Gudrun MOSLER-TÖRNSTRÖM: "In the Congress we are committed to a Europe of solidarity”

Speaking at the opening of the 33rd Congress Session, in Strasbourg, France, on 18 October 2017, Congress President Gudrun MOSLER-TÖRNSTRÖM, pointed out that the European construction has enabled historic advances over the last sixty years. 'We do not want to abandon these advances and each and every one of us, in our own particular roles, can help preserve what has been achieved,' she added highlighting the role of the Congress in this regard. Reaffirming the importance of strong regions with broad powers, the President of the Congress indicated that she did not believe that 'the Europe we earnestly hope for can be built on weak nation States, a disintegrated, fragmented Europe which would be devoid of all influence in the world.”. 'There is no room for selfishness, be it national or regional. There is no place for nationalism, whether national or regional”, she added. .' For the President, the message of the Congress is clear: 'We know that devolution is essential, that municipal and regional self-government, clearly defined within the limits of each State’s legally-established borders, is indispensable. But we do not want to see our nations implode,” she concluded.

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Regional diversity: “Rebuild Europe from the regions”

33rd session Strasbourg, France 19 October 2017
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Regional diversity: “Rebuild Europe from the regions”

As long-standing partners of the Congress in promoting regional co-operation and democracy, European regional organisations and associations can help bring citizens closer to a Europe from which they often feel far removed. This was made clear in a debate held by the Chamber of Regions on the role of these bodies on Thursday 19 October. “European regions carry out practical and pragmatic work to respond to the daily needs of citizens,” said Magnus BERNTSSON, President of the Assembly of European Regions (AER), but they must “give a better explanation of what Europe is”. The task of bringing citizens and Europe closer together also falls to European regional associations, which, in addition, help build bridges between project creators and investors. Stefan August LÜTGENAU, Director of Foster Europe, Foundation for strong European Regions, called for stronger and more democratic regions, capable of promoting both union and diversity. He added that interregional co-operation was an “alternative to the sclerosis seen in Europe”. Many members of the Chamber of Regions spoke during the debate which followed. The President of the Chamber of Regions, Gunn Marit HELGESEN (Norway, EPP/CCE) conclude by saying that members of the Chamber were also ambassadors for the regions. “A strong Europe requires strong and engaged local and regional authorities,” she added.

Background paper

Video of the debate

Mediabox interview with Magnus BERNTSSON

File 33rd Session


Agenda and documents Agenda and documents
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