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Congress President meets with Union of Municipalities of Montenegro

Presidency Podgorica, Montenegro 24-25 July 2018
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Vanja Starovlah, Secretary, Petar Smolović and Dragoslav Šćekić, head and deputy head of the Congress delegation.

Vanja Starovlah, Secretary, Petar Smolović and Dragoslav Šćekić, head and deputy head of the Congress delegation.

During the official visit to Montenegro on 24 and 25 July 2018, the President of the Congress, Gudrun MOSLER-TÖRNSTRÖM, and the Secretary General, Andreas KIEFER, held an exchange of views with the Vice-President and the Secretary General of the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro, Zoran SRZENTIC and Refik BOJADZIC. In addition, the President and the Secretary General of the Congress met Petar SMOLOVIC and Dragoslav ŠĆEKIĆ, head and deputy head of the Montenegrin delegation to the Congress. “We benefit a lot from our participation in the work of the Congress and are able to improve the situation of local democracy in our municipalities and in our country as a whole”, they said during the meetings. Together with Vanja STAROVLAH, Secretary of the delegation to the Congress they discussed the state of the reforms of local democracy in Montenegro and underlined how important the last Monitoring report of the Congress of 2015 was. During the negotiations with the government many of the Congress recommendations had been included in new laws and several of them were already in force. “A specific challenge was the sustainable financing of the 23 municipalities of Montenegro”, they underlined. Petar SMOLOVIC highlighted that reforms were implemented in his municipality Bijelo Polje and although staff had to be reduced, new tasks could be taken up, in particular Offices for Roma, for gender equality, for supporting NGOs in implementing projects, for social services etc. and free internet access had been established. “All this would also contribute to improve the quality of service delivery and citizen satisfaction” he stated. The Congress President invited the delegation members to contribute to the debate on initiatives for preventing and fighting corruption scheduled in the November Session of the Congress in Strasbourg. All Montenegrin municipalities have local anti-corruption action plans in place and should share their experiences with the other Congress members. At this Congress Session a revised code of conduct for ethical behavior of local and regional politicians will be presented.

During the meeting with the leadership of the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro, Ms MOSLER-TÖRNSTRÖM and Mr KIEFER were informed that a special focus was put on improving financial sustainability of the municipalities and on de-politicizing and professionalizing the staff working in municipalities and their agencies. The support of the international community in this respect was very appreciated. “The legal provisions for consultation of the Union by the government were good, there was, however still room for improvement”, stated the President of the Congress. In addition, The Union reacted very positively to the Congress monitoring report as it has led to many improvements and new legislation in force as of January 2018.”The Union is also the supporting structure for the participation of Montenegrin mayors and councilors in the Congress and in the Joint Consultative Committee with the European Committee of the Regions of the EU”, finally said the leadership of the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro.

In the centre:Zoran Srzentić, Mayor of Bar and Vice-President and Refik Bojadžić, Secretary General of the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro.

 

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Official visit of the President of the Congress to Montenegro