Nice work if you can get someone else to pay for it

The Irish Times highlights the sixth annual Overseas Conference of the Confederation of European Councillors[subs req. love the url – Ed] which began on Wednesday 12th October in Berlin.. previous venues include Brussels, Gibraltar, Prague and Slovakia.. except, as the Confederation website says, “The Confederation of European Councillors is the partnership body that comprises of over 2100 councillors of various political persuasions from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland”The programme of events during the three day Conference presents a very busy schedule for those attending.. as you no doubt expected –

Wednesday, 12th October 2005.

11.00am

WELCOME AND OPENING OF CONFERENCE
The sixth joint overseas conference of members from the National Association of Councillors and the Local Authority Members Association will be opened at a session to be attended by all delegates, members of the diplomatic corps, and civic officers of the city of Berlin.

Sessions on Day 1 and 3 will take place at the Döblin 1 centre on the 3rd floor.

11.30am – 12.15pm

CONFEDERATION OF EUROPEAN COUNCILLORS

The Role and Potential of the Confederation within North-South and East-West Relations

12.15pm – 1.00pm

BERLIN AND GERMANY

The Historical, Political and Comparative context

1.00pm – 2.00pm

LUNCH

Lunch will be served at the 2nd Floor Humboldt restaurant of the Park Inn Hotel

2.30pm

POLITICAL STUDY TOUR OF BERLIN

7.00pm

CONFERENCE DINNER

Dinner will be served at Döblin II on the 3rd Floor of the Park Inn Hotel

Thursday, 13th October 2005:

10.00am – 11.30am

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND MODERN EUROPE

The Enlargement of the European Union

11.30am – 1.00pm

Local Government in Europe and the Subsidiarity Principle

1.00pm – 2.00pm

LUNCH

Lunch will be served at the 2nd Floor Humboldt restaurant of the Park Inn Hotel

2.00pm

STUDY TOUR OF BERLIN

The impressive and fascinating city of Berlin provides any visitor with an opportunity to visit the vast number of attractions. This tour will take in many facets of the city, including features of its unique history, the Brandenburg gate, Museum Island, war memorials, Potsdamer Platz, Alexanderplatz and the TV Tower.

6.00pm

RECEPTION HOSTED BY THE IRISH AND BRITISH EMBASSIES

The embassies of Ireland and the United Kingdom will host delegates for a special joint reception in the Wintergarden Hall at the British Embassy, which is based on Wilhelmstrausse in the centre of the city.

Friday, 14th October 2005:

10.00am – 11.30am

LOCAL GOVERNMENT WITHIN MODERN EUROPE

Developing Councillor and Council Relations

11.30am – 1.00pm

CONFEDERATION OF EUROPEAN COUNCILLORS

Annual General Meeting

1.00pm

CLOSE OF CONFERENCE

The Irish Times notes the website’s explanation of the choice of Berlin –

the website quotes partnership manager John Devaney explaining why Berlin is “an ideal location” for the event.

“We have taken account of a number of issues in deciding the venue, not least the fact that Berlin is so easily and reasonably accessible from Belfast and Dublin, particularly with low cost airlines,” he says.

“We have also considered the fact that Germany has and does play a key role at the heart of the EU and modern Europe, and having begun to add the East-West dimension to the work we are doing in Ireland, we would wish to reach outwards in developing relations with local government and councillors.

“One of the aims of the confederation is to develop links with and between local councillors and councillor groups across the continent.”

And they [the Irish Times] helpfully estimate the cost per councillor

Attending the 2½ day meeting – which ends today and includes one lunch and one dinner – costs €355 per delegate.

Hotel fees for the plush four-star Park Inn Berlin-Alexanderplatz in the the city centre where the conference is taking place are an additional €109 for a single or €135 for a double room. Flights and other travel to and from airports at either end and meals are also additional, leading to an estimated total of €750 per person.

Most councils will cover the cost of the Berlin trip with annual conference allocations when members submit their claims.[emphasis added]

The Irish Times also notes that –

One of the largest delegations is from Kerry, where some 10 councillors – seven from Kerry County Council and three from Killarney Town Council – have been sent.

Here’s the Board of Wise Men and Women involved in the Confederation