Leendert Verbeek: "Despite the pandemic, innovate to continue defending local and regional democracy"

Monitoring Committee Strasbourg, France 17 September 2020
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Leendert Verbeek:

“The Covid-19 crisis has tested our capacity, as local and regional authorities, to ensure good local governance, deliver services and meet citizens' expectations,” said Leendert Verbeek (Netherlands, SOC / V / DP) Chair of the Monitoring Committee, at the opening of the meeting held online on September 17, 2020.

The Committee Chair underlined the impossibility of carrying out monitoring visits to member states due to Covid-related measures and the need to innovate in order to adapt statutory activities to this new environment. "The monitoring of the application of the European Charter of Local Self-Government is the very essence of the work of the Congress and the pandemic must not become an obstacle to defend grassroot democracy in Europe," he explained.

Among suggested proposals are activity formats such as the preparation of briefing notes or the launch of a remote political dialogue with national authorities or civil society. “This would pave the way for future monitoring visits when we will be able to travel again,” Mr. Verbeek said.

A debate on the protection of the European Charter of Local Self-Government in extreme crisis situations is on the agenda of the Monitoring Committee meeting. The challenges and responses to the Covid-19 crisis were also debated at the meetings of the Governance and Current Affairs Committees on September 15 and 16, 2020, respectively. Congress will continue to consider these issues, especially during the next monitoring visits which should resume in 2021, as well as for its 2021-2025 priorities.

Agenda and documents:
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See also:

Monitoring Committee meeting - 17 September 2020