Bodies of the Congress
The President's role is to direct the political activities of the Congress and its Chambers, to carry out Congress policy and to represent the Congress vis-à-vis other international organisations, within the context of the Council of Europe's general policy on external relations.
The President of the Congress ensures that decisions taken by the Congress are implemented and reacts on behalf of the Congress to current developments. He or she also presents the activities of the Congress and the texts that it has adopted to the Parliamentary Assembly and Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
Jean-Claude Frécon (France, SOC) was elected President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe on 14 October 2014 for a two-year term of office.
The Bureau is responsible for preparing proposals relating to general policy of the Congress, the budget and the local and regional monitoring missions as well as the local election observation missions.
Comprising the Bureaux of the Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions, the Bureau's task is to ensure that work goes on at times when neither the Standing Committee nor the Congress is meeting.
The Bureau is also responsible for preparing for Congress sessions and for coordinating the work of the Chambers and statutory committees. It may also draw up reports and submit these to be considered and voted on by the Chambers and the Congress. It decides on and updates the apportionment of full members' seats on the statutory committees, as well as the list of member states which send representatives to the Chamber of Regions in a solely advisory capacity.
As a general rule, meetings of the Bureau take place in camera. The Bureau of the Congress may, however, decide to invite observers to some or all of its meetings and may hold hearings of individuals and organisations. The Bureau may also, at its own discretion, invite to some or all of its meetings, in an advisory capacity, the chairpersons of political groups, statutory committees and working groups, as well as the rapporteur of one of the statutory committees and/or of a working group.
Chamber of Local Authorities
The Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress concentrates mainly on studying the situation of local democracy and on observing local elections in the 47 Council of Europe member states.
The Chamber also deals with societal issues and encourages initiatives promoting cohesion in European towns and cities. Citizen participation, intercultural dialogue, e-democracy and respect for equality and diversity are examples of the areas in which it works.
It also endeavours to promote the principles of local democracy outside Europe, inter alia through Euro-Arab dialogue between cities and Euro-Mediterranean co-operation.
Twice a year, during the sessions of the Congress, the Chamber of Local Authorities meets to consider substantive and current issues relating to the local dimension in Europe. Its Bureau meets regularly, holding discussions and preparing draft recommendations and resolutions to be submitted for adoption during sessions.
Chamber of Regions
Many of the Council of Europe's member states nowadays rely on their regions for progress in terms of economic and social development, as well as deriving great benefit from their regional diversity.
Which forms of governance and regional self-government should they adopt? How can co-operation between Europe's regions be promoted? What role can intra-regional transport play in regional cohesion? How can good governance contribute to sustainable economic development in the regions? These are just a few of the subjects on which the Chamber of Regions of the Congress works.
Chamber members represent authorities at a level between central and local government which have either self-governing or state-like powers. In order to qualify regions must effectively have the capacity to take full responsibility, in the interests of their communities, for a substantial share of matters of public concern, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. Member states which have regions with legislative powers, in particular, should send members of those regional authorities to the Chamber of Regions.