Chaired by Jelena Drenjanin, the Congress Governance Committee met on 19 November 2021 in a hybrid format, at the Palais de l'Europe in Strasbourg and online via Kudo.
The Committee members considered and adopted the report "Beyond elections: the use of deliberative methods in European municipalities and regions", presented by rapporteur Karl-Heinz Lambertz (Belgium, SOC/G/PD). The draft resolution and recommendation of this report will be debated for adoption at the Congress plenary session in March 2022.
The Rapporteur Karl-Heinz Lambertz (Belgium, SOC/G/PD) stressed that deliberative methods involving citizens chosen at random by means of a "citizens' lottery" to make proposals to the authorities are complementary to representative democracy. The increasing use of deliberative methods is a response to the crisis of confidence of citizens in democratic institutions and the political process.
The report highlights illustrative examples of good practice and provides guidelines for municipalities and regions, including small communities. It explains the key principles for a successful deliberative process.
The Committee also held a debate on smart cities and regions with the participation of Ralf-Martin Soe, Founding Director and Senior Research Fellow at Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia); and on regional identities and how to improve dialogue to reduce regional tensions, with the contribution of Eva Maria Belser, Co-Director of the Institute of Federalism at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and Vice-President of the Congress' Group of Independent Experts on the European Charter of Local Self-Government.
The Committee members also held an exchange on the development of online hate speech and fake news and their effects on local democracy, with the participation of Robert Müller-Török, Professor at the Ludwigsburg University of Public Administration and Finance ( Germany) and Alexander Prosser, Professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (Austria). This debate is part of a co-operation project launched by the Congress in collaboration with several European universities and academic centres.
On the occasion of this meeting, the Commission elected Kevin Bentley (United Kingdom, ECR) as its 5th Vice-President.