President hails local and regional authorities as ‘guardians of grassroots democracy’

 PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier has paid tribute to the role of local and regional authorities as “guardians of grassroots democracy”, building and reinforcing trust between citizens and institutions.

Addressing the Council of Europe Congress, which brings together local and regional deputies from across Europe, during its plenary session in Strasbourg, the President said: “Your role […] is critical for the emergence of a strong ‘collective civic conscience’, which can in turn encourage popular involvement in debates about how we live.”

The President also issued a call for “greater dialogue and co-operation” to overcome the current challenges facing the Council of Europe. She expressed confidence that the organisation was equal to the task: “Let us work and move forward together, for what unites us is much stronger than any divisions which may appear, divisions which we can overcome together.”

She also invited the Congress deputies to support her #NotInMyParliament initiative, which seeks to end harassment, sexual abuse and violence against women in parliaments. “It is our responsibility to clean up our own house. But we hope also to encourage others to do the same,” she said.

“I invite each of you to adapt this key slogan in your own way by using, for example, the following phrases: #NotInMyCongress, #NotInMyTown, #NotInMyRegion, #NotInMyOffice…”