The founders

Paúl Carrasco

President of the United Regions Organisation.

 

Last January, Michel Vauzelle announced that he will not run for re-election in December 2015 as regional president of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. 

During ORU’s Bureau meeting last 19th and 20th of March in Abidjan, the Senegalese Regions Association (ARS) was replaced by the Senegalese Departments Association (ADS) and with that, not only we repositioned ourselves in the African country, but we also lost Aliou Niang, president of ARS and of the Saint Louis Regional Council, as member of our Executive Bureau. 

After the elections last Sunday, 29th of March, Alberto João Jardim stepped down –after 37 years- as President of the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

Vauzelle-Niang-Jardim are leaders from a generation of regionalists to whom ORU has much to thank for. 

We cannot thank Michel Vauzelle enough for putting his immense political prestige, forged in Chaban-Delmas and Mitterrand’s Cabinets, and consummated as minister of the French Republic, at the service of regionalism.  In 2007, he was a key player in the foundation of the United Regions Organisation in Marseille. He preceded me as ORU’s President, providing the organisation with distinction, influence and discourse. He retires from the regional sphere, but he will continue to fight as congressman in the French National Assembly where, without a doubt, he will continue to influence in favour of intermediate governments and a better governance. 

Aliou Niang, ORU’s vice-president, has been the presence and the voice of African regionalism in our organisation. Today, ORU is making progress in the African continent with the presence of regions from Ivory Coast, Kenya, and Burkina-Faso… and it will continue o move forward. For years, the Senegalese regions were our only link in the sub-Saharan area and the president of the Saint Louis region “our man” in Africa. 

Alberto João Jardim is another political heavyweight who has put his capabilities into regionalism. He was one of the founders, in Marseille, of ORU and he also founded the Assembly of European Regions. Contrary to Vauzelle and Niang, in the last few years he has not been part of our Executive Bureau. However, he has maintained Madeira’s presence in ORU with loyalty. We can only regret, perhaps, not having drawn enough on his experience and leadership, at the forefront of a region that opened up the doors to Portugal and to significant insular realities. We will try to correct the mistake with his successor. 

If we can say goodbye to these old friends with optimism, not without telling them that we will continue to rely on their advice and help, is because in our pilgrimage around the world we come across new leaders who, in the intermediate governments from all continents,   advocate for a new governance. Young women and men who, just like the host of our next Assembly, Susana Díaz, newly re-elected president of Andalucía, add a great deal of vitality to the 21st century regionalism that we are building.

 


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