Congress Autumn Session
1 to 3 December 2008 - Strasbourg, France

The 15th Autumn session of the Congress took place from 1 to 3 December at the Palais de l'Europe (Strasbourg, France). Among the highlights were local consequences of the Georgian-Russian conflict, non-appointment of three mayors in Belgium, the situation of non-Latvian speaking minorities in Latvia and local democracy in Armenia. During the session, the new Congress' Prize of the Regions was awarded for the first time to five winning regions from Germany , Poland , Serbia , Turkey and the United Kingdom . Two special awards were presented to regions from Greece and Romania. (more...)

Local democracy in Belgium
Damien Thiéry (gauche) représentant les trois bourgmestres non-nommés et Fons Borginon (droite) représentant le Ministre flamand Marino Keulen The Congress opens a monitoring procedure on local democracy in Belgium
Michel Guégan: ''The European Charter of Local Self-Government takes precedence over Belgian national legislation'' (more...)
Speech (French)


Points of view

The three non appointed Belgian mayors: 'The Congress cannot give up this case''
'There is no obligation to appoint mayors directly'', says Fons Borginon representing Flemish Government
Interview (French)

Statement on behalf of Marino Keulen, Minister for Home Affairs of the Flemish Government, presented by Fons Borginon
Statement on behalf of the three non-appointed Mayors, presented by Damien Thiéry (French version)

Local democracy in Latvia
Non-citizens in Latvia: Congress urges voting rights at local level
Granting ‘non-citizens' voting rights at local level will foster their integration, according to Jean-Claude Frécon (more...)
Speech (French)

In a recommendation to the Council of Europe Committee or Ministers, the Congress urged Latvia's authorities to grant non-citizens the right to vote at local level. The Congress took into consideration the need to separate the question of political rights from that of naturalisation, and to grant political rights at local level to all non-citizens. It called on local authorities to grant non-citizens voting rights at local level, and to think about the possibility of granting automatic naturalisation to the elderly and those born in Latvia. (more ...)

Oskars Kastens: ''The right to vote is an integral part of citizenship''

Situation in South Caucasus
Congress mobilises European communities for help to their counterparts affected by the conflict in South Caucasus
Yavuz Mildon: ''Whatever the origin of the conflict in South Caucasus, it was a tragedy for local communities'' (more...)
Speech (French)
(more ...)

Points of view
Jean-Claude Frécon : ''Russian and Georgian local elected representatives must find a way for dialogue''
Interview (French)
Larissa Khabitsova : ''Russia defended the weaker side – so its actions were justified''
Mamuka Abuladze: ''This war is not an ethnic conflict''


Speech by George Ugulava
Speech by Svetlana Orlova (russian)
Speech by Larissa Khabitsova (russian)

All the news of the session

Thomas Hammarberg: ''The conflict in South Caucasus was a humanitarian disaster'' (more...)
Strengthening democracy in Europe: a shared aim for PACE and the Congress (more ...)
Armen Gevorgyan calls for a Standing Forum of Local and Regional Authorities of the South Caucasus (more...) / Speech
2008 Prize of the Regions: Award Ceremony (more...)
Congress signs a co-operation agreement with the North-South Centre (more...)
Jean-Claude Frécon: the day of municipal elections in Israel should be a holiday to improve participation (more...)
Round table on special status of regional autonomy in Europe (more...)
Congress to develop its election observation strategy (more...)






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