“The success of democracy is not possible without the participation of our citizens in civic life,” stated. Michele NICOLETTI, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe addressing the Congress members at the 34th Session, in Strasbourg, on 27 March 2018. He outlined the areas of common interest and co-operation between the Council of Europe Congress and Parliamentary Assembly and emphasised the role played by local and regional authorities in promoting democracy and the participation of civil society participation. The Parliamentary Assembly President welcomed Congress initiatives aiming to preserve European unity and bring people together such as the Alliance of European cities against violent Extremism and the European Local Democracy Week. He stressed the important role of local and regional representatives in facing today’s challenges, in particular the integration of migrants and refugees as well as the fight against corruption. The 35th session of the Congress will specifically focus on this last thematic area. “At the heart of democracy lies the essential trust our citizens put in others to work on their behalf and to defend the common interests of all people” he explained. Michele NICOLETTI suggested new forms of internal and external co-operation, especially through the Academic Network. “This initiative would ultimately reinforce the connective tissue of European civil society; the main driving force for democratic perseverance and change for our continent,” he concluded.