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Ref. CG-PR032(2012)

Elections for new leadership and political priorities in the coming years at the centre of Congress Session in Strasbourg

Strasbourg, 13 October 2012 – The 23rd Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities will be held from 16 to 18 October 2012 in the Palais de l’Europe, Strasbourg (France), attended by over 300 local and regional councillors from the 47 Council of Europe member countries, in order to discuss the challenges currently facing local democracy. This session will also be an opportunity for renewing the membership of the Congress, with the election of the Congress President and the Presidents of the Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions, and the chairs of the Congress committees. Following the reform of the Congress, the local and regional councillors of this assembly’s 47 member countries will henceforth have 4-year terms of office. They will also adopt the Congress’s priorities for the 2013-2016 period, corresponding to this new term of office.

Several debates will be held to take stock of the situation of local democracy in the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and the situation of local and regional democracy in Azerbaijan, following the monitoring missions carried out by the Congress in these two countries in December 2001 and April 2012 respectively. A report of the mission to observe local and regional elections in Serbia in May 2012 will also be examined on the same day. For both, the monitoring and the election observation, Congress Recommendations to the respective Member states will be adopted.

Evolution of local and regional democracy beyond European borders will be debated against the background of the Council of Europe’s policy vis-à-vis neighbouring regions, focusing on the current changes in the Arab countries. Rouquia Daoudi, the Deputy Mayor of Rabat responsible for decentralised co-operation (Morocco) and Thomas Markert, Secretary of the Council of Europe’s European Commission on Democracy through Law, will be addressing the meeting.

Several different strands of local and regional democracy will also be examined during this session, including participation by foreigners in local political life, governance of Macro-Regions in Europe, the right of local authorities to be consulted by other government levels and second-tier territorial authorities and intermediate governance in Europe. The programme will also include debates on regional legislation and action against sexual exploitation and abuse of children and on young people and democracy.

The speakers at the Congress’s 23rd Session will include the Estonian Minister for Regional Affairs, Siim Kiisler, the Albanian Deputy Minister for the Interior, Ferdinand Poni, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, and the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni.

Press Conference:

    · The new President of the Congress, as well as the new Presidents of the Chamber of Local Authorities and Chamber of Regions, will give a joint press conference Wednesday, 17 October 2012 at 12:00 - Room 1, Palais de l'Europe, Strasbourg (France)

Live webcast and multimedia resources

    · The debates in the Assembly Chamber and in Room 1 will be webcast live on the internet.

    · The MediaBox - technical platform including a mobile multimedia studio and a radio studio - is available to journalists in order to organize remote live radio interviews, video interviews to be recorded and editing and encoding to be done prior to Internet broadcasts.

    · Multimedia resources – videos and photos – in high resolution will be available on the internet.

Useful links

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The Congress has two chambers, the Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions.
It brings together 318 full and 318 substitute members representing more than 200 000 European territorial communities.
President of the Congress: Keith Whitmore (United Kingdom, ILDG), President of the Chamber of Regions: Herwig van Staa (Austria, EPP/CD), President of the Chamber of Local Authorities: Jean-Claude Frécon (France, SOC)
Political Groups: Socialist Group (SOC), Group of the European People’s Party – Christian Democrats (EPP/CD), Independent and Liberal Democrat Group (ILDG).



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