Vienna, 16 October 2012 – Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger congratulates the President of the Tyrolean Parliament Herwig van Staa on his election as President of the Congress of European Municipalities and Regions. This is the first time that a former president has been elected for a second term; a fact that reflects the Congress’ appreciation for the work done by Herwig van Staa. The Congress consists of elected representatives of municipalities and regions of all 47 members of the Council of Europe. “His active advocacy of the rights of self-government and good governance on municipal and regional level is greatly valued everywhere from Iceland to Russia. The appointment reflects this appreciation. The fact that a representative of Austria has been elected to a leading position illustrates once again our close connection to the Council of Europe whose presidency Austria will have for six months starting November 2013”, Spindelegger said.
The Congress is a unique pan-European forum for the promotion of democracy, rule of law and human rights on local and regional level. Its tasks reach from the observation of local elections, the review of the practical application of the rights of self-government of municipalities and regions to fighting child abuse.
The intense and successful European cooperation of Austrian federal provinces and municipalities has also contributed to the decision of the Congress members. “A Europe of the people will be mainly created on local and regional level. The election underlines once again that Austrians and their commitment are appreciated at the European level”, Spindelegger concluded.
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