The visit by Mr Verbeek (Netherlands) will serve to show the Congress various aspects of Swiss democracy on the ground at local and regional level. The Congress described Swiss federalism as "particularly positive" in its last report of 2017.
President of the Cantonal Council of Jura to join the delegation
The visit is being organised by the FDFA in close consultation with the Canton of Jura, whose president, David Eray, is also head of the Swiss delegation to the Congress.
The delegation will be in Glarus on 1 May, where it will obtain first-hand experience of Swiss direct democracy by participating in the Landsgemeinde. The next day, the delegation will meet Livia Leu, the state secretary of the FDFA. They will discuss the consequences of Russia's recent exclusion from the Council of Europe, which also affects its membership of the Congress. Further meetings will be held with the mayor of Bern, Alec von Graffenried, and representatives of the Conference of Cantonal Governments, the Swiss Union of Cities and the Association of Swiss Communes. The delegation will also visit the Museum of Communication in Bern, which was awarded the 2019 Council of Europe Museum Prize.
On 3 May, the delegation will visit the Institute of Federalism in Fribourg to learn about ongoing research and the Greater Fribourg communal merger project.
The Congress promotes the exchange of democratic experiences at local and regional level
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is a consultative body of the Council of Europe which was established in 1994. As the voice of cities, municipalities and regions, it is responsible for promoting local and regional democracy in the 46 member states. It monitors compliance with the European Charter of Local Self-Government, observes local and regional elections and carries out various thematic activities, including an extensive youth programme.
Twelve cantonal councillors, representatives of communes and cities, and a youth delegate represent Switzerland at the Congress. President of the Swiss Confederation and head of the FDFA, Ignazio Cassis, appointed the delegation in January 2021. The FDFA also runs the delegation's secretariat.
Switzerland has been a member of the Council of Europe since 1963. It ratified the European Charter of Local Self-Government on 17 February 2005.
Council of Europe, FDFA
FDFA news article, 12.02.2021
Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
National delegation to the congress: Switzerland
Switzerland – Monitoring Report of 20 October 2017
Council of Europe
Address for enquiries:
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel. Communication service: +41 58 462 31 53
Tel. Press service: +41 58 460 55 55