Latest News (Site updated Monday, October 16, 2017 | 17:00)
Congress concludes mission to observe local elections held in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”
[16/10/2017 16:30:00] 16 October 2017 - At a joint press conference with OSCE/ODIHR in Skopje, preliminary findings were presented further to the international observation of the municipal elections held in 'the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' on Sunday, 15 October. The Congress - who joined efforts in this case with the ODIHR Mission - deployed six teams involving observers from 12 Council of Europe member States to monitor the vote in some 100 polling stations throughout the country. The Head of Delegation, Congress Rapporteur Karim Van Overmeire (Belgium), made clear in his statement that the voter turnout of some 60 percent was an important element of the overall positive atmosphere in which the elections took place, despite some incidents during the campaign and also on Election Day. He also referred to issues that should be addressed by the authorities, in particular, the training of members of the Electoral Boards in order to ensure coherent implementation of the rules and further sustainable up-date of the voters' lists to prevent fraudulent manipulations and provide for a closer link between voters and the elected representatives of a specific municipality. 'Regarding the situation of local self-government, we encourage the authorities, immediately after these elections, to put programmes into practice in the interest of further sustainable development at the local level and to improve the living conditions of all citizens of this country', Van Overmeire concluded.
Photo: The Head of the Congress Delegation, Karim VAN OVERMEIRE, together with the President of the State Election Commission (SEC), Mr Alexandar CHICHAKOVSKI. Press release and joint statement with OSCE/ODIHR Speech by Karim VAN OVERMEIRE Programme of the Election observation mission Photo Gallery
33rd Session of the Congress : unaccompanied refugee minors, local and regional democracy, situation in Catalonia and fight against corruption amongst the highlights
[13/10/2017 10:00:00] Congress members will meet, from 18 to 20 October 2017, in Strasbourg, at their 33rd session, chaired by Gudrun Mosler-Törnström. They will hear the testimonies of young refugees and examine the integration of child migrants. The agenda will also include a topical debate on the situation in Catalonia (Spain) and thematic debates on young people and the fight against corruption, the role of European regional associations and organisations in promoting democracy in Europe and women’s participation in political life at regional level. In addition, the Congress will examine reports on the situation of local and regional democracy in Italy, Serbia and Switzerland, as well as reports on the observation of local elections in Finland (9 April 2017) and the elections to the Council of Elders in Yerevan, Armenia (14 May 2017). Congress members will also discuss the outcome of the fact-finding mission conducted in Belgium and a round table on the situation in Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be organised. Finally, a draft report on the situation of Dorin CHIRTOACA, Vice-President of the Congress and Mayor of Chisinau (Republic of Moldova) will be submitted to the Congress members for adoption.
Press release Agenda File 33rd Session Multimedia Resources Mediabox Twitter #CoECongress
Strasbourg Citizens’ Summit: “Involving citizens in decision-making is essential for our democracies,” says Andreas Kiefer
[16/10/2017 14:00:00] “The Congress is convinced that citizen participation in public decision-making is essential for the effective functioning of democratic institutions. It is one of the key principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, ratified by the 47 member states of the Council of Europe,” said Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress, at the opening of the Strasbourg Citizens’ Summit on 14 October 2017. Highlighting the pressures on traditional representative democracy in the light of new forms of deliberative democracy, he welcomed the innovative approach taken by Strasbourg City Council to jointly establish a new Local Democracy Pact with its citizens. “Through this process, Strasbourg is offering its citizens the opportunity to participate in public affairs through instruments such as the participatory budget,” he stated. “Several cities on our continent are experimenting with this method, giving over 8 million citizens the opportunity to be involved with the decision-making process concerning the finances of local authorities,” he added, citing the examples of Rome, Berlin, Paris and Lisbon, along with regions such as the Land North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. The Strasbourg Citizens’ Summit was organised as part of European Local Democracy Week, a pan-European initiative co-ordinated by the Congress, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2017.
Speech ELDW webpage
Herwig van Staa: “We have greater impact in preventing corruption when we work together”
[12/10/2017 15:00:00] On the occasion of the European Week of Regions and Cities, Herwig van Staa (EPP/CCE, Austria), Congress spokesperson on promoting public ethics and preventing corruption at the local and regional levels, addressed the regional and local policy makers, European associations, academics and researchers, during the workshop on “Improving governance and preventing corruption in the EU and EaP countries”, chaired by Karl-Heinz LAMBERTZ, President of the European Committee of the Regions, in Brussels, on 12 October 2017. The participants discussed the challenges of the fight against corruption and Herwig van Staa highlighted the Congress strategy to promote accountability, public ethics and transparency in four CORLEAP countries - Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. “We are developing handbooks on “Transparency and citizen participation” for local authorities to strengthen local institutions and contribute to the implementation of the anti-corruption mechanisms in these countries”, he stated. The Congress cooperates closely with its institutional partners on this issue - in particular the Committee of Ministers, the GRECO and the European Committee of the Regions. In particular, the Congress works closely with the latter in the preparation of the fifth Eastern Partnership summit, taking place in Brussels next month, on 24 November.
Speech by Herwig van Staa European week in Brussels
Congress’ delegation observed local elections in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”
[11/10/2017 17:30:00] A delegation of the Congress is carrying out a visit to “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” from 12 to 16 October 2017, to observe the local elections scheduled for 15 October. Headed by Congress’ Rapporteur Mr Karim Van Overmeire (Belgium), the delegation joined efforts with the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission deployed in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” for the local elections. Prior to Election Day, preparatory meetings were held from 12 to 14 October in Skopje. The delegation exchanged views with Mr Suhejl FAZLIU, Minister of Local Self-Government, Dame Audrey GLOVER, Head of the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission, the Mayor of Skopje and President of the “Association of the Units of Local Self-Government of the Republic of Macedonia” (ZELS), Mr Koce TRAJANOVSKI, as well as the President of the State Election Commission (SEC), Mr Alexander CHICHAKOVSKY. On Election Day, the Congress delegation deployed 6 teams to observe voting and counting procedures throughout the country. A joint Press Conference will be held in Skopje on Monday, 16 October 2017, at 15:00 to present the preliminary findings together with OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission. Photo: Congress sub-delegation met with the Minister of Local Self-Government of “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Mr Suhejl FAZLIU. Press release OSCE/ODIHR website