The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) congress representing 150,000 local authorities from 41 countries congress is meeting at the Filoxenia conference centre in Nicosia from April 20 to 22.
“It’s a double symbol, as Cyprus is a European island at the doors of the east, in the Mediterranean Sea, which is a place full of challenges we have yet to overcome. Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, is the last divided European city,” Iñigo de la Serna, president of the council said on the choice of the location for the congress whose members meet every four years.
He said over 500 participants will be taking part, plus a range of local government partners such as civil society representatives, academics and economists.
One-hundred-and-twenty-five speakers from all over Europe will cover 30 sessions.
Topics include the refugee crisis, climate change, the economic crisis and its impact on local finances, territorial reform in Europe and creating smart cities.
“We are in a constantly evolving society, in which mayors and elected representatives always have to be ready to face these challenges, now and in the future,” said de la Serna.
The theme of the congress is ‘Tomorrow starts today! A local and regional vision of Europe 2030’.
Representatives of European institutions, with which CEMR has a close relationship, will also be in Nicosia. “Nowadays, 60 per cent of the political agenda of a mayor is influenced by European legislation. It is therefore essential that these mayors and local councillors also have the opportunity to exchange with European lawmakers,” he said.
The congress is organised by CEMR and Nicosia municipality with the support of the Union of Cyprus Municipalities.
The CEMR aims to influence European legislation on behalf of cities and local and regional governments and to provide a platform of exchange for its members and partners and is currently working on creating a common local and regional vision of Europe 2030.
The congress website, www.cemr2016.eu, is available in Greek, English and French, and has information about the programme, speakers, registration, as well as articles with the latest news, photos and videos. An online debate via social media has also been launched, which can be accessed using the hashtag: #cemr2016.