22nd Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
UK Chairmanship of the Council of Europe at the centre of Congress debates and events
20.03.2012- In his address to the 22nd Session of the Congress, UK Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, today spoke on priority areas for the United Kingdom’s current Chairmanship of the Council of Europe, in particular in respect of local democracy reform. Referring to last year’s Kyiv Conference of European Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government, the Minister described several fields of concrete action, notably, the need to implement recommendations included in the Chaves report to streamline the Council’s grassroots policies, to develop an agenda in common between the Congress and the intergovernmental sector of the Council of Europe, to agree on priorities in an open and transparent manner and to carry out activities according to these priorities through efficient management.
With regard to accountability of Congress action, Mr Pickles praised annual reports provided by the Congress on its past action which should serve as an example in the Council of Europe. “We need such detailed reports also on future priorities”, the Minister stated.
After answering the questions put by members of the Congress, the Minister joined Congress President Keith Whitmore in inaugurating the United Kingdom stands, featuring contributions from England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, the four home nations of Great Britain, in the lobby of the Assembly Chamber. Congress members watched a display of Scottish country dancing before being invited to sample some traditional English produce.