The Draft European Charter of Regional Democracy was initiated by the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in Europe (CLRAE) in 1997. The original idea behind the Charter was to set out the key principles that should underlie effective regional democracy in Europe, covering areas such as financial autonomy and legislative powers. However, the Charter failed to attract the support of a sufficient majority of Member States at the Ministerial Conferences in Helsinki in 2002 and Budapest in 2005, with disagreements emerging over whether the instrument should be legally binding. In order to restart the debate on the Charter, the Congress has developed a new text, which responds to the objections raised by the Member States and also takes into account developments in the field of regional democracy over the past ten years. The AER supported this initiative as it was wishing to see a binding regional charter enter into force.