At the Congress of Local and Regional Municipalities of the Council of Europe, Minister I. Bērziņa informed about the current events of the Committee of Ministers and the national priorities of the Latvian presidency, as well as answered the questions of the participants of the congress about the role of local and regional municipalities in providing support to Ukraine, strengthening local democracy in member states and the impact of climate change on regions .
"We are convinced of the importance of the Council of Europe and its institutions, including the Congress, in ensuring European values, and we are pleased that we can support the development of the organization as the Latvian presidency. In the agenda of our country, this presidency is very important and this is proven by the involvement of various Latvian institutions, starting from ministries, municipalities, the Latvian judicial system and even non-governmental organizations. Our presidency was launched in a climate of global uncertainty, which posed challenges both for this organization and for Europe as a whole. However, thanks to joint work, we have successfully worked to implement the national priorities of the Latvian presidency," said Minister I. Bērziņa.
At the Congress, the national priorities of the Latvian presidency were highlighted - the creation of a register of damages caused to Ukraine, a range of issues affecting the reunification of Ukrainian children with their families and the restoration of the country as a whole; priority issues on strengthening democracy and the rule of law; good governance at different levels, especially at regional and local levels; important initiatives aimed at protecting freedom of expression and the safety of journalists.
At the Congress of Local and Regional Municipalities of the Council of Europe, Minister Inga Bērziņa also met with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić and the newly elected Congress President Marc Cools. During the talks, they discussed what was decided at the Reykjavik summit in connection with the strengthening of human rights in Europe. The importance of local governments in receiving and supporting Ukrainian refugees was emphasized, as well as the ability of local governments to understand the unique situations and needs of refugees, also based on Latvian experience. The Minister congratulated the President of the Congress on his election and wished him success in his new position, highlighting the successful cooperation with the Congress so far.
From October 24 to 26, the Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Inga Bērziņa participated in the 45th plenary session of the Congress of Local and Regional Municipalities of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, representing Latvia's presidency in the Council of Europe. The Congress of Local and Regional Municipalities of the Council of Europe closely cooperates with the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, whose presiding country is Latvia since May 17, 2023.