Congress debates local referendums, post-Covid crisis recovery and protection of LGBTI people

40th Session Strasbourg, France 16 June 2021
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Congress debates local referendums, post-Covid crisis recovery and protection of LGBTI people

On 16 June 2021, the second day of the Session, the Congress agreed on guidelines on holding referendums at local level based on a report prepared by Vladimir Prebilič (Slovenia, SOC/G/PD) and called on member States to implement them. Although national referendums have nowadays attracted much attention, it is in fact the local referendums that are most widespread in the Council of Europe member States. Effective guidelines are needed for member States to use local referendums responsibly in the framework which is in line with Council of Europe standards, most notably the European Charter of Local Self-government, as well as with the international standards and best practices.

On the same day, the Chamber of Regions debated the role of regions post-crisis recovery and asked member states to involve regions in the policies of territorial solidarity by delegating part of the competencies to the regional authorities in order to implement tailored financial equalisation procedures or equivalent measures as the conventional method of assistance for weaker territories. “Today, we must start planning for the post-Covid future, for the recovery of our societies and our economies, drawing lessons from our experiences during the crisis,” stressed the Chamber of Regions President, Harald Sonderegger (Austria, EPP/CCE) who presented a report on “Territorial solidarity: the role regions can play”.

Also, the Congress adopted several reports on LGBTI rights on the same day during the Plenary Sitting. In the report CG(2021)40-18, the Congress calls the local and regional authorities to mainstream LGBTI equality in their policies and invites the central governments to develop national action plans reinforcing anti-discriminatory and human rights measures, including LGBTI people. In the report CG(2021)40-19 the Congress calls on Polish local and regional authorities to withdraw anti-“LGBT ideology” texts and to protect the rights of minority and vulnerable groups, including LGBTI people. More information about both reports can be found here.

*** 40th Session of the Congress (second part) ***

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