- Council of European Municipalities and Regions
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CCRE - CEMR) is the largest organisation of local and regional governments in Europe. Its members are national associations of towns, municipalities and regions from 39 countries. Together these associations represent about 100,000 local and regional authorities.
The organisation was founded in Geneva in 1951 by a group of European mayors. Regions were later allowed to join as well, hence the name Council of European Municipalities and Regions.
CEMR’s annual budget is about €2.5 million. Membership fees from its national associations make up the bulk of its funding . About 15% are paid by the European Commission through an annual grant.
CEMR's task is to promote a united Europe, based on locally and regionally autonomous government and democracy. To this end, it endeavours to shape the future of Europe by enhancing local and regional contributions, to influence European law and policy, to exchange experience at the local and regional levels and to cooperate with partners in other parts of the world.
CEMR is active in a number of political fields, including regional policy, transport, the environment, equal opportunities and governance. Its committees and working groups seek to influence draft EU legislation in order that the interests and concerns of local and regional authorities are taken into account from the earliest stages of the EU legislative process.
Local entities contribute to CEMR’s calendar of activities by organising seminars and conferences on a wide range of issues to promote the exchange and dissemination of experience at the local and regional levels.
CEMR is also deeply involved in building an extensive European town twinning network. Today, there are over 30,000 twinning projects linking towns from all over Europe. This process is improved through CEMR's close cooperation with the DG Education and Culture of the European Commission.
The organisation has also assumed the function of the European section of the new worldwide organisation United Cities and Local Governments.
The European charter for equality of women and men in local life
In May 2006 CEMR launched the European charter for equality of women and men in local life.
Local and regional governments are invited to sign the charter to make a formal public commitment to the principle of equality between men and women and to implement the charter within their territory.
CEMR and town twinning
According to CEMR town twinning has always been a vital way to bring Europe closer to its citizens beyond national boundaries.
In May 2007, CEMR organised a conference on Twinning for tomorrow's world in Rhodes. Over 600 representatives of local governments from across Europe met to discuss issues like new types of twinning; obtaining financial support; and how twinning can contribute to social inclusion. In September 2011, CEMR is organising in Rybnik (Poland) a European congress on citizenship and twinning. It will provide participants with the possibility to discover the next generation of partnerships between local and regional governments and their citizens; explore how to foster the development of a more “grassroots democracy” and to participate in a consultation on citizenship.
A new website dedicated to town twinning has also been launched. It is available in 23 languages and consists of two parts: one bringing together background and topical information about twinning, and the other enabling local governments to find twinning partners online.
- Congress of the Council of Europe
- European Union Regional policy
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