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Local & regional governments

Newsletter - May 2021

Council of European Municipalities and Regions

Local and regional governments' view
on European affairs

  fre  eng

- Long term vision for rural areas -

Rural development

Local and regional governments are key drivers to revitalise rural and remote areas

Did you know that rural areas represent around 80% of the total EU area while 72 % of the population lives in cities and urban areas? And that almost one third of citizens live there? Despite of their prominence, rural areas in Europe face many challenges such as depopulation or falling on the wrong side of the digital divide. Only 59% of EU rural households have high-speed internet access and the average road distance to the nearest doctor in rural areas is almost 21.5 km, while in cities it is only 3.5km.

The European Commission is currently working on its long-term vision for rural areas, to be published on 23 June, which aims to tackle these challenges and revitalise the countryside. CEMR organised an online event on 4 May to discuss local governments’ key challenges in rural areas, as well as their role in and recommendations for the EU’s vision.

[ Read more ]

- European Semester -

Localising the European Semester

How local governments can be involved

The European Semester: whether or not you have heard of it, this EU policy cycle is already is already beginning to influence how your municipality can spend and invest. But how can local and regional governments make their voice heard and thus make the Semester afully democratic process?

Since 2011, the European Semester has set the framework for EU countries to coordinate their economic policies. While this process was initially aimed at improving control and coordination of budgetary, fiscal and economic policies in the eurozone, over the years it has become increasingly linked to other areas such as Cohesion Policy, the Social Pillar, and more recently, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


[ Read more ]

- Transparency register -

Transparency register

​Big win: local governments and their associations will no longer be considered lobbyists by the EU

The EU institutions have agreed to no longer require local and regional governments and their associations to be included in the official lobby register. The EU is thus recognising our legitimacy in policy-making and that we should not be put on the same level as the private sector. Local governments and their associations from outside the EU may still be required to be in the register.

Once the updated rules take effect, CEMR, national associations of local governments and their members will no longer need to sign up to the Transparency Register if they wish to discuss with new EU laws that they must deliver on the ground.  


[ Read more ]

- Equality -

Charter for equality of women and men in local life

For its 15th anniversary, CEMR's Charter is being renewed | Interview with Jaimie Just

The European Charter for Equality between Women and Men in Local Life, initiated in 2006 by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), will celebrate its 15th anniversary this May. To mark the occasion, we speak to Jaimie Just, CEMR’s Adviser on Equality and Diversity. Spoiler: the Charter is going to be updated and Brussels’ municipalities can participate in the process of developing a revised Charter.

Can you tell us the context in which the Charter was developed? And how it was promoted?

It all started with the dream of the members of CEMR’s committee of women elected representatives of local and regional authorities (since renamed Standing Committee on Equality) of an equal society and the need to improve equality between women and men in Europe’s towns and cities in order to achieve it. 

[ Read more ]

- EU budget -

Long-term EU budget

Understanding the EU’s 1.8-trillion-euro spending plans

Are you confused by all the talk of billions of euros the EU is planning to spend? Do you know where we are in the negotiation and adoption of the new European programmes for 2021-2027? If so, read on to find out more about the state-of-play, next steps and what these spending plans mean for local government.

The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council have now agreed on the next budgetary programmes for 2021-2027. These will finance actions in various areas, including research and innovation, the digital and green transitions, equality, human rights, structural and investment funds, mobility and much more.


[ Read more ]

- Equality -


​CEMR kicks off the 15th anniversary of the European Charter for Equality

In honour of the 15th anniversary of the European Charter for Equality, CEMR is launching a months-long celebration that will last until December 2021 under the label “Charter15”. A series of events will be organised with the aim of working together to renew the Charter. To launch the festivities, a webinar took place on 12 May and gathered a riveting panel to discuss the history of the Charter and the work for gender equality in local life.
After a few opening words by Frédéric Vallier, CEMR Secretary General, and Silvia Baraldi, Chair of the CEMR Standing Committee for Equality, the webinar was the occasion to hear more about the creation of the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life. Speakers shared fond memories of an intense collective effort as well as the challenges that its supporters had to overcome in their quest for gender equality 15 years ago.

[ Read more ]

- European Movement International -


Add your voice and stand for democracy and human rights in Belarus!

CEMR invites its associations, local and regional leaders and citizens to stand with the European Movement International (EMI) calling on the Belarussian authorities to immediately release Raman, Sofia and all political prisoners!

In a statement adopted by its assembly last week, the EMI indicates that “the outrageous hijacking of an airplane by the Belarussian authorities and the detention of Raman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega are unprecedented and unacceptable challenges to international laws and norms which must be countered. We call on Belarussian authorities to release Roman, Sofia and all political prisoners immediately”.


[ Read more ]

- 2030 Agenda -

Global Goals 4 Cities

Global Goals 4 Cities network launches its collaboration to localise the SDGs

Say hello to the Global Goals 4 Cities network! That’s the name chosen for themselves by the 19 cities* participating in the first meeting of the URBACT network on the localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) earlier this month.

Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart virtually welcomed the participants as the Estonian capital is the network lead. Over the next two years, the cities will focus on making sustainable development a reality in their territories and in particular on the drafting and implementation of their Integrated Action Plans.


[ Read more ]



How cities are joining forces across borders to tackle climate change

Representatives of EU institutions, the United Nations and municipalities pledged for a stronger role for local and regional governments in the fight against climate change during a webinar jointly organised on 27 April by PLATFORMA and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR). This was the first thematic webinar of the year organised by PLATFORMA, after a successful series in 2020.

Local governments are suffering the consequences and challenges of climate change but they can also provide some of the solutions if they are empowered”, said Frédéric Vallier, CEMR Secretary General during the opening of the session.


[ Read more ]

- Library More items -

Rural development

Uptake of EU funds in rural areas: analysis from a local and regional perspective


UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

A snapshot of local and regional Europe   


Recovery and resilience plans

The involvement of municipalities, cities and regions

- Upcoming events -
7 June
  .  Clean and circular water | European Green Week
Location : Online
15 to 16 June
  .  European Development Days
Location : Online
15 to 17 June
  .  URBACT City Festival 2021
Location : Online
14 to 18 June
  .  Refugee Week
Location : Online
29 June
  .  Cités Unies France “Rencontres” of the International action of local authorities | PLATFORMA
Location : Online
20 to 26 September
  .  European Sustainable Development Week
Location : Online


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