At the top of the agenda of the 20th Session of the Congress were debates on human rights issues at local level, in particular the situation of Roma in Europe.  An urgent debate was dedicated to the role of the Congress in the context of the current reform process of the Council of Europe.

Congress members also examined several reports on territorial democracy in Turkey, Romania, Austria and Malta as well as the report on the observation of local elections in Ukraine, held in October 2010.

Congress and Council of Europe reform Human rights at local level

Philippe Richert, French Minister for Local authorities took part to the debate on the Congress reform in the context of the new Council of Europe orientations.

Thomas Hammarberg, the Commissioner for Human Rights underlined the complementary role of the different Council of Europe bodies.
Integration of Roma EU Co-operation

A Summit of Mayors in autumn 2011 will be organised with cities and municipal networks acting for Roma integration, local and regional representatives from the Council of Europe's 47 member states, and in particular Roma elected members.

EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn : "Decentralisation is vital to prosperity at national and European level". He called for a strengthening of co-operation activities with the Congress based around three key points.

Monitoring Observation of elections

The Congress adopted texts on local and regional democracy in Romania, Turkey and Austria. The Chamber of Local Authorities debated a report and adopted a recommendation on the state of local democracy in Malta.

Nigel Mermagen (United-Kingdom, ILDG) presented the report on the local elections held in Ukraine in October 2010. It is the result of an observation mission headed by Gudrun Mosler-Törnström (Austria, SOC).

All the debates
Congress adopts a report on the local elections in Ukraine [24/03/2011]
While the local elections in Ukraine held on 31 October 2010 were generally conducted in a calm and peaceful atmosphere, they met neither the standards that the Congress wished to see, nor the standards set by the presidential elections in January and February 2010, concludes a report of the Congress, adopted on 24 March 2011. The report, presented by Nigel Mermagen (United Kingdom, ILDG) is the result of an electoral observation mission headed by Gudrun Mosler-Törnström (Austria, SOC). Members of the European Union’s Committee of the Regions took part in the mission. The main cause for concern raised by the report is a local election law which was adopted just before the elections and thus caused confusion in the organisation of the vote.  (more...)
[24/03/2011]  The Committee of Ministers welcomes Congress’ commitment to the reform process
[24/03/2011]  Malta launches initiative to lift reservations to the Congress Charter of Local Self-Government
[23/03/2011]  Regional ombudsmen help to build citizen's confidence in public administration
[23/03/2011]  The Congress adopts a monitoring report on local and regional democracy in Romania
[23/03/2011]  The Congress proposes measures to meet the challenge of intercultural and inter-faith tensions at local level
[23/03/2011]  Thorbjřrn Jagland: ''I support the Congress’ orientation on refocusing its priorities''
[23/03/2011]  Debate on energy supply and energy efficiency at regional level
[23/03/2011]  Council of Europe Congress announces Summit of Mayors to address Roma issues
[23/03/2011]  Jean-Claude Frécon: ''In response to the current situation in Arab countries and in Japan, we must offer our support and our expertise''
[23/03/2011]  ''Greater Europe needs the Congress''says Philippe Richert, French Minister responsible for local and regional authorities
[23/03/2011]  Keith Whitmore: Strong local and regional structures in the Arab world increase security in Europe
[22/03/2011]  The Congress of the Council of Europe wants to strengthen local mechanisms for promoting human rights
[22/03/2011]  Congress to hold an urgent debate on the situation in Arab countries
[21/03/2011]  Debate on Council of Europe and Congress Reform with the participation of Philippe Richert, French Minister responsible for Local and Regional Authorities
[09/03/2011]  ''12 Star Cities'' certificate presentation ceremony at the Congress’s 20th session
[18/03/2011]  Congress President, Keith Whitmore congratulates the City of Salzburg for its action to promote Human Rights at Local level
[18/03/2011]  Local authorities are an integral part in building a democratic, human rights-based society
[18/03/2011]  Debates on human rights at local level and on the situation of Roma in Europe

Live webcast and video records

The session will be live webcast as from 22 March at 10.45 am.
Live webcast
Video records


Photos at professional format will be available online for free downloading.
Photo gallery
Video interviews on YouTube

Congress members and guest speakers answered questions on topical issues debated during the 20th Session:
- co-operation between the European Union and the Council of Europe Congress
- citizen participation at local and regional level in Europe
- energy efficiency at regional level
- observation of local elections in Ukraine
- local and regional democracy in Austria, and local democracy in Malta
- cities facing natural disasters
- situation of Roma in Europe

See the videos YouTube

The three Congress committees elected their Vice-Chairs at their meetings of Wednesday 23 March, according to a specific procedure. Furthermore, new provisions must be followed for tabling amendments. Congress members are invited to note them.

Regulatory provisions
Side events Programme