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Bernd Vöhringer at CEPLI: “Local and regional effort will help build resilient societies in response to today’s crises”

Co-operation Strasbourg, France 17 May 2022
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Bernd Vöhringer at CEPLI: “Local and regional effort will help build resilient societies in response to today’s crises”

War in Ukraine, Covid 19 pandemic, climate change, polarisation of societies – “all these crises strain the democratic foundations of our societies,” stressed Bernd Vöhringer, President of the Congress Chamber of Local Authorities, at the Political Conference of the European Confederation of Local Intermediate authorities (CEPLI) on 17 May 2022. Speaking online in a panel on “Managing fundamental societal transformations - Building resilient local communities”, he underlined that the ability to prevent, resist and adapt to the consequences of crises in territorial communities, and to bounce back quickly, should be at the very core of democratic governance today.

To achieve resilient societies, it is essential to strengthen multi-level governance and restore citizens trust in institutions and in politics, continued President Vöhringer. “Every level of governance should be equipped with proper competences, means and resources to respond to the citizens’ concerns, as enshrined in the European Charter of Local Self- Government. Multi-level governance is a better suited way to provide solutions tailored to specific needs”, he stated, adding that multi-level governance has the potential to increase the quality of decisions and allow greater flexibility in coping with emergencies.

According to him, restoring people’s confidence in decisions made by public authorities calls for new ways of involving citizens in decision-making and governing processes, particularly at local and regional levels. In this regard, “the use of deliberative methods as a valuable complement to the representative democracy in the preparatory phase of the decision-making process has been recognised in a Congress report on deliberative democracy, adopted last March”, pointed out President Vöhringer.

“The war in Ukraine shows that, perhaps, we have taken democracy for granted for too long, prompting us to reassess the situation and reflect on the future of democracy in Europe. The efforts of local and regional authorities, their networks, and their partnerships, to protect our democratic heritage and safeguard citizens' rights, will enable us to better manage the exit from the fundamental and multiple crises we are facing today”, he concluded.

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