Congress’ work at the centre of a meeting on European politics and the Salzburg Regional Parliament

21.10.2013 - Gudrun Mosler-Törnström, Head of the Austrian delegation to the Congress (Austria, SOC) and Vice-President of Salzburg Regional Parliament, and Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress, attended a meeting on the theme of “Salzburg Parliament in Europe – Europe in Salzburg Parliament” in Salzburg, Austria, on 19 October 2013.

Gudrun Mosler-Törnström spoke about the Congress’s monitoring and election observation activities and gave an overview on current political campaigns. She underlined that the aim of the Congress is not to give lessons but to promote mutual learning and the exchange of best practices, in a way that Council of Europe member states were able to develop their own strategies on local and regional politics. “Monitoring of the European Charter of Local Self-Government and observation of local and regional elections are core activities of the Congress of Local and Regional authorities, based on the peer-to-peer model. Congress’ delegations are composed of local and regional elected representatives who know the problems in Europe’s municipalities and regions and able to prepare, together with experts, reports and recommendations which are in touch with reality.”

Andreas Kiefer underlined the role of the Congress in the Council of Europe, and stressed the possibilities for regions with legislative powers within the national delegations to the intergovernmental structures. He also referred to the priorities of the Austrian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers (November 2013 - May 2014), which will include promoting local and regional democracy. The Secretary General welcomed the fact that Salzburg Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional and Administrative Affairs had adopted an amendment to the Law on associations of municipalities facilitating inter-municipal co-operation. This directly implements a recommendation set out in the Congress’s 2010 monitoring report on Austria. The final adoption of the amended Law is scheduled for the plenary session of Parliament on 30 October 2013.

Ms. Brigitta Pallauf, President of the Parliament, accepted an invitation to organise a study visit of a delegation of the Salzburg parliament to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg (France) during the Austrian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers.

Recommendation 302 (2011 – Local and regional democracy in Austria