The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe is a consultative organ composed of representatives of local and regional authorities of the member states of the Council of Europe. Its objectives are set out in Article 2 of Statutory Resolution CM/Res(2011)2 relating to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.
1. The Congress shall be composed of representatives of local and regional bodies who either hold a general local or regional authority mandate resulting from direct elections or are politically accountable to a directly elected assembly, on the condition that they can be individually dismissed by, or following the decision of the aforementioned assembly and that dismissal is provided for by law.
2. The membership of each member stateís delegation to the Congress shall be such as to ensure:
a. a balanced geographical distribution of members from the member stateís territory;
b. equitable representation of the various types of local and regional authorities in the member state;
c. equitable representation of the various political forces in the statutory bodies of local and regional authorities in the member state;
d. equitable representation of women and men on the statutory bodies of local and regional authorities in the member state, meaning that all delegations must include members of both sexes with a minimum participation of at least 30% of the under-represented sex among the representatives and among the substitutes.
3. Each member state shall have the right to the same number of seats in the Congress as it has in the Parliamentary Assembly. Each member state sends a number of substitutes equal to the number of representatives it sends. Substitutes shall be members of the Chambers in the same capacity as representatives.
4. With regard to the Chamber of Regions, members must be from authorities placed between central government and local authorities and enjoying prerogatives either of self-organisation or of a type normally associated with the central authority and having a genuine competence to manage, on their own responsibility and in the interests of their populations, a substantial share of public affairs, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. If a country has authorities which cover a large area and exercise both local and regional responsibilities, representatives of such authorities shall also be entitled to sit in the Chamber of Regions. A list of these authorities shall be provided in the context of the national appointment procedure. Member states which do not have regional authorities within the meaning of this paragraph shall be able to send members to the Chamber of Regions and its organs in an advisory capacity. The list of these countries shall be determined by the Bureau of the Congress on the proposal of the Governance Committee of the Congress, following consultation of the national delegations.
5. The rules and procedures governing the choice of representatives to the Congress shall also apply to substitutes.
6. Representatives and substitutes shall be appointed for a period of four years. In the event of the death or resignation of a representative or substitute, or of loss of the mandate referred to in paragraph 1 above, a replacement shall be chosen, in accordance with the same rules and procedure, for the remainder of his or her predecessorís mandate. A representative or substitute who has lost his or her mandate, referred to in paragraph 1 may not remain a member of the Congress for more than six months after the loss of his or her mandate. In case of local and/or regional elections taking place up to four months prior to a renewal session, the four year mandate foreseen in Article 3.3 of the Statutory Resolution may be extended for a maximum of six months after the election.
1. Representatives and substitutes to the Congress shall be appointed by an official procedure specific to each member state. In particular, it shall provide for consultation in each member state of the relevant associations and/or institutional bodies and shall specify the principles to be adhered to in apportioning members in the two Chambers. Each government shall inform the Secretary General of the Council of Europe of this procedure. Such a procedure shall be approved by the Congress in conformity with the principles contained in its Rules of Procedure.
2. Each member state, when notifying the Secretary General of the Council of Europe of the composition of its delegation, shall indicate those representatives and substitutes who will be members of the Chamber of Local Authorities and those who will be members of the Chamber of Regions. Each state shall appoint the same number of members to each Chamber. Countries having regions within the meaning of paragraph 4 of Article 2 of the Charter must appoint as far as possible the same number of representatives to the Chamber of Regions as to the Chamber of Local Authorities, or as close as possible a number in case of national delegations with an odd number of representatives.
1. Whenever representatives and substitutes have been appointed, the Bureau shall check their credentials. Its conclusions shall be put to the vote in the Congress during sessions and in the Statutory Forum between sessions.
2. In case a national delegation does not comply with Article 2.2 of the Charter, its members will only be able to sit in the Congress without any right to vote or reimbursement of expenses.
3. A representative or substitute whose credentials are not ratified shall not be considered a member of the Congress and may not therefore receive allowances for attending Congress meetings.
1. International associations of local and regional authorities which have participatory status with the Council of Europe shall have observer status with the Congress. Other organisations may, on request, obtain observer status with the Congress, and/or with one of its Chambers, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure.
2. The Congress may, on request, grant special guest status to delegations from local and regional authorities in European non-member states which have such status with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The Bureau of the Congress shall assign to each special guest state the same number of seats as it has in the Parliamentary Assembly. The appointment of special guest delegations shall be based on the same criteria set out in Articles 2 and 3.
3. Observers and members of the delegations mentioned in paragraph 2 shall take part in the proceedings of the Congress and of its Chambers, with the right to speak, subject to the presidentís consent, but not to vote. The other conditions of their participation in the, Statutory Forum, committees and in working groups shall be laid down in the Rules of Procedure of the Congress.
1. The Congress shall meet in session at least once a year. Sessions shall be held at the Council of Europeís headquarters, unless otherwise decided, by common consent, by the Congress or its Bureau and the Committee of Ministers. Sessions of the Congress and its Chambers shall be public.
2. The sessions of each of the two Chambers shall be held either immediately before and/or after the session of the Congress. On the proposal of the Bureau of the Congress, either Chamber may hold other sessions.
3. The political groups of the Congress shall meet principally on the occasion of sessions and Statutory Forum meetings.
1. Within the framework of the Congress, work is also organised in the two Chambers: the Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions. Each Chamber has at its disposal a number of seats equal to that of the Congress itself.
2. Each Chamber shall elect its Bureau from among its representatives for a period of two years. It shall be composed of the president of the Chamber and seven vice-presidents, respecting as far as possible a fair geographical distribution among member states. No member state shall have more than one representative on the Bureau of either Chamber. The Bureaux of the Chambers may only meet on the occasion of a meeting of the Bureau of the Congress.
1. The Statutory Forum shall act on behalf of the Congress between sessions. In particular, it shall adopt reports, and organise debates and hearings in accordance with the objectives of the Congress.
2. The Statutory Forum shall be composed of the heads of all national delegations together with the members of the Congress Bureau. The Statutory Forum shall be convened, as necessary, by the president upon decision of the Bureau.
1. The Bureau of the Congress is composed of the Bureaux of the Chambers plus the President of the Congress, and shall be responsible, in the period between the sessions of the Statutory Forum and the Congress, for ensuring the continuity of the Congressís work. Presidents of the political groups and chairs of the committees will be ex officio members of the Bureau without voting rights.
2. The Bureau shall also be responsible for the preparation of the session of the Congress, the co-ordination of the work of the two Chambers, in particular the distribution of questions between the two Chambers, the co-ordination of the work of the committees and of the ad hoc working groups, preparation of the budget and the balanced allocation of budgetary resources between the Congress and the two Chambers. As regards the distribution of questions, no question may be considered in both Chambers. Any matter in which both Chambers would have an interest shall be considered in the Congress. The mandate of the Bureau and its role shall be detailed in the Rules of Procedure.
3. The Bureau of the Congress shall be presided over by the President of the Congress.
1. When a question falls within the competence of the two Chambers, the Bureau of the Congress may, in exceptional cases, set up an ad hoc working group common to both Chambers.
2. After the distribution of questions between the two Chambers and the committees in accordance with Article 9, the Bureau of the Chamber competent to deal with a question may, in exceptional cases, set up an ad hoc working group with a limited number of members empowered with specific terms of reference (preparation of reports, organisation of conferences, follow-up to co-operation projects or to specific intergovernmental activities of the Council of Europe).
3. Organisation of the work of ad hoc working groups shall be governed by the Rules of Procedure.
4. The Congress and its two Chambers may, in accordance with the provisions to be set out in their Rules of Procedure, consult and work with representatives of international associations of local and regional authorities mentioned in Article 5 as well as national associations of local and regional authorities involved in the process of appointing national delegations. As a general rule, the cost of participation shall be borne by such organisations or associations.
1. All the recommendations and opinions to be addressed to the Committee of Ministers and/or the Parliamentary Assembly as well as the resolutions addressed to the local and regional authorities as a whole shall be adopted by the Congress in plenary sitting or by the Statutory Forum.
2. However, when a question is considered by the Bureau of the Congress as falling exclusively within the competence of a Chamber:
a. the recommendations and opinions relating to such questions which are addressed to the Committee of Ministers and/or to the Parliamentary Assembly shall be adopted either by the Congress or by the Statutory Forum between sessions, but without any consideration of the substance of the matter. In exceptional cases, the Bureau of the Congress may authorise the other Chamber to formulate an opinion on these draft texts;
b. the resolutions relating to the question and which are addressed to the authorities that the Chamber represents shall be adopted either by the Congress or by the Statutory Forum between sessions, without consideration of the substance of the matter.
The conditions under which the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly may be collectively represented in the debates of the Congress or of the Chambers and those under which their representatives may, in an individual capacity, speak therein shall be drawn up by the Committee of Ministers after consultation with the Congress and inserted in the Rules of Procedure of the latter.
1. The Congress adopts its own Rules of Procedure which also concerns the Chambers. In particular, each set of rules shall provide for:
a. the modalities for assessing compliance with the criteria of Article 2.2 of the Charter;
b. a quorum;
c. questions concerning the right to vote and the majorities required, it being understood that the recommendations and opinions addressed to the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly, and also recommendations addressed to a country following observation of local or regional elections, shall be adopted by a majority of two-thirds of the votes cast;
d. the procedure for the election of the President of the Congress and the president and vice-presidents of each Chamber;
e. the procedure for the establishment of the agenda and its transmission to members;
f. the organisation of the work of the committees and of the ad hoc working groups.
2. Moreover, the rules of the Congress shall provide for the time-limit and method of notification of the names of representatives and substitutes and the procedure for the examination of their credentials, by taking into account in particular Articles 2, 3 and 7 of the present Charter.
1. The Congress shall elect its president from the members, who are representatives, of each Chamber on an alternating basis. The president shall remain in office for two years.
2. Each Chamber of the Congress shall elect from among its representatives a president who shall remain in office for two years.
1. The Secretariat of the Congress shall be provided by the Secretary General of the Congress, elected by the Congress. The Secretary General of the Congress shall be answerable to the Congress and its organs and act under the authority of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. Candidates shall be free to submit their applications directly to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, who will transmit them to the President of the Congress, together with his or her opinion. Following examination of these candidatures, the Bureau shall submit a list of candidates to the vote of the Congress. The Statutory Forum, on behalf of the Congress, shall establish the procedure for the election of the Secretary General of the Congress, in order to clarify points which are not dealt with in the current Charter.
2. The Congress shall elect its Secretary General for a renewable term of five years, although he or she may not exceed the age limit applicable to all Council of Europe staff.
3. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe shall appoint a Director, following consultation with the Bureau of the Congress.
4. The Secretariat of each Chamber shall be provided by the Executive Secretary of the Chamber who is appointed by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe after an informal exchange of views with the president of the Chamber concerned, during which he or she shall communicate his or her intentions and the reasons for his or her choice.
1. The Committee of Ministers shall adopt the budget of the Congress, as part of the Ordinary Budget of the Council of Europe.
2. This budget shall be designed, in particular, to cover the expenditure occasioned by the Congress sessions, by the meetings of the two Chambers and Congress organs, and by all other clearly identifiable expenditure linked to the activities of the Congress. For plenary sessions, only the participation costs of representatives shall be defrayed by this budget.
3. The budget of the Congress shall constitute a specific vote of the Council of Europe budget.
4. The Congress shall inform the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the Committee of Ministers of its budgetary needs. Its requests shall be examined in the general context of the draft budget presented by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
5. The rates and methods of calculating Congress membersí per diem allowances shall be subject to a specific decision by the Committee of Ministers.
6. The budget of the Congress (apart from the remuneration of permanent staff and the amounts allocated to political groups) shall constitute a package which the Bureau of the Congress will be responsible for managing. However, the Bureau shall abide by the financial regulations of the Council of Europe and see to it that the necessary funds are earmarked for the functioning of the statutory bodies of the Congress and of the two Chambers. It may not exceed the limit of the overall budgetary provision allocated to the Congress.