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Who we are in a few lines

CEMR ( The Council of European Municipalities is the largest organisation of local and regional government in Europe; its members are 53 national associations of towns, municipalities and regions from 39 countries. Together these associations represent some 100 000 local and regional authorities. It works to promote a united Europe that is based on local and regional self-government and democracy. To achieve this goal it endeavours to shape the future of Europe by enhancing the local and regional contribution, to influence European law and policy, to exchange experience at local and regional level and to cooperate with partners in other parts of the world. APC ( The Association of Polish Cities brings together cities and towns from all over Poland and represents their interests. The Association's aim is not only to support local selfgovernments and decentralization but also defend their interests, promote their needs, exchange experience in the field of local management and strive for economic and cultural development of Polish towns. It accomplishes its aims through legislative lobbying, promotion of towns and cities, exchange of experience in municipal management, information campaigns and publishing, research and surveys and foreign co-operation. The City of Rybnik ( Rybnik, often called the "Green City in Silesia" is inhabited by 140 thousand people. It is a modern and efficient managing self-government unit and for the neighbouring towns Rybnik is a natural centre for transportation, administration, economy, culture and education. In Silesian Voivodship Strategy for Development - Rybnik is described as a main centre of Western Sub-Region. It is also proud that one of the city honorary citizens is Jerzy Buzek - President of the EU Parliament.

Why the congress? in 10 points

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To discover the next generation of partnerships between local and regional governments To learn how to improve dialogue between elected representatives and citizens To explore how to foster a more “grassroots democracy” To participate in a consultation on citizenship To discover the next generation of partnerships between local and regional governments To learn how to improve dialogue between elected representatives and citizens To explore how to foster a more “grassroots democracy” To participate in a consultation on citizenship To explore how to foster a more “grassroots democracy” To participate in a consultation on citizenship

Who you will meet?

The congress will bring together 300 representatives from local and regional governments, European institutions (European Commission, European Parliament etc…), the Polish presidency of the European Union, experts is the field of town twinning and citizenship. Invited speakers include:          

Bronisław Komorowski, President of the Republic of Poland Ryszard Grobelny, President of the Association of Polish Cities, Mayor of Poznań Adam Fudali, Mayor of Rybnik Wolfgang Schuster, President of CEMR, European Vice-President of UCLG, Mayor of Stuttgart Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian Prime Minister, ALDE group leader in the European Parliament, co-founder of the Spinelli Group Amin Maalouf, French-Lebanese journalist and author Marek Szczepanski, Polish sociologist Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs

Everything you need to know

About town twinning

No. of twinning links in Europe in 2010 --------------------------Austria 890 Albania 28 Belgium 820 Bosnia 70 Bulgaria 421 Croatia 279 Cyprus 118 Czech Republic 1061 Denmark 608 Estonia 564 Finland 1111 France 6776 Germany 6048 Greece 519 Hungary 1704 Iceland 147 Ireland 265 Italy 2755 Latvia 357 Lithuania 484 Luxembourg 118 FYROM 92 Malta 67 Montenegro 11 Netherlands 592 Norway 594 Poland 3508 Portugal 387 Romania 1991 Serbia 304 Slovakia 801 Slovenia 216 Spain 984 Sweden 1120 Switzerland 466 Turkey 374 United Kingdom 2059 Ukraine 799

A quick overview For twinning is the expression of a European unity and identity built from the grass roots. It is perhaps the most visible form of European cooperation, with thousands of towns and villages proudly declaring, as you enter their territory, which partner communities they are twinned with. Twinning is also a flexible instrument. It can take place between small villages, towns, counties, big cities‌. It can focus on a whole range of issues, and can involve a wide range of actors from two or more twinned communities. A good twinning partnership can bring many benefits to a community and the municipality. By bringing people together from different parts of Europe, it gives an opportunity to share problems, exchange views and understand different viewpoints on any issue where there is a shared interest or concern. There are many examples of good practice in twinning, covering a wide range of issues - art and culture, young people, citizenship, sustainable development, local public services, local economic development, social inclusion, solidarity‌ It represents a long-term commitment between the partners, not a short-term project partnership. It should always be able to survive changes in political leadership and short-term difficulties of one or other partner, and support each other in times of need, e.g. a major flood. And being a commitment for the long term, it is vital to ensure that the partnership is regularly reviewed, to make sure it meets the needs of the present day, and remains fresh and dynamic. Equally important is the dual commitment required for twinnings to be successful: that of the local authorities, but also that of the citizens. In a few words: there can be no twinning without the active participation of the citizens! This dual nature often requires the setting up of a twinning committee bringing together local officials and citizens. More information is available on the Twinning website: The website is available in 23 languages.

Contact details for journalists

At CEMR Press officer Emilie Melvin Email: Phone: +32 2 500 05 34 Website: At APC In charge of International Cooperation / International Relations Katarzyna Paczyńska Email: Phone : +48 61 6335056

At the City of Rybnik Press officer Krzysztof Jaroch Email : Phone: +48 32 439 23 28 Website:

More info?

More information about the programme, how to register, how to get there, etc., is available on the website:

Press pack  
Press pack  

Press pack for journalists attending the European Congress on Citizenship and Twinning