Speaking at the meeting of the Committee of Ministers in Helsinki on 17 May, Anders Knape stressed that local democracy was a central pillar of European democracy. Mentioning the current challenging situation faced by member States and European institutions, he underlined that “Mayors, councillors, regional governments and parliaments, local and regional elected representatives from 150,000 local and regional authorities, are working every day in the field, for and with citizens across the continent.“They are the glue that binds our societies together.” he underlined.
According to the President of the Congress, “these millions of local and regional representatives, who we work to represent in the Congress, at European level, within the Council of Europe, are the essence of democracy itself. They can help significantly to restore confidence in democracy, in its processes, its actors and its institutions”.
He proposed that the ministers of Foreign Affairs participating in this meeting on “the future of the Council of Europe” incorporate, in their reflections, the Congress proposal to rethink the organisational model Europe’s territories. “The key to the future democratic health of Europe lies in our collective ability to imagine a new ‘socio-territorial pact,’” he said.
The Congress of local and regional authorities is a political Assembly representing 150,000 local and regional authorities in Europe within the Council of Europe. Its core mission is to monitor the situation of local and regional democracy in the Council of Europe member States on the basis of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, an international treaty ratified by 47 member States.
- Speech by Anders Knape, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
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