on the development of interaction between urban and rural areas.
"Increased urbanisation is leading to an uneven balance for local and regional authorities, especially in terms of financial resources and project development between different levels of government," said Wilma Delissen Van Tongerlo presenting the report. She stressed that this should be addressed by reinforced cooperation in the frame of multi-level government interactions, guided by the principle of subsidiarity in the relations between national, subnational and local levels.
“There is need for mutual understanding of very different realities, taking into account the specificities of each area and equal treatment in policymaking”, the Co-rapporteur underlined. “Our proposal is to formalise this interaction through incentives for co-operation, in particular regarding public transport, digital disparities and equal access to essential public services which are all areas that require more interconnection and interaction between urban and rural areas”, Ms Delissen Van Tongerlo said.
"The report underlines also the upheavals caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has profoundly changed our lifestyles”, emphasized Co-rapporteur Matija Kovac. “Teleworking has highlighted the process of interconnection and virtual proximity. The recommendations presented in the report aim at ensuring equivalent living conditions in urban and rural territories. Improvement of the IT-infrastructure plays a key role in this respect", he concluded.
The Statutory Forum acts on behalf of the Congress between sessions and is convened upon decision by the Bureau of the Congress. It comprises the Presidents of all national delegations and the members of the Bureau. The outgoing president, the chairs of committees and the presidents of political groups participate without voting rights.