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European Charter of Regional Democracy

Volume 487: debated on Monday 2 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what response the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has made to the Recommendation by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in Europe on the draft European Charter of Regional Democracy; and what assessment she has made of the content of the Recommendation. (252291)

Whilst the official level Steering Committee has now advised, with the support of the UK delegation to that Committee, that no further CoE resources should be used to pursue a legally binding convention on regional democracy, I understand that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has not yet responded to the Congress on their Recommendation. Whilst recognising the value that regions can have for democracy, the Government has consistently opposed a prescriptive legally binding charter of regional self-government on the grounds that democratic regional institutions are not a pre-requisite for a modern democracy and it is for each state to decide, having regard to what its people want, whether to adopt any regional governance structures.