Civil society participation in decision making: dreams, reality and challenges

Regional strategy planning meeting organised by the Council of Europe to plan what the role of the civil society shall be in the next future in the EAP and how the Council of Europe can contribute to its strengthening.

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On 12th June, representatives of civil society coming from all the EAP countries, as well as international experts, attended the event in Chisinau, Moldova. ALDA will contribute by sharing its experience in the area and the work it does with the LDAs and other relevant local partners and stakeholders.

Regional strategy planning meeting organised by the Council of Europe to plan what the role of the civil society shall be in the next future in the EAP and how the Council of Europe can contribute to its strengthening.

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On 12th June, representatives of civil society coming from all the EAP countries, as well as international experts, attended the event in Chisinau, Moldova. ALDA will contribute by sharing its experience in the area and the work it does with the LDAs and other relevant local partners and stakeholders.


Local Coalitions for Community Development in Ulcinj

On 16-17 June, the Training seminar and thematic round table for NGOs an Local Authorities will take place in Ulcinj, Montenegro. The main topic will be “Improving the mechanisms of participation and civil dialogue at local level”.

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The Training seminar and Local Round Table will take place in Ulcinj, on Tuesday 17th June 2014., in the Town Hall Ulcinj ( Small conference room) starting at 13.00.

The local Round table is organised as the follow-up to the local training for NGOs and local authorities on 16-17 June: NGOs and participation in policy and decision making.

The local thematic round table is designed as intra-municipal partnership building workshop engaging local civil society organisations and local authorities as an immediate follow-up of the training seminar on partnership building for local community development. Local practice exchange engaging CSOs and LGs respective units as regards agreement based co-operation programmes, involvement of local CSO-s in municipal development strategies, transparency of financing, mechanisms of information provision, consultation and participation of CSO-s in local policy/decision making will be debated.

The local NGOs and associations promoting local democracy development, youth empowerment, environment protection, social service provision, ethnic minorities’ rights are invitated to the event. The aim is to make an overview and help improve the existing mechanisms/modalities of cross-sectoral cooperation in the fields of local democracy, advancing human and minority rights, gender equality, youth empowerment, provision of social services, promoting local sustainable development and environment protection. In addition, specific attention will be given to further inputs and recommendations with regard to the recent draft decision on criteria/procedures for financing of local NGOs.

On 16-17 June, the Training seminar and thematic round table for NGOs an Local Authorities will take place in Ulcinj, Montenegro. The main topic will be “Improving the mechanisms of participation and civil dialogue at local level”.

***

The Training seminar and Local Round Table will take place in Ulcinj, on Tuesday 17th June 2014., in the Town Hall Ulcinj ( Small conference room) starting at 13.00.

The local Round table is organised as the follow-up to the local training for NGOs and local authorities on 16-17 June: NGOs and participation in policy and decision making.

The local thematic round table is designed as intra-municipal partnership building workshop engaging local civil society organisations and local authorities as an immediate follow-up of the training seminar on partnership building for local community development. Local practice exchange engaging CSOs and LGs respective units as regards agreement based co-operation programmes, involvement of local CSO-s in municipal development strategies, transparency of financing, mechanisms of information provision, consultation and participation of CSO-s in local policy/decision making will be debated.

The local NGOs and associations promoting local democracy development, youth empowerment, environment protection, social service provision, ethnic minorities’ rights are invitated to the event. The aim is to make an overview and help improve the existing mechanisms/modalities of cross-sectoral cooperation in the fields of local democracy, advancing human and minority rights, gender equality, youth empowerment, provision of social services, promoting local sustainable development and environment protection. In addition, specific attention will be given to further inputs and recommendations with regard to the recent draft decision on criteria/procedures for financing of local NGOs.


Operating Grant 2014-2017 - ALDA recognised in the Framework Partnerships of the European Commission

ALDA – The European Association for Local Democracy, is proud to be recognized by the European Commission as one of the 26 most active organisations that work in the field of Active Citizenship.

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Since 2008, ALDA obtains the Operating Grant by the Executive Agency of the European Commission. The aim of the Operating Grant is to support organisations with European outreach that, through their permanent, usual and regular activities, make a tangible contribution to the objectives of the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme.

It concerns structural support, referred to as operating grants, to bodies pursuing an aim of general Union interest, to raise awareness on European remembrance or to encourage democratic and civic participation.

Support is granted to organisations in the form of Framework Partnerships for four years (2014-2017), and also this year ALDA has been accepted as part of the Framework Agreement of the European Commission, which includes also its conformation in the Structured Dialogue process.

The general objectives of the work programme adopted by ALDA are to contribute to citizens’ understanding of the Union, its history and diversity, to foster European citizenship and to improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at Union level. Among the annual priorities of ALDA  there are the 10 years of enlargement of the European Union to Central and Eastern Europe, the elections to the European Parliament, the citizens’ participation in the democratic life of the EU, and the future of Europe.

This recognition is of crucial importance for ALDA, which works hard for local democracy, good governance and citizens’ participation, employing a multi-stakeholders and multilevel approach, in order to contribute to build the future of Europe.

ALDA – The European Association for Local Democracy, is proud to be recognized by the European Commission as one of the 26 most active organisations that work in the field of Active Citizenship.

***

Since 2008, ALDA obtains the Operating Grant by the Executive Agency of the European Commission. The aim of the Operating Grant is to support organisations with European outreach that, through their permanent, usual and regular activities, make a tangible contribution to the objectives of the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme.

It concerns structural support, referred to as operating grants, to bodies pursuing an aim of general Union interest, to raise awareness on European remembrance or to encourage democratic and civic participation.

Support is granted to organisations in the form of Framework Partnerships for four years (2014-2017), and also this year ALDA has been accepted as part of the Framework Agreement of the European Commission, which includes also its conformation in the Structured Dialogue process.

The general objectives of the work programme adopted by ALDA are to contribute to citizens’ understanding of the Union, its history and diversity, to foster European citizenship and to improve conditions for civic and democratic participation at Union level. Among the annual priorities of ALDA  there are the 10 years of enlargement of the European Union to Central and Eastern Europe, the elections to the European Parliament, the citizens’ participation in the democratic life of the EU, and the future of Europe.

This recognition is of crucial importance for ALDA, which works hard for local democracy, good governance and citizens’ participation, employing a multi-stakeholders and multilevel approach, in order to contribute to build the future of Europe.


"Cittadinanza attiva e qualità della democrazia" - Giovanni Moro

Martedì 17 giugno, alle ore 17:30 si terrà la presentazione del libro di Giovanni Moro intitolato “Cittadinanza attiva e qualità della democrazia”.

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“Negli ultimi anni assistiamo al proliferare di associazioni di consumatori, movimenti sociali, gruppi ambientalisti, organizzazioni di volontariato, comitati locali, gruppi di auto-aiuto, cooperative e imprese sociali. La partecipazione civica continua ad aumentare proprio mentre quella elettorale è in progressivo calo”. Queste le parole di Giovanni Moro, il quale approfondirà i temi trattati nel suo libro durante la presentazione.

L’incontro si terrà presso la sala convegni Apindustria Confimi – Vicenza, Galleria Crispi 45, e vedrà la partecipazione di Antonella Valmorbida, Segretario Generale di ALDA – Associazione Europea per la Democrazia Locale – e Marco Almagisti, docente di Scienza Politica presso l’Università di Padova.

La partecipazione all’evento è libera fino ad esaurimento posti.

Per info e adesioni consultare il sito internet di Apindustria, oppure contattare il numero 0444 23 22 10.

Consulta anche il volantino dell’evento.

Martedì 17 giugno, alle ore 17:30 si terrà la presentazione del libro di Giovanni Moro intitolato “Cittadinanza attiva e qualità della democrazia”.

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“Negli ultimi anni assistiamo al proliferare di associazioni di consumatori, movimenti sociali, gruppi ambientalisti, organizzazioni di volontariato, comitati locali, gruppi di auto-aiuto, cooperative e imprese sociali. La partecipazione civica continua ad aumentare proprio mentre quella elettorale è in progressivo calo”. Queste le parole di Giovanni Moro, il quale approfondirà i temi trattati nel suo libro durante la presentazione.

L’incontro si terrà presso la sala convegni Apindustria Confimi – Vicenza, Galleria Crispi 45, e vedrà la partecipazione di Antonella Valmorbida, Segretario Generale di ALDA – Associazione Europea per la Democrazia Locale – e Marco Almagisti, docente di Scienza Politica presso l’Università di Padova.

La partecipazione all’evento è libera fino ad esaurimento posti.

Per info e adesioni consultare il sito internet di Apindustria, oppure contattare il numero 0444 23 22 10.

Consulta anche il volantino dell’evento.


Citizens’ participation at the local level in Europe and Neighbouring Countries - New book by ALDA

“Citizens’ participation at the local level in Europe and Neighbouring Countries” is the title of the new publication of ALDA, edited by Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA, and published by Peter Lang.

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ALDA – The European Association for Local Democracy – is an organisation dedicated to the promotion of good governance and citizen participation at the local level. It is made up of over 160 members comprising local authorities and civil society organisations in the enlarged Europe.

Recently, new forms of interaction between citizens and decision makers have been put in place. By analysing ALDA’s 15 years of hands-on activities with its members and partners, this publication contributes to a better understanding of the added value of citizen participation at the local level in Europe and its neighbouring countries.

This book brings together the work of the Secretary General and staff of ALDA and of the Local Democracy Agencies, as well as numerous practices and voices from the members and partners of its vast network. Through the field experiences presented, ALDA shows how and why citizen participation leads to the adoption of better solutions, and, at the same time, fosters long lasting, balanced development.

This publication formulates conclusions and offers insightful input for future activities aiming at building truly democratic local democracy. It is therefore particularly useful for all those who intend to work within the recently adopted programme ‘Europe for Citizens’ 2014-2020, as well as to bridge the topics of active citizenship and development – the focus of the European Years 2013 and 2015.

“Citizens’ participation at the local level in Europe and Neighbouring Countries” is the title of the new publication of ALDA, edited by Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA, and published by Peter Lang.

***

ALDA – The European Association for Local Democracy – is an organisation dedicated to the promotion of good governance and citizen participation at the local level. It is made up of over 160 members comprising local authorities and civil society organisations in the enlarged Europe.

Recently, new forms of interaction between citizens and decision makers have been put in place. By analysing ALDA’s 15 years of hands-on activities with its members and partners, this publication contributes to a better understanding of the added value of citizen participation at the local level in Europe and its neighbouring countries.

This book brings together the work of the Secretary General and staff of ALDA and of the Local Democracy Agencies, as well as numerous practices and voices from the members and partners of its vast network. Through the field experiences presented, ALDA shows how and why citizen participation leads to the adoption of better solutions, and, at the same time, fosters long lasting, balanced development.

This publication formulates conclusions and offers insightful input for future activities aiming at building truly democratic local democracy. It is therefore particularly useful for all those who intend to work within the recently adopted programme ‘Europe for Citizens’ 2014-2020, as well as to bridge the topics of active citizenship and development – the focus of the European Years 2013 and 2015.


Final event of "Start up Training" project

On Monday 23rd May, in the conference room of Ramada Hotel in Podorica (Montenegro), the final event of “Start up Training” project took place. Alessandro Perelli, Vice-president of ALDA, and Kerim Medjedovic, delegate of Niksic LDA, attended.

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The project, funded by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region, which has Niksic LDA as strategic partner, aims to support the employment and the creation of new jobs in Montenegro, and to improve the internationalization process of the entrepreneurial system of Friuli Venezia Giulia in Montenegro, involving traditional actors and entrepreneurial Associations at the same time.

In particular the project aims to the development of specific objectives, such as the interest for a creational strategy, the start up of a Centre for professional education in Montenegro, the following selection and preparation of the staff and the administration and analysis to figure out the entrepreneurial needs in Montenegro.

On Monday 23rd May, in the conference room of Ramada Hotel in Podorica (Montenegro), the final event of “Start up Training” project took place. Alessandro Perelli, Vice-president of ALDA, and Kerim Medjedovic, delegate of Niksic LDA, attended.

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The project, funded by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region, which has Niksic LDA as strategic partner, aims to support the employment and the creation of new jobs in Montenegro, and to improve the internationalization process of the entrepreneurial system of Friuli Venezia Giulia in Montenegro, involving traditional actors and entrepreneurial Associations at the same time.

In particular the project aims to the development of specific objectives, such as the interest for a creational strategy, the start up of a Centre for professional education in Montenegro, the following selection and preparation of the staff and the administration and analysis to figure out the entrepreneurial needs in Montenegro.


Internship opportunities at ALDA

ALDA is now offering four internship opportunities in ALDA’s office in Vicenza, Italy.

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ALDA is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the promotion of good governance and citizen participation at the local level. ALDA in particular focuses on activities that facilitate cooperation between local authorities and civil society. It was established in 1999 at the initiative of the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities to coordinate and support a network of Local Democracy Agencies which was established in the early 1990s. ALDA is now one of the largest NGOs in the field of cooperation between local authorities and non-state actors engaged in promotion of local democracy and active citizenship.

ALDA is now offering four internship opportunities in ALDA’s office in Vicenza in three different positions: Assistant to the Secretary General’s Office (number of vacancies: 1), Project Developer Assistant (number of vacancies: 2), and Communication Support (number of vacancies: 1).

For further information on each position, please look at the following list:

Internship opportunity – Assistant to the Secretary General’s Office

Internship opportunity – Project Developer Assistant

Internship opportunity – Communication Support

If you are interested in one of these internship opportunities and you want to apply, please send your motivation letter and CV in English to: job@aldaintranet.org

The application forms should be sent by 30th June 2014.

For any further information, please contact:

ALDA – European Association for Local Democracy

Tel: 0444 54 01 46

Mail: job@aldaintranet.org

ALDA is now offering four internship opportunities in ALDA’s office in Vicenza, Italy.

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ALDA is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the promotion of good governance and citizen participation at the local level. ALDA in particular focuses on activities that facilitate cooperation between local authorities and civil society. It was established in 1999 at the initiative of the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities to coordinate and support a network of Local Democracy Agencies which was established in the early 1990s. ALDA is now one of the largest NGOs in the field of cooperation between local authorities and non-state actors engaged in promotion of local democracy and active citizenship.

ALDA is now offering four internship opportunities in ALDA’s office in Vicenza in three different positions: Assistant to the Secretary General’s Office (number of vacancies: 1), Project Developer Assistant (number of vacancies: 2), and Communication Support (number of vacancies: 1).

For further information on each position, please look at the following list:

Internship opportunity – Assistant to the Secretary General’s Office

Internship opportunity – Project Developer Assistant

Internship opportunity – Communication Support

If you are interested in one of these internship opportunities and you want to apply, please send your motivation letter and CV in English to: job@aldaintranet.org

The application forms should be sent by 30th June 2014.

For any further information, please contact:

ALDA – European Association for Local Democracy

Tel: 0444 54 01 46

Mail: job@aldaintranet.org


ALDA launches the mid-term event of the project DECIDE

The mid-term event of the project DECIDE will be taking place in Nesebar, Bulgaria from 11 to 13 June.

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As many as 25 partners from 15 countries will be attending the meeting along with local participants, mainly representing Bulgarian local authorities and civil society organisations as well as ordinary citizens. The event will be an occasion to reunite together and discuss the initiatives promoting citizen participation that have been identified at the local level and that will give birth to the Democratic Compact.

The specific objective of the meeting is to showcase the outcomes of the first local process. From November 2013 to June 2014, partners have identified at local and regional level a set of initiatives promoting citizen participation. The proposed measures have been collected and evaluated by stakeholders and ordinary citizens of the areas involved. Several tools have been applied in the assessment process, such as questionnaires, workshops, focus groups, interviews and phone calls. Following citizens’ feedback, 3 measures have been further analysed and described by each national delegation.

Therefore, the meeting in Nesebar will be an opportunity to debate over the best practices collected at local and regional level upon citizens’ feedback and analyse their impact on the target groups. The event will also be a key step to define the methodology for the implementation of the second local process. Each delegation will have the possibility of identifying the measure/s included in the Democratic Compact that might improve citizen participation in their territory and draft an action plan to implement the practice. A testing phase assessing the perception of impacting the decision making process will be a further key step to complete the second local process.

Within this framework, an exhibition session will be organised in the evening of 12 June in order to present partners’ successful projects promoting citizen participation. In particular, it will be an occasion to discuss over the outcomes of the Europe for Citizens programme 2007-2013 and evaluates opportunities of further projects within the new programming period 2014-2020. ALDA in strong cooperation with UBBSLA and the Municipality of Nesebar invites local citizens to attend the event and exchange with their international peers

The mid-term event of the project DECIDE will be taking place in Nesebar, Bulgaria from 11 to 13 June.

***

As many as 25 partners from 15 countries will be attending the meeting along with local participants, mainly representing Bulgarian local authorities and civil society organisations as well as ordinary citizens. The event will be an occasion to reunite together and discuss the initiatives promoting citizen participation that have been identified at the local level and that will give birth to the Democratic Compact.

The specific objective of the meeting is to showcase the outcomes of the first local process. From November 2013 to June 2014, partners have identified at local and regional level a set of initiatives promoting citizen participation. The proposed measures have been collected and evaluated by stakeholders and ordinary citizens of the areas involved. Several tools have been applied in the assessment process, such as questionnaires, workshops, focus groups, interviews and phone calls. Following citizens’ feedback, 3 measures have been further analysed and described by each national delegation.

Therefore, the meeting in Nesebar will be an opportunity to debate over the best practices collected at local and regional level upon citizens’ feedback and analyse their impact on the target groups. The event will also be a key step to define the methodology for the implementation of the second local process. Each delegation will have the possibility of identifying the measure/s included in the Democratic Compact that might improve citizen participation in their territory and draft an action plan to implement the practice. A testing phase assessing the perception of impacting the decision making process will be a further key step to complete the second local process.

Within this framework, an exhibition session will be organised in the evening of 12 June in order to present partners’ successful projects promoting citizen participation. In particular, it will be an occasion to discuss over the outcomes of the Europe for Citizens programme 2007-2013 and evaluates opportunities of further projects within the new programming period 2014-2020. ALDA in strong cooperation with UBBSLA and the Municipality of Nesebar invites local citizens to attend the event and exchange with their international peers


Charter on Multilevel Governance of the Committee of the Regions

On 20th May 2014, the Committee of the Regions drew up the Charter on Multilevel Governance, elaborated also with the collaboration of Mrs Antonella Valmorbida, General Secretary of ALDA.

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The Charter on Multilevel Governance has been signed by ALDA and approved by the Governing Board during the General Assembly of ALDA, held from 4th to 6th of June in Strasbourg.

 The objective of this charter is to connect region and cities across Europe, whilst promoting multi-actorship with societal actors such as the social partners, universities, NGOs and representative civil society groupings.

Multilevel governance strengthens openness, participation, coordination and joint commitment to delivering targeted solutions, by respecting some fundamental principles, such as transparency, inclusion, policy efficiency, policy coherence, subsidiarity and fundamental rights protection.

On 20th May 2014, the Committee of the Regions drew up the Charter on Multilevel Governance, elaborated also with the collaboration of Mrs Antonella Valmorbida, General Secretary of ALDA.

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The Charter on Multilevel Governance has been signed by ALDA and approved by the Governing Board during the General Assembly of ALDA, held from 4th to 6th of June in Strasbourg.

 The objective of this charter is to connect region and cities across Europe, whilst promoting multi-actorship with societal actors such as the social partners, universities, NGOs and representative civil society groupings.

Multilevel governance strengthens openness, participation, coordination and joint commitment to delivering targeted solutions, by respecting some fundamental principles, such as transparency, inclusion, policy efficiency, policy coherence, subsidiarity and fundamental rights protection.


CoR and the Council of Europe work together to support Armenia

In March 2014 the Congress of the Council of Europe adopted its monitoring report on the state of local democracy in Armenia. This was the focus of a hearing jointly organised by the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Council of Europe. The hearing, held on 5 June in Brussels, discussed the perspectives of implementing local democracy in Armenia and the role the Council of Europe and the EU can play to support the developments of regions in Armenia.

The hearing was opened by Olgierd Geblewicz (PL/EPP), Marshal of the Western Pomeranian Region, Traian Hristea, Head of EU Delegation to Armenia and Andrea Meatteo, Head of Unit – Geographical Coordination Neighbourhood East – DG DEVCO, representing the views of the European Commission.

A monitoring report was presented by Knud Andersen, Representative of the Chamber of Regions, and David Tumanyan, member of the Group of Experts on the European Charter of Local Self-Government. The report underlined the efforts made to implement the provisions of the Charter, in particular constitutional changes and the passage of a new law. It is recommended to review the legislation for implementing the principle of subsidiarity, to foster inter-municipial cooperation and increase the capacity of community councils and powers for local authorities.

Lusine Avetyan, Mayor of Karahunj Municipality and member of the Armenian Delegation to the Congress of the Council of Europe and Emin Yeritsyan, President of the Union of Communities of Armenia and CORLEAP Bureau member, presented an assessment and suggestions for future reforms seen from an Armenian perspective.

The point of view of the civil society was the subject of the third debate session, represented by Lusine Alexandryan, Delegate of the Local Democracy Agency (LDA) from Armenia and Eduardo Lorenzo Ochoa, Director of the European Friends of Armenia (EuFoA).

The hearing and discussion between representatives of the Committee of the Regions, the Council of Europe, Armenian authorities and the Civil Society aims to promote local and regional government autonomy, to achieve democratic reforms and to deepen the cooperation between Armenia and the European Union.

In March 2014 the Congress of the Council of Europe adopted its monitoring report on the state of local democracy in Armenia. This was the focus of a hearing jointly organised by the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Council of Europe. The hearing, held on 5 June in Brussels, discussed the perspectives of implementing local democracy in Armenia and the role the Council of Europe and the EU can play to support the developments of regions in Armenia.

The hearing was opened by Olgierd Geblewicz (PL/EPP), Marshal of the Western Pomeranian Region, Traian Hristea, Head of EU Delegation to Armenia and Andrea Meatteo, Head of Unit – Geographical Coordination Neighbourhood East – DG DEVCO, representing the views of the European Commission.

A monitoring report was presented by Knud Andersen, Representative of the Chamber of Regions, and David Tumanyan, member of the Group of Experts on the European Charter of Local Self-Government. The report underlined the efforts made to implement the provisions of the Charter, in particular constitutional changes and the passage of a new law. It is recommended to review the legislation for implementing the principle of subsidiarity, to foster inter-municipial cooperation and increase the capacity of community councils and powers for local authorities.

Lusine Avetyan, Mayor of Karahunj Municipality and member of the Armenian Delegation to the Congress of the Council of Europe and Emin Yeritsyan, President of the Union of Communities of Armenia and CORLEAP Bureau member, presented an assessment and suggestions for future reforms seen from an Armenian perspective.

The point of view of the civil society was the subject of the third debate session, represented by Lusine Alexandryan, Delegate of the Local Democracy Agency (LDA) from Armenia and Eduardo Lorenzo Ochoa, Director of the European Friends of Armenia (EuFoA).

The hearing and discussion between representatives of the Committee of the Regions, the Council of Europe, Armenian authorities and the Civil Society aims to promote local and regional government autonomy, to achieve democratic reforms and to deepen the cooperation between Armenia and the European Union.