Moldovan President Maia Sandu presents grassroots reform, and President of European Committee of the Regions welcomes new "partnership for resilience, recovery and reform".
President Sandu was speaking at the annual meeting of the
Conference of Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern
(CORLEAP), which she said offered a "good platform for such cooperation"
between local authorities. The meeting was addressed by the presidents of
two European local-government assemblies: the EU's European Committee of
the Regions and the Council of Europe's Congress of Local and Regional
Authorities. Both stressed that the Eastern Partnership's agenda should
strengthen good governance, local democracy and cooperation between
national and local governments.
President Maia Sandu
presented her reforms in part as a response to depopulation, saying: "We
want people to stay; we want those who left to come back. In order to
achieve that, we need to invest in our rural areas and create new
opportunities for growth in every town. We must build Europe at home."
She continued: "We are working on a programme called 'the European
Village', in which we want to put together various funding sources for
local development and simplify the funding mechanism in order to improve
the access of rural local governments to financing for development and
ensure a fairer process of getting the money. We are also considering
extending this fund to support local businesses. Our plan is to make at
least €100 million available to Moldovan communities every year for
financing local development projects across the country."
The Eastern Partnership summit on 15 December is an opportunity for the
EU's 27 national leaders and the leaders of Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia,
Azerbaijan, and Georgia to update the Eastern Partnership's
post-2020 agenda, in part in response to the pandemic.
(EL/EPP), President of the European Committee of the Regions and Governor
of the region of Central Macedonia, said: "Geopolitical challenges and the
impact of the pandemic underscore the importance of strengthening
resilience at all levels of governance, fostering sustainable development
and delivering results for citizens. We therefore support the Eastern
Partnership's sharpened focus on resilience, reform, and post-pandemic
recovery and the EU's new €2.3 billion Economic Investment Plan, in which
local and regional authorities must play a pivotal role."
President Tzitzikostas, who is co-chair of CORLEAP, continued: "The success
of this partnership for resilience, recovery and reform will depend on good
governance, and on close cooperation with cities and regions. The creation
of an Eastern Partnership Academy for the Public Administration – an idea
advocated by CORLEAP – aims at enhancing cooperation in areas ranging from
anti-corruption measures to energy, urban mobility and economic
, mayor of Edinet in Moldova and co-chair of CORLEAP, said: "I am glad that
the three countries that have signed an Association Agreement with the EU –
Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – are cooperating more and more closely in
various areas and in different formats. We see much greater prospects here,
including at the local level. We should consider a more structured format
of consultations between our three delegations and a more systematic
approach to our countries by the European Committee of the Regions. The
sustainable development of our region has always been one of the key topics
for us. Indeed, sustainability is one of the main motivations of our
Leendert Verbeek, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the
Council of Europe, said: "Decentralisation reforms, already underway in
many CORLEAP countries, must be pursued and brought to completion in line
with the European Charter of Local Self-Government. Today, we need more
decentralisation, not less, for better resilience and recovery: it is the
system that can provide the most adequate responses to the ongoing health
crisis and ensure the necessary resilience and recovery, starting from the
community level. Multilevel governance increases the quality of decisions
and shows greater flexibility in adapting to emergency situations. This
also means that local and regional authorities must be equipped with proper
competences and financial resources, have access to funding and be part of
regular consultations in both crisis management and recovery plans."
Five of the six members of the Eastern Partnership – Belarus excepted –
have ratified the Charter in full or in part. The Charter includes
principles on fiscal decentralisation and on local governments' financial
autonomy – the subjects of an report adopted by CORLEAP at the meeting.
from the Parliament of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in Azerbaijan,
the report calls for each country to adopt a fiscal decentralisation
strategy, cede some control of tax to municipalities, and ease
municipalities' access to development funds and capital markets.
The Eastern Partnerships 'recovery, resilience and reform' agenda sets out
objectives in five areas: accountable institutions, the rule of law and
security; resilient, sustainable and integrated economies; environmental
and climate resilience; the digital transformation; and fair and inclusive
Other speakers at the event included:
Maka Botchorishvili, co-president of the
Euronest Parliamentary Assembly
and member of the Georgian parliament;
, member of the European Parliament (RO/EPP); Serhiy Nadal, mayor of Ternopil in Ukraine;
(PT/PES), mayor of Braga; and Nino Rukhadze, member of
Tbilisi City Assembly.
CORLEAP's next annual meeting will be held in November 2022, when the
six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union will be held by
the Czech Republic, one of the driving forces behind the Eastern
Partnership and host of the first Eastern Partnership summit in 2009. The
European Committee of the Regions created CORLEAP in 2011.
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