Skip to main content

Who We Are

ABOUT

CEMR

The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) is the oldest and broadest European association of Local and Regional Governments. We are unique, being the only organisation that encompasses 60 national associations of Local and Regional Governments spanning 41 European countries. Through them, we bring together more than 110,000 governments across all tiers of governance – local, intermediate, and regional. Additionally, as the European section of the global organisation United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), we champion European Local and Regional Governments on the world stage.

Mission

We are dedicated to fostering peaceful, inclusive, just, and resilient territories and communities. To achieve this, we work in close cooperation with our member associations to empower Local and Regional Governments and their leaders on the ground. Our approach revolves around the belief that local leaders are best placed to identify and shape solutions to the most complex challenges of our time.
We believe that nothing can be achieved without strong and empowered Local and Regional Governments, whether it is to decarbonise our territories, combat inequalities, or navigate new health crises. Therefore, it is essential that they are provided with effective financial means and competencies to drive the transformation of their territories hand in hand with local communities, and that they are structurally involved in designing European and national policies and be given the opportunity to influence global and international dialogues.

Vision

We endeavour to bring together local leaders from all environments - from urban to rural, large to small municipalities, encompassing all governance levels - with a vision to ensure that Local and Regional Governments are best equipped to drive the sustainable transition of their territories and communities and address global challenges.
We will achieve this by joining efforts with our member associations to unlock the power of multilevel governance and boost efforts toward European and international cooperation, leveraging the unparalleled strength of our membership, which comprises more than one million locally elected politicians from all over Europe.

History

Founded in Geneva on 28 January 1951, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions was the visionary project of a group of European mayors steadfastly convinced that that the seeds of a peaceful and prosperous Europe, rising from the ashes of World War II, would be sown through city-to-city and region-to-region cooperation. Central to their vision was the principle of local self-government. Today, this foundational value remains intact within the CEMR. We stand unique, being the only organisation where political appointments are determined through a genuine bottom-up approach. Our national associations are exclusively responsible for selecting their representatives for CEMR.

  • 1951
  • 1953
  • 1975
  • 1979
  • 1983
  • 1984
  • 1985
  • 1990’s
  • 2004
  • 2006
  • 2008
  • 2015
  • 2021
  • 2023
  • 2024
  • Creation of the Council of European Municipalities (CEM)

    Founded by 56 mayors and local representatives from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the Netherlands in the post-war era with the mission to build a united and peaceful Europe.

  • The European Charter of Municipalities

    This document established the commitment of the Council of European Municipalities (CEM) to preserve municipal liberties.

  • 4,000 Twinning projects

    CEM’s early work primarily centred on promoting town Twinning. National associations facilitated municipal requests, fostering friendship and solidarity. A new model of city-to-city cooperation is born.

  • First elected women conference

    Two hundred women representatives of European municipalities, provinces and regions met on the occasion of the first “Meeting of Women Local and Regional elected representatives of the European Community” organised by CEM to allow for the debating of the “Renewal of European Society” for three days.

  • Regions join CEM thus becoming CEMR

    Over the years, CEM broadened its membership beyond municipalities to also include regions and counties. CEMR has consistently advocated not only for political decentralisation but also a decentralised territorial approach to economic development.

  • European Charter of Local Self-Government

    Ratified by the Council’s 7 member states, The Charter commits the parties to applying basic rules guaranteeing the political, administrative and financial independence of local authorities.

  • CEMR as European Section in IULA

    CEMR became the European section of the world organisation of local authorities, the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA), which later merged with the FMCU-UTO to create United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) in 2004.

  • Creation of UCLG and CEMR as European Section

    United Cities and Local Governments is an umbrella international organisation for cities, local and regional governments, and municipal associations throughout the world that is concerned with representing and defending the interests of local governments on the world stage.

  • Adoption of the European Charter

    To promote gender equality at the local and regional level, CEMR launched the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life in 2006. The Charter is both a political document and a practical instrument. It encourages local and regional governments to make a public commitment to equality and to implement the principles listed in the Charter.

  • Creation of PLATFORMA

    PLATFORMA is a CEMR project created in 2008 to influence and contribute to the European local development policy. Emphasising sustainable development, it collaborates to address various issues, aligning with the EU, which sponsors 60% of global development aid. 

  • Creation of Global Covenant of Mayors

    This is a powerful and historic response to climate change from cities around the world. GCoM is the largest global alliance for city climate leadership, built upon the commitment of over 12,500 cities and local governments.

  • EU recognition of Local Governments

    In 2021, the EU institutions reached a consensus to exempt local and regional governments, along with their associations, from the mandatory inclusion in the Transparency Register for interest representatives associated with the Parliament, the Council, and the Commission. 

  • Prague Declaration

    CEMR Prague Policy Committee culminated with the adoption of a landmark document titled “The Prague Declaration: More Trust in and Stronger Voice for Local and Regional Governments”. This significant political act underscores the role that Local and Regional Governments (LRGs) play in confronting the formidable challenges facing our municipalities and regions.

  • The biggest electoral year

    Half of the world population will vote, and so will the EU. As the 2024 EU Election approaches, CEMR’s mission gains heightened importance as it strives to amplify the voices of Local and Regional Governments in addressing pressing issues such as ageing populations, economic crises, climate change, political instability, the rise of AI, and neighbouring conflicts creating a Call to Action for the next EU Parliament.