For the first time in Albania the Central government will consult with representatives of Local Government regarding issues of decentralization, local finances and municipal functions.
Both levels of authorities will share and discuss policies, draft laws and initiatives that affect local government and communities, through the Consultative Council of the Central Government and Local Self-Government.
President of Tirana Regional Council also Chairman of the Association of Albanian Regional Councils Mr. Aldrin Dalipi said that increased need for services provided to citizens, especially for residents of suburban areas at municipal or regional level, is a challenge for everyone and requires a sincere cooperation between the levels of central government with local ones.
“Creating common markets from rural areas to urban ones, as models for social and economic development of the territory has been the first example of inter-municipality cooperation and are initiatives that certainly require support. Tirana is obviously a positive model. Tirana has given an example of starting the collaboration for building a common livestock market where three mayors, Mr. Erion Veliaj in Tirana, Mr. Fiqiri Ismaili in Vora and Mr. Xhelal Mziu in Kamza signed together the arrangement and made possible the opening of a livestock market of very good standards in Laknas village in Tirana region, and already the central government is calling on all mayors to adopt this model across the country, “said Mr. Dalipi.
Minister of State for Local Issues Mr.Bledi Çuçi, during the inauguration ceremony considered the Council “a key element of the reform of local government and the establishment of a climate of real cooperation between these two levels of governance in Albania”.
“Today we come to establish a new bridge of communication between us, a new ” agora ” where on a civilized, constructive and structured way, we compare our ideas, policies and objectives as well as any other matters of interest to the performance and progress of local government, regardless of differences on political camps or different attitudes we all have, “said Minister Çuçi.
During the ceremony Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Mr. Andreas Kiefer, welcomed the creation of the Council, and the efforts of the Albanian actors on this regard. Present at the inauguration ceremony were also the Director of USAID in Albania Ms. Cate Johnson, Mayor of Tirana Mr.Erion Veliaj and representatives of local government associations in Albania.
Mayor of Tirana, Mr.Erion Veliaj, also the Chairman of the Association for Local Autonomy, praised administrative territorial division, a reform which increased the possibility of local units to perform better. Mr. Veliaj praised the establishment of the Consultative Council, and emphasized that local government associations should come together to work for the interests of citizens. Swiss Ambassador Mr. Christoph Graf called the establishment of the Consultative Council “an important milestone for local democracy in Albania”.
He emphasized the importance of consensus and understanding on democracy, citing the example of Switzerland. “Dialogue is a powerful instrument to achieve solid and sustainable solutions,” said Ambassador Graf. The establishment of this institution, being sanctioned by a legal mechanism, creates the conditions for a new reality of cooperation and strengthening of the dialogue between the two levels of government.
This follows a decision of the Council of Ministers of Albania approved on December 21st 2016, and is also a direct implementation of the European Charter on Local Self-Government, placing Albania among advanced countries members of the Council of Europe with such an institution. The Consultative Council is supported by the Council of Europe, the Swiss government and USAID.