Assembly of European Regions

Assembly of European Regions

The Assembly of European Regions (AER) is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together more than 270 regions from 33 countries and 13 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional co-operation.

Historical background

On 15 June 1985, at Louvain-la-Neuve (Walloon Brabant), 47 Regions and 9 interregional organisations founded the Council of the Regions of Europe (CRE), which would later become the Assembly of European Regions in November 1987 at the second General meeting of the Regions of Europe in Brussels.

AER Mission

The regions are a pillar for democracy in Europe. They are close to the citizens and are therefore in the best position to meet their aspirations and solve their economic and social problems. This regional situation fully justifies the regions' participation within State institutions but also in the decision-making process at European level.

Originally, the AER's main task was to have the place and role of the regions acknowledged in the construction of a democratic Europe, close to the citizens. Consequently, right from the beginning, the AER has been committed, above all, to promoting regionalism and to institutionalising the regions' participation in European politics. The creation of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe by the Council of Europe in 1994 followed by the creation of the Committee of the Regions by the European Union in 1995, are proof of these principles in action.

Definition of "Region"

According to the AER statutes, in principle the term "region" refers to a territorial authority existing at the level immediately below that of the central government, with its own political representation in the form of an elected regional assembly.

AER Priorities for 2007-2012

* Promoting the modernisation and internationalisation of regional governance
* Promoting innovation, growth and employment in Europe’s regions
* Addressing the challenges of demographic change, migration, health and social exclusion
* Ensuring sustainable development and combating environmental degradation
* Developing democracy through diversity, and promoting diversity in culture, media and education
* Creating a secure environment for citizens

Means of governance

The General Assembly

The General Assembly consists of the political representatives of the AER member regions. It decides upon the AER’s political strategy, votes on the budget, decides on the creation of committees or specific assignments, ratifies the acceptance of members, etc. It elects the AER President, the members of the Bureau and the Secretary General.

The Bureau

The Bureau makes all the decisions necessary for the smooth running of affairs between General Assemblies and co-ordinates the work of the different committees. It meets at least twice a year. Its members are elected for two years by the General Assembly, at the proposal of member Regions. It includes at least one regional representative per country represented within the AER. Two standing committees report directly to this body:
* The "standing committee for "Institutional Affairs" which focuses on upholding the core principles of subsidiarity, good governance and regional democracy;
* The "standing committee for "Monitoring and Evaluation" which focuses on upholding the priorities defined in the strategic plan.

The Presidium

The Presidium consists of the AER President, two Vice Presidents, the Vice-President Treasurer and the Presidents of each of the AER’s committees. In the interim period between Bureau meetings, and by delegation, the Presidium can meet and take decisions that are then submitted to the following Bureau.

Committee structure

Committee 1: Economy and Regional Development

Regional economic development, employment and knowledge society, environment, energy, rural development/agriculture and infrastructure, tourism.

Committee 2: Social Policy and Public Health

Social policy, equal opportunities, demographics, public health and emergency planning

Committee 3: Culture, Education and Interregional Cooperation

Culture, education and training, youth, media, and information technologies, international and interregional co-operation


Presidents of Committees/standing committees are responsible for establishing the sub-committees deemed necessary to deliver the committee’s work throughout his/her term of office and for a minimum of two years.

Working groups

These are temporary bodies, formed on an ad-hoc basis for new issues arising in the context of the activities of the committees.

The AER Programmes


Eurodyssey is an interregional programme promoting vocational training and the mobility of young people across Europe.

Summer School

Annual forum devoted to relevant issues in the area of regional development.

Youth Summer School

Annual forum aimed at empowering young people and supporting their involvement in regional policies and public life.


Interregional programme and network for the exchange of experience in key areas of regional development.

ee also

* European Institutions in Strasbourg

External links

* [ Assembly of European Regions]

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