- international networks (CEMR and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe)
- cooperating with the EU Parliament and monitoring EU affairs at the national level
- international visits
Finnish municipal decision-makers in key roles at the plenary session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
Jani Kokko, Atte Kaleva, Saija Karnisto-Toivonen, Teuvo Hatva and Lauri Heikkilä at the plenary session.
Finnish municipal decision-makers took the floor at the plenary session of the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. The session was held in Strasbourg from 24 to 27 October 2022. Head of the Finnish Delegation, Atte Kaleva (National Coalition Party), participated in a debate that was organised as part of the meeting of the Congress's Chamber of Regions. The debate focused on the future finances of local and regional authorities.
– As a small country, we should focus on challenges that are important for global markets and political change, such as renewable energy, circular economy and green transition, said Mr Kaleva during the debate.
The role of Finnish municipal decision-makers in the Congress was further strengthened by the unanimous election of Teuvo Hatva (Centre Party), Chair of Kajaani municipal executive, as Vice President of the Chamber of Regions. The Chamber of Regions focuses on developing cooperation between European regions and promoting best practices to support the regions’ sustainable economic development.
– Russia's attack on Ukraine has shown that now it is more important than ever to respect human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Local and regional authorities have a key role to play in this, and I will be able to promote these issues in the Chamber of Regions, Hatva said after the results were announced.
Monitoring the state of local democracy
Vice-Chair of the Monitoring Committee, Jani Kokko (Social Democratic Party), presented the country report of the Czech Republic at the plenary session. The aim of the report was to examine the state of local democracy in the country and make recommendations for improving the situation. Mr Kokko, Deputy Head of the Finnish Delegation, considers election reports and monitoring as one of the most important tasks of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.
– Free and fair elections are a requirement for local democracy. Democratic regional and local governments are reliant on the confidence of citizens. To strengthen this confidence, the Congress conducts monitoring operations in the Member States of the Council of Europe, Kokko concludes.
Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
The Council of Europe's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is the voice of cities and municipalities in the international arena.
The Council of Europe is the continent's leading human rights organisation. It protects and promotes human rights, the rule of law and pluralistic democracy. The main goal of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is to strengthen the political, administrative and financial independence of European local and regional authorities. Democratic local government promotes the political stability of the continent and supports the human rights of minorities.
Finland has been a member of the Council of Europe and had representatives in the Congress since 1989. The AFLRA has acted as Secretariat of the Finnish Delegation since Finland became a Council of Europe member state.