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Strasbourg ,  March 27, 2014

Azores participate in Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

The Regional Secretary of the Presidency for External Relations highlighted the importance of youth participation in local and regional democracy so that Europe may better respond to the challenges of new generations. This topic was under discussion at the meeting of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe that was held in Strasbourg.

For Rodrigo Oliveira, the involvement of European youth in active citizenship is a relevant topic, "especially in the current context; its contribution is fundamental to help Europe resuming its path towards development and provide a response to the challenges that younger generations are facing."

"Due to their proximity to the population, regions and municipalities play a key role in the provision of services that are fundamental to the safeguarding of Human Rights. In this context, the Congress should pay close attention to the action of these bodies in order to make sure that it will not be affected by current situation, either by the devolution of powers to central governments or by the impositions of budget constraints."

In addition to addressing the involvement of youngsters in democracy, the plenary meeting held in Strasbourg on Wednesday also analysed the implementation of Human Rights in European regions and municipalities. The event has also promoted an emergency debate on the situation in Ukraine. In this regard, the Congress has approved a Declaration, through which it conveys its "deepest concern" for the latest developments and condemns "the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia as a violation of international law." The position taken by the Congress is in line with that taken by other bodies within the Council of Europe, the European Union and the international community in general.

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities has not recognised the validity of the "pseudo-referendum held on March 16," reminding that Crimea has benefited from a special statute of autonomy, which could have been further extended in conjunction with Ukrainian activities. In this context, the Congress has also decided to cancel scheduled meetings of the Council of Europe body with Russia.

Rodrigo Oliveira attended the solemn session celebrating the 20th anniversary of Congress of Local and Regional Authorities on behalf of the President of the Regional Government. The date was established by the Council of Europe in 1994, following the Summit of the Heads of State held in Vienna in the previous year.
"The institutional establishment of regional and local authorities, either in the Council of Europe through the Congress or in the European Union through the Committee of Regions, has represented a fundamental step towards the recognition of the relevance of its role in good governance, decentralisation and subsidiarity in Europe," said Rodrigo Oliveira. In this regard, the government official defended that "this process should be strengthened."
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is an advisory body of the Council of Europe whose aim is to defend democracy, improve governance and strengthen the autonomy of local and regional authorities by promoting decentralisation and regionalisation in Europe.

This body is composed by 636 political representatives of regions and municipalities from the 47 member stated that make up the Council of Europe. The national delegation comprises seven members and an equal number of stand-by members representing Autonomous Regions and Portuguese Local Authorities.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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