Delegation of the Union of Municipalities on “Enlargement Day ” in Brussels

brisel 16.11With the aim of raising awareness of the local and regional dimension of the enlargement process, the Committee of the Regions has organized an event called “Enlargement Day” on 16 November 2015 in Brussels. This event provides an opportunity for politicians from the local level of the countries that are in the process of accession to the EU to meet with members of the Committee of the Regions and senior officials of other EU institutions, and discuss the challenges they face in the accession process.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Committee of the Regions and other EU institutions, as well as co-chairman of Joint Consultative Committees and Working Groups from all countries in the EU accession process. The delegation of the Union of Municipalities was represented by Mr.Aleksandar Bogdanovic, president of the Union of Municipalities Executive Board and co-chairman of the Joint Consultative Committee between Montenegro and the Committee of the Regions, Mr.Veselin Vukicevic, Mayor of the Municipality of Zabljak and JCC member, Mr.Refik Bojadzic, Secretary General of the Union of Municipalities and Ms.Vanja Starovlah , secretary of the JCC in Montenegro.

The meeting was opened by Mr.Simon Mordue, Director of the Directorate for Enlargement Policy and Strategy, Mr.Markku Markkula, President of the Committee of the Regions and Mr.Fran├žois Decoster, President of the CIVEX Commission.

Mr.Simon Mordue, Director of the Directorate for Enlargement Policy and Strategy has briefly presented the key messages from all progress reports and stressed the importance of involving local authorities in the European integration process. He pointed out that “for those who want to join the EU, has to find a balance in the division of powers between central, regional and local authorities. One of the key things that we look at the preparation of the report is just how responsibilities are distributed between different levels of government. ”

During the meeting, the two round tables were organized: “The transfer of powers and coordination mechanisms in European affairs between the various levels of government” and “Local and regional strategies for balanced regional development and business environment and the role of inter-regional and transnational co-operation”.

The main message of the first round table was that the transfer of powers and decentralization accompanied by adequate fiscal decentralization, the basic preconditions for successful local government that will contribute to the development of society as a whole.

Introductory speaker and moderator of the second round table was Mr.Aleksandar Bogdanovic, president of the Union of Municipalities Executive Board, who stressed that “European integration remains a fundamental element in the regional and macro-regional strategies which include partners from the EU countries and countries that are not EU members, and to highlight the various dimensions, including the processes of reconciliation, security, stability and prosperity through closer cooperation and the role of local authorities as a key actors in promoting self-government, capacity strengthening, decentralization and democracy. ” When this cooperation is concerned, he stressed that “cooperation and exchange of experiences across borders, whether national, regional or organizational, is an effective way to access new ideas, innovations and new knowledge and skills. In this sense, transnational co-operation allows solving territorial challenges beyond national borders, such as environmental protection, international business, transport corridors and so on, while interregional cooperation encourges the exchange of experiences between the partners and the region in relation to the common strategic objectives and development “.

It was also stressed that, in order to implement transnational and interregional programs, and other programs funded by the EU is need a higher support to local authorities, and, in this sense, it is necessary to establish an adequate financial mechanism to provide financial support to local authorities in the preparation and implementation of EU projects. In this context, the importance of establishing a sustainable system for the human resources management at the local level was especially emphasized, because without an adequate knowledge and skills of employees in the municipalities there is no successful policies, projects and cooperation.

The main message of the second round table was that local and regional strategies are of the key importance for the development of the region and for the improvement of the business environment. The elected local representatives who work closely with the citizens are essential for the development of these strategies, as well as to deal with the challenges towards the balanced economic development.

The following ” Enlargement Day ” will be held in April 2016.