20 years after the first session of the Congress, on 31 May 1994, Herwig van Staa, President of the Congress, pointed out that local and regional democracy has now become the landmark of European democratic development. “Since its creation, the Congress has been at the forefront of the work for decentralisation and greater autonomy for local authorities and regions. Today, the Congress has solid accomplishments to show. The European Charter of Local Self-Government, our reference binding text, has been ratified by all 47 Council of Europe member states,” he stressed. “However, this process of decentralisation is challenged by multiple crises, including a crisis of values, and people are questioning their democratic commitment, against the background of rising extremism and xenophobia. In the Congress, we are convinced that greater decentralisation and more democracy at the grassroots is what Europe needs today,” stressed Congress President.