Congress Urges Reykjavik Summit to Promote Democracy, Human Rights

CoE/Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

On 22 March the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities adopted its recommendation on “the future of the Council of Europe and the role of the Congress therein” as contribution to the Council of Europe Summit to be held in Reykjavik on 16 and 17 May. The recommendation calls on Heads of State and Government to express their support to the crucial role of local and regional democracy in embedding democratic values, respect for human rights and rule of law and engaging citizens in democratic governance and decision-making at the grassroots.

Congress rapporteurs Bernd Vöhringer (Germany, EPP/CCE) and Harald Sonderegger (Austria, EPP/CCE), respectively Presidents of the Chamber of Local Authorities and of the Chamber of Regions, underlined those recent crises, among which the terrible war in Ukraine, have shown the need for increased coordination of governance levels. According to the rapporteurs, stronger multi-level governance allows for a better response to crisis situations and contributes to building more resilient, inclusive and participative societies.

The Congress has at its disposal the unique legal framework of the European Charter of Local Self-governance and its experience in monitoring local and regional democracy, observing local and regional elections, raising awareness on the protection of human rights at the local and regional level and implementing cooperation activities in the field.

Together with the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress, as the two political assemblies of elected representatives within the Council of Europe, should each, in their capacities and competences, play a greater role in fulfilling the Council of Europe’s mandate and acting as multipliers of the organisation’s standards at all levels of governance.

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