Assembly of European Regions
The Assembly of European Regions (AER) is the largest independent network of regional authorities in wider Europe, bringing together over 250 regions from 35 countries along with 16 interregional organisations. AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional co-operation.
Historical background 
On 15 June 1985, at Louvain-la-Neuve (Walloon Brabant), 47 Regions and 9 interregional organisations founded the Council of the Regions of Europe (CRE), which would later become the Assembly of European Regions in November 1987 at the second General meeting of the Regions of Europe in Brussels.
Definition of "Region" 
According to the AER statutes, in principle the term "region" refers to a territorial authority existing at the level immediately below that of the central government, with its own political representation in the form of an elected regional assembly.
AER Priorities for 2007-2012 
- Promoting the modernisation and internationalisation of regional governance
- Promoting innovation, growth and employment in Europe’s regions
- Addressing the challenges of demographic change, migration, health and social exclusion
- Ensuring sustainable development and combating environmental degradation
- Developing democracy through diversity, and promoting diversity in culture, media and education
- Creating a secure environment for citizens
Means of governance 
The General Assembly 
The General Assembly consists of the political representatives of the AER member regions. It decides upon the AER’s political strategy, votes on the budget, decides on the creation of committees or specific assignments, ratifies the acceptance of members, etc. It elects the AER President, the members of the Bureau and the Secretary General.
The Bureau 
The Bureau makes all the decisions necessary for the smooth running of affairs between General Assemblies and co-ordinates the work of the different committees. It meets at least twice a year. Its members are elected for two years by the General Assembly, at the proposal of member Regions. It includes at least one regional representative per country represented within the AER. Two standing committees report directly to this body:
- The standing committee for "Institutional Affairs" which focuses on upholding the core principles of subsidiarity, good governance and regional democracy;
- The standing committee for "Monitoring and Evaluation" which focuses on upholding the priorities defined in the strategic plan.
The Presidium 
The Presidium consists of the AER President (currently Michèle Sabban, vice-president of the Île-de-France region), two Vice Presidents, the Vice-President Treasurer and the Presidents of each of the AER’s committees. In the interim period between Bureau meetings, and by delegation, the Presidium can meet and take decisions that are then submitted to the following Bureau.
Committee structure 
Committee 1: Economy and Regional Development 
Committee 2: Social Policy and Public Health 
Committee 3: Culture, Education and Youth 
Standing Committees 
Presidents of Committees/standing committees are responsible for establishing the sub-committees deemed necessary to deliver the committee’s work throughout his/her term of office and for a minimum of two years.
Standing Committee on Institutional Affairs 
- Promotion of the principle of subsidiarity and the development of regional democracy
- Institutional capacity building: AER Training Academies
- Communicating Europe: Connecting the European institutions with the citizens
Standing Committee on Equal Opportunities
Standing Committee Monitoring and Evaluation
Working groups 
These are temporary bodies, formed on an ad-hoc basis for new issues arising in the context of the activities of the committees.
The AER Programmes 
Summer School 
Annual forum devoted to relevant issues in the area of regional development.
Youth Summer School 
Annual forum aimed at empowering young people and supporting their involvement in regional policies and public life.
AER's "Subsidiarity is a word" movement 
For AER, respect for the principle starts with recognition of the word, and recognition of the word starts with the "Subsidiarity is a word" movement. Launched in May 2008, AER's worldwide movement is demanding recognition of the word in dictionaries and in Microsoft Word's influential spell-checker. The movement has already secured the word's inclusion in numerous dictionaries across Europe, although a notable obstacle to the word's recognition has been the Microsoft Corporation, which continues to ignore AER's demands.
A YouTube channel and a "Subsidiarity is a word" group on Facebook feature the movement's spokesman, Subsidiarity Man. To date, the "superhero" has attempted to free-climb a building in Brussels, been jailed without charge, set a new world record for the most people (several thousand) chanting the word "subsidiarity", and been hospitalised after competing in the Mostar Old Bridge high-diving competition.