First concrete outcome: putting citizens at the heart of the declaration on Ukraine
Strasbourg (FR), 26 March 2014
Congress President Herwig Van Staa and Assembly of European Regions’ President Dr Hande Özsan Bozatli signed yesterday a cooperation agreement. “I am convinced that a sound cooperation between AER and the Congress of the Council of Europe will bring a crucial contribution to the promotion of the regional identities throughout Europe.” stated AER President during the signature ceremony.
What do we intend to do concretely? An Action Plan, which identifies three main thematic priorities for common actions for 2014-2015, highlights:
- promoting regional self-government and supporting devolution and decentralisation processes in Europe;
- responses by regions to the political, economic and social crisis that Europe is facing;
- the participation of young people in political, economic and social life.
As a first concrete outcome of the reinforced collaboration between both organisations, Mrs Özsan Bozatli supported yesterday the declaration of the Congress on the situation in Ukraine, which condemns Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Sebastopol in violation of international law. True to AER’s message, she asked to put citizens at the heart of the debate: “We feel that the current declaration is well balanced. We however deplore that the citizens are nowhere mentioned in it. Without citizens there is no democracy. They are the ones who build bridges between our regions. We would like the declaration to take them into account.” As a result, President Özsan Bozatli supported an amendment presented by AER Bureau member Anna Magyar from Csongrad (HU), which went in that direction (article 7 of the declaration).
AER will bring its full help to the Congress, which asks for the “transfer of the administrative competences of the districts and regions to elected bodies in order to establish an administration under their responsibility. Such reform would strengthen democracy and the social, economic and territorial cohesion of Ukraine.” (articles 9 and 10 of the declaration).
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