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Weekly Focus: German municipalities underline importance of new forms of town twinning links

The Franco-German Committee, established by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions' French (AFCCRE) and German (RGRE) sections, underlined the importance of introducing new forms of town twinning links,.at the occasion of their annual meeting held on 20 and 21 January 2011 in Berlin, Germany..
Indeed, participants stressed the need to involve younger generations and more disadvantaged populations, as well as cover a larger scope of fields such as mobility, professional training and exchanges.
This willingness notably comes from a desire to renew the town twinning movement between French and German municipalities, the notion of twinning having changed and evolved over the years.
Other challenges addressed during the Franco-German Committee meeting included the provision of quality social services in the context of an aging society, as well as enhancing the birth rate, better integrating women into the labour market and increasing solidarity between generations.
German local and regional authorities and CEMR
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) has four member associations in Germany: the German section of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (RGRE), the German Association of Cities (DST), the German Association of Towns and Municipalities (DStGB) and the German Counties Association (DLT).

Rat der Gemeinden und Regionen Europas (RGRE) is CEMR's German section and presided over by Wolfgang Schuster, president of CEMR and mayor of Stuttgart. It currently represents a total of 600 cities, municipalities and counties. The other three German associations are also members of RGRE.

Headed by Roland Schäfer, mayor of Bergkamen, DStGB represents more than 13 000 cities and municipalities in Germany, accounting for approximately 43 million inhabitants. Established in 1973, it aims at defending the interests of local government vis-à-vis the federal bodies and serves as an information network, helping make local issues better known to the general public and media. DStGB also acts as a platform for the exchange of experiences and information amongst its members.
Representing a total of 51 million inhabitants in 5 500 municipalities, DST was founded in 1905 and is currently presided over by Petra Roth, mayor of Frankfurt. Much like its aforementioned sister organisation, DST upholds the interests of cities and municipalities in their dealings with state-level bodies while facilitating exchanges between its members. It also promotes the development of modern public administration and collaborates with municipalities to put forward innovative ideas when facing new local challenges.
DLT represents all of Germany's districts, which accounts for a total of 68% of the total population. The association, which was created in 1916, is presided over by Hans Jörg Duppré, district administrator of Rhineland-Palatinate. The association notably informs its members of the impact of federal policies and legislation on the districts and provides a platform for the exchange of experiences.
Local and regional government in Germany

Germany is a federal state composed of 14 000 cities and municipalities (Gemeinden), 300 districts (Kreise) and 16 federal states (Länder).