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Vice-President Maletic at NALAS: “In these challenging times, it is more important than ever to focus on building resilient communities”

Co-operation Belgrade, Serbia 13 May 2022
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Vice-President Maletic at NALAS: “In these challenging times, it is more important than ever to focus on building resilient communities”

“We are living in a specific moment, characterised by multiple crisis which put the exercise of local democracy under growing constraints and pressure,” stated Congress Vice-President Aleksandra Maletic (Serbia, EPP/CCE) at the opening of the XVII General Assembly of the Network of Associations of Local Authorities from South-East Europe (NALAS) in Belgrade (Serbia) on 12 May 2022.

“After overcoming the critical point of pandemic, we found ourselves in great tribulation. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe stands with Ukrainian people,” stressed the Vice-President. “Recent developments have highlighted the importance of safeguarding peace and protecting European fundamental values. The values of the Council of Europe are our common values as Europeans, and they must be preserved more than ever,” she continued

The Vice-President pointed to the crucial need for strengthening the resilience and sustainability of municipalities and cities to respond better to crises, referring in this regard to the work undertaken by the Congress and networks such as NALAS, particularly regarding decentralisation and the strengthening of local democracy, within the system of multi-level governance.

Strong multi-level governance, she continued, entails strong local authorities, with proper competences and level of autonomy of decisions, including the sufficient financial resources to implement these decisions. An inclusive and transparent dialogue of national governments with local authorities and their national associations is key to achieving this, stressed the Vice-President.

“We must pursue and persevere with our work of building democracy and delivering good governance, for the benefit of our citizens and their trust in regional and local authorities. However, local authorities cannot act alone, but in co-operation and with shared responsibility with other levels of government. United we shall overcome the hardships of today and build a peaceful future”, concluded Vice-President Maletic.

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