PRESS RELEASE
29/05/2008

The Congress of the Council of Europe launches “The Prize of the Regions”

Brussels, Paris, Strasbourg, May 29, 2008 – The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe is launching “The Prize of the Regions of the Congress of the Council of Europe” in partnership with the bank Dexia. The prize will be awarded annually to regions committed to promoting best practices in the field of regional democracy. The first prize theme is “Promoting Social Cohesion through Economic Development.”

The theme for the first prize “Promoting Social Cohesion through Economic Development” is understood as economic development that instigates, drives and thus achieves social cohesion. This approach will allow regions of different social, cultural and income patterns to enter in the same category. Projects should concentrate on regional economic development programmes and clearly show, with concrete examples, how these programmes have supported and enhanced social cohesion. About 1,000 of the 200,000 territorial communities that make up the 47 member states of the Council of Europe Congress can be described as ‘regions'.

“It is important for the Council of Europe Congress that the prize is all encompassing and that we ensure highest possible participation”, says the Congress President, Mr Yavouz Mildon “We feel that by partnering with an organisation of Dexia's size, we will further enhance the importance of the region's work in promoting social cohesion and economic development. I would also take the opportunity to encourage all the regions to enter into this competition. Only by showing our progress can we build a solid ground for tomorrow's progress”, Mr Mildon concludes.

“We look forward to partnering with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe on this prize”, says Axel Miller, Dexia CEO. “Given Dexia's long experience in working together with local authorities as well as our long-term commitment to public cooperation, we are delighted to bring our expertise to the table in this exciting partnership”, says Mr. Miller.

The Prize will be awarded at the Congress Autumn Session (1-3 December 2008). The deadline for applications is 10 September 2008.

For further information on the prize, please send an e-mail to prize.regions@coe.int or a fax to +33 (0)3 88 41 37 47/27 51 (Mr. Chauvet).

Press contacts:
Communication Unit of the Congress of the Council of Europe, congress.com@coe.int; tel: +33 (0) 388 41 32 81
Press department Dexia Paris + 33 1 58 58 86 75
Press department Dexia Brussels + 32 2 213 50 81

Further information on the Prize of the Regions of the Congress of the Council of Europe is found on:
The Congress of the Council of Europe: www.coe.int/prizeregions
Dexia: www.dexia.com/coe

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (www.coe.int/congress)
Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe seeks to develop throughout Europe common and democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights and other reference texts on the protection of individuals. The Council of Europe has 47 member states. The Congress is the local and regional authorities' representative body at the Council of Europe, working for 50 years for local democracy. It comprises a Chamber of Local Authorities and a Chamber of Regions.

Dexia (www.dexia.com) is a European bank and the world leader in local public finance. Dexia is one of the top fifteen banking groups in the euro zone with a stock market capitalization of EUR 20.3 billion and 35 200 employees in 37 countries as of December 31, 2007. Dexia has one of the highest credit ratings in the banking industry. Dexia's development strategy is based on two pillars: its Universal Banking business in Europe (Belgium, Luxembourg, Slovakia and Turkey), and world leadership in Public/Project Finance.

Dexia S.A. - 11, Place Rogier B-1210 Brussels - 1, Passerelle des Reflets, Paris-La Défense 2, F-92919 La Défense Cedex