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Autumn session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

StrazburThe 29th session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe was held from 20-22 October in Strasbourg. Main session topic was “Local response to the challenges in the field of human rights – Migration, discrimination and social inclusion.

The session of the Congress attended by the members of the Delegation of Montenegro – Mr.Aleksandar Zuric, Head of Delegation and Mayor of the Municipality of Bijelo Polje and Ms.Sonja Nikcevic, president of the Assembly of the Municipality of Niksic, as well as Mr.Refik Bojadzic, Secretary General of the Union of Municipalities and Ms. Vanja Starovlah, Secretary of the Montenegrin Delegation in Congress.
One of the of the autumn session’s topic of the Congress is Report on the state of local democracy in Montenegro. The report was presented by the Congeress Rapporteurs Ms.Gaye Doganoglu from Turkey and Mr.Hans Brad Johansen from Denmark.

The Report states positive steps that have been taken in the framework of public administration reform which is still in progress. In this context, the Report stresses the importance of putting into practice the objectives envisaged in the reform documents, in order to effectively overcome the challenges that Montenegro faces. The Report also emphasizes the need to provide financial resources for local authorities in accordance with their powers and responsibilities. In light of the difficult financial situation of a large number of municipalities, it was estimated that there is a need to finalize the sustainable model of refinancing debts and obligations of local self-government units, which is ongoing. It is also recommended to be more applicable in practice consultation mechanisms between the state authorities and municipalities, as well as to establish a sustainable system of human resource development in local communities. Overall, it is concluded that in Montenegro provided a high degree of compliance with the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government and that Montenegro has made an impressive progress in the field of local democracy in relation to the previous Report of the Council of Europe in 2010.

Mr.Aleksandar Zuric, Head of the Delegation, thanked the rapporteurs to Report that recognized the progress that Montenegro has made in this field. He pointed out that “the Montenegrin local government units have taken significant actions aimed at strengthening the transparency, efficiency and accountability at the local level, which is recognized by the Report. On the other hand, we are aware that there is considerable scope for improving the overall system of local government, especially in terms of achieving a higher level of fiscal decentralization “.

Members of Congress unanimously adopted the Report on the state of local democracy in Montenegro.
The Congress also discussed the local elections in Albania and Moldova, as well as local democracy in Luxembourg. The documents, such as “New forms of local governance”, “Trends in regionalization in member countries of the Council of Europe” are adopted by the Congress.

Congress was also addressed by Mr.Torbjorn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Igor Crnadak, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and Ms.En Browser, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.