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The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities grew out of the conviction that there was a need to give local, and subsequently regional, authorities a forum to have their say in the early stages of the process of European integration. Starting as a mere committee of the then Consultative Assembly in 1953, it subsequently became the “Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe” and was finally, in 1994, established as the “Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe”. Its remit is to assess the implementation of the European Charter of Local Self-Government in the 47 Council of Europe member states.

With two key dates – 1957, the date of the first session of the Conference of Local Authorities, and 1994, the birth of the present Congress – the path of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities illustrates the unanimous recognition by governments of local democracy as a cornerstone of the democratic system. Today, the Congress is a major player in fostering genuine grassroots democracy in the 47 Council of Europe member states.

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