Congress Governance Committee met in a hybrid session on November 19, 2021

The Congress Governance Committee, chaired by Jelena Drenjanin, convened in a hybrid format on November 19, 2021, at the Palais de l’Europe in Strasbourg and online via Kudo. 

The report “Beyond elections: the use of deliberative methods in European municipalities and regions,” delivered by rapporteur Karl-Heinz Lambertz (Belgium, SOC/G/PD), was discussed and adopted by the Committee members. At the Congress plenary session in March 2022, the draft resolution and recommendations of this report will be debated for adoption. 

Deliberative methods involving citizens picked at random through a “citizens’ lottery” to offer ideas to the authorities are complementary to representative democracy, according to Rapporteur Karl-Heinz Lambertz (Belgium, SOC/G/PD). Citizens’ lack of trust in democratic institutions and the political process has prompted an increase in the employment of deliberative approaches. 

The paper contains guidance for towns and regions, including tiny villages, and highlights illustrative examples of exemplary practice. It outlines the fundamentals of a productive deliberative process. 

The Committee also held discussions on smart cities and regions, with Ralf-Martin Soe, Founding Director and Senior Research Fellow at Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia), as well as regional identities and how to improve dialogue to reduce regional tensions, with Eva Maria Belser, Co-Director of the Institute of Federalism at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and Vice-President of the Congress’ Group of Independent Experts. 

With the participation of Robert Müller-Török, Professor at the Ludwigsburg University of Public Administration and Finance (Germany), and Alexander Prosser, Professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, the Committee members also discussed the evolution of online hate speech and fake news and their effects on local democracy (Austria). This discussion is part of a collaborative endeavor between Congress and numerous European universities and academic centers. 

The Commission elected Kevin Bentley (United Kingdom, ECR) as its 5th Vice-President at this meeting.