On the eve of the 41st Session, the Bureau of the Congress held an exchange of views with the Council of Europe Secretary General, Marija Pejčinović Burić, on 25 October 2021. The Secretary General welcomed the Congress’ priorities for 2021-2026, which correspond to those of the Organisation. “This convergence is encouraging in achieving our common goals. The defence of human rights, democracy and the rule of law cannot be achieved by national governments alone. It needs the commitment of the local and regional levels which must be supported and funded, and the role of the Congress is essential in this respect,” she said.
Ms Pejčinović Burić highlighted the urgent challenges and the emerging issues that require the expertise of the Congress as an assembly of local and regional elected representatives: human rights and the environment, the fight against fake news and hate speech, the protection of social rights, the situation of LGBTI people, artificial intelligence, the fight against radicalisation and youth participation.
Discussions also focused on the Congress budget, which has decreased over the last years, impacting its capacity to carry out its work. The Secretary General called on Congress members to convince their national governments of the need to provide sufficient means for the Organisation and the Congress in particularly, notably by taking into account the adjustment for inflation.