The 12th Annual meeting of the Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP) was held in Batumi
For more than two decades of its presence in EU Eastern Partnership countries, the Congress has been advocating for decentralisation reforms. Today,” local and regional authorities are much stronger than they were when their countries joined the Council of Europe”, stressed the President of the Chamber of Regions of the Congress, Harald Sonderegger (Austria, EPP/CCE) during the 12th Annual meeting of the Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP) held on 7 September 2023 in Batumi, Georgia.
Speaking in the context of the new geopolitical reality, he emphasised the indispensable role of local and regional authorities as the first responders to crises, in upholding democracy and delivering human rights in their communities, as was recognised by European leaders at the 4th Council of Europe Summit held in Iceland.
“The new geopolitical reality, and the mandate from the Reykjavik Summit, gave a new momentum to the local and regional authorities throughout Europe, including in Eastern Partnership countries”, said Mr Sonderegger. “Through the Congress monitoring of the European Charter of Local Self-Government and its co-operation projects in the region, we must pursue our efforts to support grassroots democracy within a system of strong multi-level governance, efforts for decentralisation and greater competencies and resources for the territorial level. We also need to explore the potential for direct funding of local and regional authorities, as well as of their national associations, to increase their resilience and strengthen them as fully fledged partners of national institutions”, he concluded.
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