Assembly of European Regions

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Assembly of European Regions
logo of Assembly of European Regions
Secretariat Strasbourg and Brussels
Official working language English
Type Trade bloc
• President

The Assembly of European Regions (AER) is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together regions from 35 countries and 15 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional cooperation.

Historical background[edit]

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.

The year 1985 was proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Youth Year. The same year AER launched its first programme, Eurodyssey, designed to promote and encourage youth mobility.

In 1990, AER’s Tabula Regionum Europae published the first map of its kind citing a Europe made up of regions and not simply of countries. The year after, the principle of subsidiarity became the leading AER campaign to promote the role of regions in all European and national decision-making processes. Soon thereafter its success was to be evident as the principle was recognized in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992.

The creation of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) in 1994 and the Chamber of the Regions in the framework of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities (CLRAE) in 1994, exemplified a victory for AER in advocating for the regions in Europe.

In 1995, AER launched a massive campaign to promote regionalism in Europe. As a result, 300 AER members adopted in 1996 the Declaration on Regionalism in Europe immediately initializing a reference document for new and developing regions.

In 2002, AER presented its position on the “Future of Europe” to the European Convention. AER actively contributed to the drafting of the European Constitution, demonstrating strong political involvement. The final text included all AER proposals, namely

  • The recognition of the regions as an important level of governance within Europe.
  • The extension of the principle of subsidiarity to regional and local levels.
  • The inclusion of regional cohesion in EU’s objectives.

In 2008, AER established the Youth Regional Network, Europe’s first and only platform of regional youth councils, parliaments and organisations.

Definition of "Region"[edit]

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.

Mission and core objectives[edit]

AER's mission is to be the voice of the regions of Europe.

AER’s core objectives are:

  • Promoting regional interests in Europe and beyond;
  • Fostering interregional cooperation to promote the exchange of experience and the development of regional policy.


AER believes in the following values:

Democracy and transparency[edit]

– two totally complementary and inseparable values: AER will act transparently to focus on defending the interests of all member regions while respecting democratic principles.

Fairness and solidarity[edit]

– the root of mutual respect and acceptance of cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic differences: AER advocates solidarity between all regions of Europe, while urging fairness as a source of cohesion between member regions and promoting equal opportunities for all.

Openness and dialogue[edit]

AER is open to all European regions and their elected representatives, men and women alike, from all non-extremist political movements. AER promotes dialogue and dares to confront ideas;

Boldness and effectiveness[edit]

AER seeks to stimulate creativity and encourage political debate, and aims to transform the regions via forward-looking projects.


Informing & Exchanging[edit]

AER aims at helping its members and partners implement policy actions in various fields by first and foremost informing them on the options and methods available to them. Our members and partners are encouraged to exchange regional stories and best practices.

Advocacy & Networking[edit]

AER uses its wide network to advocate in favour of regional causes, making sure that regions and their voice are heard at the right time, at the right place and by the right people. Networking is also an effective tool to spread the news on what’s accomplished by our members and partners, placing them on the international scene.

Projects & Programmes[edit]

AER has extensive experience in all aspects of European project management and funding and can assist our members with EU or regional projects and programmes.

Capacity building & Advising[edit]

AER offers members access to expert political analysis, advice on strategical aspects of regional politics and connection, and intermediation with European institutions. In effect, members and partners are accompanied through the European decision-making process.

Becoming a member of AER[edit]

In accordance with AER’s statutes, regions are defined as “local authorities immediately below the level of central government, with a political power of representation embodies by an elected regional Assembly.”Since regional capacities differ from one state to another, six distinct set-ups are currently possible:

  • constitutional regions enjoying state prerogatives (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland)
  • regions having an extended political and administrative autonomy (Spain, Italy, and certain independent regions or islands in Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Portugal)
  • regions within decentralised states (France, Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic)
  • regions benefiting from the status of district, department, or county (Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Greece, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, the Ukraine)
  • regional authorities composed of county delegations (Ireland)
  • small states whose size corresponds to that of a region.

In order to request adhesion: please send an official letter, signed by the president of your region, to the President of AER. Once your request has been accepted by AER’s Bureau or Presidency and the fee is paid, you are free to participate in all our activities. In accordance with our statutes, your application will be ratified during our annual General Assembly

List of presidents of the AER[edit]

External links[edit]