Firmly convinced that there can be no lasting democracy without economic progress, the Chamber of the Regions of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe organized the first "Economic Forum of the Regions of Europe" in January 1996, with the support of the Canton of Geneva and the Helvetic Confederation. It was attended by the representatives of the European Union, the Council of Europe, the United Nations and representatives of many organizations and States.
The participants adopted a “Geneva Declaration”, asking for the creation of a permanent body which would make available to regional stakeholders a network for the promotion of exchanges and economic, environmental and social partnerships. This is how FEDRE was born.
On 25 April 1996, its founding Act was signed by Mr. Claude Haegi, a member of the Canton of Geneva’s government, a former president and former mayor of Geneva; Mr. Yves Berthelot, Executive Director of the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations; and Mr. Daniel Goeudevert, First Vice-Chairman of the International Green Cross and former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Volkswagen.
Claude Haegi received the insignia of Officer of the Legion of Honour on June 21, 2017.
FEDRE’s goals and activities are based on the following principles:
To promote the sustainable development of the regions of Eastern, Central and Western Europe, and of the South-Western Mediterranean bassin.
To boast interregional co-operation in Europe, in particular East-West cooperation and that with the South-Western part of the Mediterranean.
To give rural and urban regions, cities, economic bodies and companies the opportunity to take advantage of FEDRE's network to build partnerships committed to sustainable regional development.
To provide strategic, legal and technical information for local and regional decision-makers.
Its promotional programmes are related to topics such as energy, transportation, or water and waste management.
Produced by the FEDRE in partnership with the Chamber of Regions of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (decision adopted in Strasbourg on 4 July 2003), the Directory of European Regions provided geographical, demographic and economic data on more than 750 European regions
Its Economic Forums of the Regions of Europe were organized at least annually in co-operation with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. The previous forums were held in Geneva (Switzerland), 1996; Dortmund (Germany) and Moscow (Russia); Vienna (Austria), 1997; Bucharest (Romania), 1998; Weimar (Germany), Skopje (Macedonia) within the framework of the Stability Pact in 2000; Istanbul (Turkey) in 2001; Novi Sad (Voivodina, Serbia) in 2002; Prijedor (Bosnia-Herzegovina) in 2003 and Budva (Montenegro) in 2004.
Its forums held on a specific theme pertaining to sustainable development: Alpine tunnels (“Tunnel 2000”, Geneva, 1999); Energy (Geneva, 2001, Omsk, 2002 and "Energy: The Power of the Regions", Geneva, 2003) and Mobility ("Energy and Transport", Geneva, 2004).
These initiatives should contribute to the awareness of the population of a region or municipality of the importance of protecting the environment and of qualitative development, and publicize their commercial and industrial potential at the international level, as well as their commitment to sustainable development.
Events organized at the request of economic or political stakeholders, committed to sustainable development.
The foundation also provides expertise to facilitate the establishment of partnerships, transfers of technology and other similar contacts.
Claude Haegi, President
Administrator of several foundations, associations and companies, former Mayor of Geneva and a former member of the Government of the Republic and Canton of Geneva in various capacities; honorary member and former President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.
Yves Berthelot, Vice-President
President, French Committee of Solidarity International; Senior Research Fellow, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR); former Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations.
Daniel Goeudevert, Vice-President
International consultant, Former Vice-President of the Volkswagen Group and former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Volkswagen.