09:21 - COUNCIL OF EUROPE: CONGRESS OF LOCAL AND REGIONAL AUTHORITIES IN STRASBOURG FROM TOMORROW
The state of local democracy in Europe and the observation of local elections in Bulgaria (23 October 2011); the current financial crisis and its impact on local and regional bodies; intermediate levels of government and good governance; and ways of making cities resilient. These are some of the issues that will be explored at the 22nd session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe that is due to begin in Strasbourg tomorrow (until 22 March). The meeting will bring together more than 300 local and regional representatives from 47 Council of Europe member states. The meeting will discuss reports on the state of local democracy in Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Germany, Moldova, Portugal and Bosnia and Herzegovina. These reports are based on Congress visits to these countries to monitor the application of the European Charter of Local Self-Government. Also on the agenda are roundtables on the concept of intercultural cities to build an inclusive local identity, on the developments of regionalisation in Europe, and on regional governance in Europe: efficiency, transparency and scrutiny. The Congress will also consider the follow-up to the Summit of Mayors for the Roma (September 2011). Speakers at the Congress include, alongside Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland and UKs Secretary of State for Local Government Eric Pickles, the Mayor of Osmangazi/Bursa (Turkey) Mustafa Dundar, and several mayors of European cities.