The stage of implementation of the Territorial Administrative Reform and Decentralisation Strategy was discussed on Friday by the Minister of State for Local Issues Bledar Çuçi and the Head of European Union Delegation to Albania Romana Vlahutin.
Ambassador Vlahutin acknowledged the efforts of the Albanian authorities and encouraged them to accelerate the pace of reforms in this important field. "The European Union attaches great importance to local governance and fully supports the role that local government units play in the country's EU integration process" said the EU Ambassador.
In particular, Ambassador Vlahutin urged the Government to adopt soonest, in close consultation with all relevant stakeholders, a law whereby local finances are predictable and funds are allocated in a transparent and fair manner. Also improved management of public finances on local level remains a priority within the Public Finances Management strategy.
She reiterated the EU's full determination to work together with the Albanian authorities in enhancing EU related governance capacities at the local level. The initiative about municipalities having their EU local desk will be an helpful tool for the European integration of the country. The EU Delegation plans to assist by providing training/knowledge sharing, as well as on line communication and networking platform, information materials, and event management.
Furthermore, the EU pledged a significant contribution to the "Support to Territorial and Administrative Reform" (STAR) project which is about to begin its second phase. Activities, implemented by UNDP, aim at strengthening administrative and institutional capacities of local government units, increase local service delivery, and enhance local democracy through fostering citizen-oriented governance and participatory decision making.