Congress of Europe report October 2016
In my last City Hall report, I wrote of my appointment to the Congress of Europe, to represent London regional government. To clarify, the C of E is not part of the EU, but is a body of the Council of Europe, which comprises all the 47 European countries. Its main mission can be summarised as the promotion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, which is particularly of relevance to some of the countries in the east and Balkans- though there are lessons for more developed democracies such as the UK too. There is no suggestion that the UK should withdraw from the Council of Europe.
I have just attended my first Congress, and have been appointed to the Regional Government chamber and the Monitoring Committee.
I made three speeches.
The first was on the issue of the UK’s non-compliance with the European Social Charter, when I gave examples of how in London we are trying to address some of these central Government shortcomings, regionally. Please click here for a video (French translation, from 1hour 39 minutes)
Commenting on the Congress’ priorities to 2020, I also spoke on the need to see human rights as not an issue for lawyers, but as necessary to inform the delivery of public services at all levels, for example treating the elderly or those with physical or learning disabilities with dignity and respect; seeing people who have been trafficked as victims, not criminals; and to ensure that minorities are fully included and not discriminated against, either directly or indirectly.
In the debate on good governance in metropolitan areas, I also spoke of our efforts to secure further devolution to London in light of the Brexit vote.