In 1992, CEMR set up specialised Committees as a forum to exchange views on relevant Community policies. These Committees became more flexible 'Working Groups' and are a framework for dialogue with representatives of the European institutions to ensure that the interests of local and regional authorities are taken into account in the decision-making process.

Five main 'Working Groups' have been meeting regularly over the last year:

Chaired by Mr. Jacques Rey (F), University Professor, this Working Group has been dealing with environment and energy, drinking water and water management, solid waste, coastal zones, flooding of European rivers, the environmental aspects of the Delors White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment, local environmental taxation, and so on.

The Members of this group have been consulted by the European Commission in such areas as:

  • the Revision of the 5th Action Programme on Environment and Sustainability;
  • the Green Paper on Energy Policy;
  • the Green Paper on Tourism;
  • the EC Communication on Coastal Zones;
  • Communication from the European Commission on Waste Management;
  • Communication from the European Commission on Noise;
  • Communication from the European Commission on Methane Gas Emission.

The 1995 Plenary Session was a unique opportunity to discuss the relationship between 'European Transport and Environmental policies'. The 1996 Plenary Session will deal with 'New Technologies and the Environment'.

Members of this Working Group represent the CEMR in different Groups of Experts created, and run, by the European Commission:

  • Urban Environment Expert Group;
  • General Consultative Forum on the Environment;
  • Environment Expert Group on Tourism;
  • Energy Standards for Buildings Expert Group;
  • Drinking Water Expert Group;
  • Waste Management Expert Group, etc.

The CEMR Environment Working Group is also a member of the Co-ordinating Committee of the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign; a major EU Campaign sponsored by DGXI, working on the implementation of Local Agenda 21. In addition, this campaign benefits from the support of ICLEI, Eurocities, UTO, WHO-Healthy Cities, the City of Aalborg and the Urban Environment Expert Group.


Chaired by Cllr Mark DOWD, Chair of MerseyTravel in Liverpool (UK), the CEMR Working Group on Transport has adopted a general work programme based on such areas as:
  • land use planning and urban transport;
  • mobility management, passenger information systems;
  • transport and security;
  • the notion of public service in transport;
  • road transport: weights and dimensions, combined transports;
  • harmonisation of taxes in traffic issues, etc.

The Transport Working Group has centred its thinking on the role of transport systems in city and county planning, and on the complementarity and interaction between urban, regional, national and even international transport.

The CEMR Transport Group has been invited by the European Commission to participate in the work of: the Task Force 'Transport Intermodality' chaired by Commissioner Kinnock, the Advisory Group of this Task Force. CEMR is a member of the steering committee for the 'Quattro' project on quality in public transport, supported by DG VII of the European Commission.

At the request of the European Commission, the CEMR has also given an opinion on the EC Consultation Paper on Airport Charges, as well as on the two Green Papers entitled 'Citizens' Network' and 'Fair and efficient pricing for Transport'.

A series of mini-seminars are being organised during the plenary sessions of this Working Group. One of these seminars, dedicated to 'Market Mechanisms in Public Transport' was held in Dusseldorf (D). In addition, a seminar dealing with 'Land-use Planning and Urban Transport' was organised in Barcelona (E). Another seminar on 'Regionalisation and Intermodality' was organised in Barreiro (P) on 14-15 March 1996 as well as one on the 'regional influence on railway transport' in Liverpool in October 1996.

In an attempt to maximise the dissemination of examples of good practice in the field of urban transport throughout Europe in 1995, the CEMR Working Group on Transport, in close co-operation with GART, launched the 1st European Public Transport Prize. This initiative aims to reward innovative projects developed by local authorities to improve mobility, protect the environment, and promote the use of public transport. Both the European Commission and the European Parliament have expressed their support for this initiative. The winner of the First Prize (1995) was the City of Freiburg (D). Last year the City of Freiburg hosted the ceremony for the 2nd European Public Transport Prize, awarded to the City of Strasbourg (F). The Working Group also participated in sessions at the EP on the two above-mentioned Green Papers.


The Employers' Platform brings together experts in the employment field, appointed by national level organisations which are representatives of local and regional authorities, situated throughout Europe, in their capacity as employers. Employment in local and regional public services represents more than 28 million jobs in Europe.

Local government provides a wide range of services, from emergency amenities to education, which therefore requires a highly specialised and diverse personnel. These authorities have a responsibility to their employees on issues relating to working conditions, equal opportunities, training, and health and safety.

The Platform was created in April 1994 as a direct result of the need to establish a competent body, at European level, to respond and implement employment legislation emanating from Brussels, and to participate in social dialogue at European level.

Since the time of its creation, Platform members have worked towards gaining recognition in the European arena, and establishing a dialogue with the different European Institutions. One of the main activities of 1995 was a meeting with the EU Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Mr. Padraig Flynn, to discuss the future role of the Platform in the Social Dialogue. A variety of issues were debated including:

  • the White Paper on Social Policy;
  • the Medium Term Action Programme;
  • the Directive on Part-time and Temporary Employment;
  • the negotiation of collective agreements;
  • the efforts of local and regional authorities in the field of job creation etc.

The CEMR also organised a joint seminar with the European Public Services Union in Brussels on 27-28 November 1995. This seminar, the first of its kind, examined "Collective Bargaining structures in Europe and the future of the Social Dialogue". A second seminar was held in Brussels on 28-29 November 1996. It dealt with "Social Dialogue and the Modernisation of Public Services". In 1996, the platform sent Commissioner Flynn declarations on employment and on the modernisation of public services, edited by EPSU (European Public Service Union). For 1997, the working programme is based on four key points:

  • an answer to the Commission Communications on social dialogue;
  • equal opportunities;
  • employment;
  • development of social dialogue in Europe.

CEMR Committee of Women Elected Representatives of Local and Regional Authorities

The main aim of this Committee, chaired by Ms Joan Taylor, member of the County Council of Nottinghamshire (UK), is to promote the role of women elected representatives of local and regional authorities in building up a united Europe and to strengthen their political presence in the Community.

Due to an initiative launched by the Committee, over 400 women elected representatives of local and regional authorities from 23 countries throughout Greater Europe met in Dublin on 6-8 July 1995 for the Vth European Conference of Women Elected Representatives of Local and Regional Authorities, centred around the theme of 'Women, Politics, Democracy'. This event was attended by Mary Robinson, President of the Republic of Ireland, and Padraig Flynn, the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, as well as other important representatives of national or European institutions.

The Committee has instituted relations with the European institutions and representative bodies, putting forward opinions and proposals in favour of equal opportunities in European policy.

Following the establishment of the Committee of the Regions in 1994, the CEMR Committee worked at making the members of the body representing local and regional authorities set up by the European Union Treaty aware of the question of equal opportunities.

Thus, following up the request made at the Dublin Conference, a working group was set up within the Committee of the Regions which included participants from CEMR's Committee. This working group, the co-rapporteur of which was the former Chair McKenna, drew up an opinion on the IVth Community Action Programme on Equal Opportunities which was adopted at the plenary session of the Committee of the Regions in September 1996.

Over the past few years, the Committee has expanded to include women elected representatives from Central and Eastern Europe. Three meetings between the Committee members and their counterparts from the East were held in Cieszyn, Poland (March 1994), in Maribor, Slovenia (September 1994), and in Ostrava, Czech Republic (November 1995), allowing for the opening of a dialogue between women elected representatives from Eastern and Western Europe, highlighting in particular the new situation of women in the Central and Eastern Europe countries within the context of democratisation. In this framework, the Committee held a seminar on 8-9 November 1996 in Tallinn (Estonia) in co-operation with the Nordic National Associations based on the central theme of 'Best Practices for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities'.

Lastly, during the XXth General Assembly of European Municipalities and Regions, held in Thessaloniki from 22 to 25 May 1996, the European Network of Women Elected Representatives of Local and Regional Authorities was launched. This network aims to improve the flow of information and the exchange of experience regarding equal opportunities and local and regional authority affairs.

For the 1997 Committee's work programme see the CEMR calendar of forthcoming events.

European Network of Women Elected Representatives of Local and Regional Authorities

The European Network of Women Elected Representatives is an initiative first launched by the CEMR Committee of Women Elected Representatives of Local and Regional Authorities.

The Network was officially launched at the XXth General Assembly of European Municipalities and Regions (Thessaloniki, 22-25 May 1996), during the workshop on 'Parity Democracy'. The Network launch was supported by the Women's Information Unit of the European Commission's DG X.

The Women's Information Unit, European Commission, has already started co-operation with CEMR in relaying information to its members.

The Network's activities, which fall within the scope of the IVth Community Action Programme on Equal Opportunities between men and women, will be supported by DG V, which is granting aid to CEMR for the first year of the programme (October 1996 to June 1997).

To be able to respond to the needs of European Women Elected Representatives of Local and Regional Authorities, the Network intends to develop the potential for information exchange and relay, and to highlight best practices promoting women's participation in decision-making processes.

The Network will also provide a forum for experts to conduct studies and evaluate the impact of women's participation in local politics and to bring these results to the attention of key political players and leaders in public opinion.

The Network, which is managed by the CEMR Secretariat General, includes more than 500 members in 33 countries at the present moment. A national co-ordinator ensures the follow-up in each country.

The Network welcomes all women elected representatives. Requests for membership should be sent to the CEMR Secretariat General. Any information which Network members wish to appear on the members' Internet page should be sent to the Secretariat General.

For further details, please contact:

Sandra Ceciarini
CEMR Secretariat General
14 rue de Castiglione
75001 PARIS

Tel: +33 1 44 50 59 59
Fax: +33 1 44 50 59 60