Queen Letizia of Spain is now well informed about the efforts of the European Committee of the Regions to help cities in Libya, after she visited the CoR's stand at the European Development Days on 5 May.
She spoke at length with two Spanish members of the CoR, and met other members of the delegation. Manuel Alonso Pleguezuelo (ES/EPP) explained the efforts by his region, Murcia, to help Libyan municipalities deal with water management, as part of Nicosia initiative launched by the CoR. Jesús Gamallo Aller (ES/ EPP) of Galicia, the CoR's rapporteur on the New European Consensus on Development, had a chance to talk about city-to-city and region-to-region development cooperation, a phenomenon that is well developed in Spain.
Mr Pleguezuelo also told the queen about Murcia's pursuit of gender equality and its use of EU funding to end gender violence.
This year's European Development Days had the slogan #SheIsWe and placed women's perspectives at the centre of each panel and each of the three overarching themes: 'ensuring the physical and psychological integrity of girls and women', 'promoting the economic and social rights and empowerment of girls and women', and 'strengthening girls' and women's voice and participation'.
Mary Freehill (IE/PES), an ARLEM rapporteur and Dublin city council, spoke at a panel on promoting female leadership in the Maghreb. Other CoR members who attended were: Franco Iacop (IT/PES); president of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Regional Council, rapporteur on European action for sustainability, and a contributor to the Nicosia initiative; Rosa Balas Torres (ES/PES), director-general for external relations of the regional government of Extremadura; Doreen Huddart (UK/ALDE), of Newcastle City Council; and Dee Sharpe (UK/ECR) of East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on trends in trends in city-to-city cooperation, whose results were outlined at last year's Regions and Cities for Development / Assises de la coopération décentralisée, showed that Spanish cities and regions are amongst the most active participants in decentralised cooperation. They are, in particular, leaders in support to promote gender equality. The Basque Country's efforts to help women were the subject of an in-depth case study by the OECD, a think-tank that provides research for its member states, all of which are developed countries.