Cllr Robert Saunders recently attended the 32nd plenary session of the Council of Europe (CoE) Congress of Local Authorities in Strasbourg. The three day event included debates on a range of topics including tackling anti-gypsyism, supporting Turkey towards more local democracy and what can be done to make the democratic process more attractive and accessible to young people. The 33rd session will be held in Strasbourg in October 2017.
Cllr Saunders was also elected as a Vice- President of the Congress Governance Committee. The work of the committee includes ensuring good governance practice, democratic processes, accountable public finance, inter-authority/regional co-operation and e-participation. The committee also co-ordinates the annual European Local Democracy Week. The next meeting of the committee will be in Eupen, Belgium in May 2017.
During his visit to Strasbourg Cllr Saunders also took time to visit the European Court of Human Rights and met with the UK’s nominated Justice, Tim Eicke QC. Cllr Saunders said: “Despite the claims made during the EU referendum campaign the UK remains a fully committed signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court is an umbrella organisation of the Council of Europe, separate from the EU and not therefore immediately affected by Brexit. It has a fundamental role being one of the three key principles underpinning the work of the CoE – Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law”.