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“Local and regional authorities can help tackle financial crisis”

The Policy Committee of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) met in Paris on 8 and 9 December 2008. Many speakers focused on the global financial crisis and its impact on Europe's towns and regions.
The host of the meeting, mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë called on Europe's leaders to understand that local and regional authorities can bring solutions. Innovative solutions often emanate from towns and regions; besides our local and regional authorities are the engine that drives economic growth through public investment.
The mayor of Paris also called for local authorities to create a databank gathering the best ideas in terms of local economic development.
The president of CEMR and mayor of Vienna Michael Häupl echoed Bertrand Delanoë's views: This financial crisis is global, but its solutions are first and foremost local. Europe cannot hope to solve it without working very closely with our local and regional authorities.
The Policy Committee meeting was organised in cooperation with CEMR's French association AFCCRE. Its president Louis Le Pensec stressed the benefits of Europe in the current financial turmoil: Let us be frank, thanks to the Euro, our financial situation is not as bad as it could have been. The Euro shielded us from the crisis' worst effects. I can only express the regret that it takes crises for some to hear and appreciate the European message and ideal.
Most participants, including the co-host and president of Ile-de-France region Jean-Paul Huchon expressed similar views by calling on the European and national authorities to work with local and regional authorities and associations to solve the financial crisis.
Croatia joins CEMR…
The Policy Committee also approved the application for CEMR membership from the Croatian Counties Association, and from the Irish Local Government Management Services Board (LGMSB) as associate member.
CEMR's members are now 53, covering 38 countries.
(At its previous meeting, in Reykjavik, in May 2008, the Policy Committee approved the requests for membership from associations from Bosnia and Herzegovina)
The Policy Committee also adopted a "code of good practice on consultation". It aims, by defining a Europe-wide set of principles, to help associations of local and regional authorities in discussions with their national government, and to convince the latter to adopt these principles.
Over 200 representatives from 31 countries attended the meeting.