A few days before the end of the UK Chairmanship, the Bureau of the Congress has adopted a position paper on improving the local and regional democracy activities of the Council of Europe, which the UK, like the previous Ukrainian and the coming Albanian Chairmanships, had identified as one of its priorities. The Congress has participated in various high-level meetings organised by the UK Chairmanship over the past months in this respect.
The Congress Bureau welcomed the considerable increase in the scope of the local and regional democracy activities in the Council of Europe over the past two years, driven by the increased interaction between the Congress and its main partners, the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government, as one of the results of the reform of the Council of Europe.
The Bureau reaffirmed its support for the conclusions of the Chaves report, unanimously endorsed at the 2011 Ministerial Conference in Kyiv, and renewed its commitment to implementing the Agenda in Common set out in this report. “We thank the UK Chairmanship for the great interest it has demonstrated for local and regional policy affairs. We are deeply convinced of the usefulness of improved co-operation and therefore support the proposals made by Minister Chaves in his report, especially the idea that Council of Europe actors, each according to well-established methods, should work together on concrete subjects that are agreed to be priorities in the field of grassroots democracy”, said Congress President Keith Whitmore.
The Bureau suggested that the intra-institutional meeting, initiated by Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland could serve to further improve cooperation with its institutional partners in this sector. “I participated in these meetings, which reflect the new spirit of co-operation and transversality in the house. This spirit is producing better co-ordination, performance and quality in the interest of Europe’s citizens”, the Congress President concluded.