For some it comes as a surprise that UK local government works at the international level. However, in recent years, an increasing volume of law and policy affecting local authorities and the communities they represent is made by the European Union. There are also issues for local authorities arising out of the UK's international role in organisations such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation.
Whether it's shaping the European legislative and policy agenda, promoting democracy in the wider world or working with partners on the impact of globalisation on our cities and communities, UK local government is actively engaged in a range of European and international member organisations.
The focus of the LGA European and International Unit's work is to support UK elected members from local government and the devolved administrations in order to enable them to play an effective role in these bodies. In many cases, the LGA European and International Unit provides the secretariat for the UK delegation. The main bodies we work with are:
In addition, LGA members are active on the following bodies:
The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) was founded in 1995, as a focus for action on local democracy in the Commonwealth and was endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their meeting in New Zealand that year. CLGF works to promote democratic local government across the Commonwealth, encouraging the exchange of best practice through conferences and event.
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) is a subscription-based, pan-European confederation of national local government associations. Founded in 1951, the CEMR has 46 member associations, including the LGA. The LGA provides the UK secretariat, acts as the UK 'corporate' member and coordinates the input of the UK's four national local government associations.
The United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) is the world local government organisation. Its Secretary General is Elisabeth Gateau. The inaugural congress for the UCLG took place in Paris in May 2004. Local authorities agreeed key areas of activity in order to reach the Millennium Development Goals: sustainable development in a globalising world; decentralisation and local democracy; cooperation and diplomacy. UCLG is committed to supporting democratic local self-government.
The Committee of the Regions (COR), the official voice of local and regional government in the Europe Union, was set up in 1994 and began its fourth mandate in January 2010. The COR provides a forum for the consultation of local councils and regional governments in Europe on key issues. UK members are elected politicians drawn from local councils and devolved administrations across the UK.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (the Congress) is the local and regional arm of the Council of Europe (CoE). The CoE is the oldest pan-European international organisation and is not related to the European Union. Founded in 1949, the CoE works to promote human rights, democracy and rule of law. It has 47 member states with over 800 million citizens.
13 July 2012
Sir Merrick Cockell says: "Any attempts to pass on an EU fine to councils will now have to withstand scrutiny from both Parliament and an independent fines advisory panel. This is something which town halls pressed for and is a positive step...It is vital that the public purse isn't hit by the actions of external organisations and this statement commits the Government to ensuring that doesn't arise."
In this editon of Local Link you can read about: MEPs' September link-up with local government; fair fines for councils; Vulnerable transition regions; Van Nistelrooij hat trick for local government; Public procurement: when simplifying gets complicated; Councils' buildings not targeted for energy savings; the Air Quality agenda; Working time worries return for councils; and the Committee of the Regions Open Day.