On April 11, 2019, the 14th NALAS General Assembly took place in the City of Skopje, while bringing together over 70 Mayors, municipal experts and local government associations from the 12 member countries from the SEE Region.
Mr. Petre Shilegov, Mayor of Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia, was appointed a new NALAS President, who will lead the Network in the upcoming year.
“It is my honor and pleasure to serve as NALAS President. In the upcoming period, I expect that we will move forward many processes that are important for the member associations of NALAS, especially the process of decentralization and fiscal decentralization. A dynamic period is ahead of us, the efforts of ZELS and NALAS will make the mayors’ job easier”.
The delegates reviewed NALAS’ work in 2018 and the work plan for 2019, discussed the role of Cities as Drivers of Economic Growth, and fortified NALAS’ efforts in gender mainstreaming at local level by unanimously adopting the proposed amendments to the NALAS’ Statute which strive towards equal representation and gender equality at all levels.
Mr. Darko Fras, President of NALAS 2018-2019, Mr.Petre Shilegov, Mayor of Skopje, President of NALAS 2019- 2020, H.E. Ms. Sybille Suter Tejada, Ambassador of Switzerland in North Macedonia , and Mr. Johan Van Den Hout, Vice President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe took the floor in the opening and provided their key note speeches.
“Our main discussion theme this year will be the position of local governments and their associations in the regional agenda, in particular the Berlin Process and the so called “Regional Economic Area” as its main result. While this has been mainly a central government – top down planning exercise led by RCC and CEFTA and supported by the European Commission, the Berlin Process, via the Polish Government, finally opened an opportunity for us to submit recommendations to the upcoming Summit in Poznan in June-July 2019. These two days are a great opportunity for us to reflect and formulate a clear message to be delivered in Poznan. For that purpose, we will have an inspirational Field Trip to Municipality of Veles this afternoon to see what are the real challenges on the field and real potentials for local governments to contribute to the Economic Growth Agenda”, said Mr. Darko Fras, President of NALAS 2018-2019.
H.E. Ms. Sybille Suter Tejada, Ambassador of Switzerland in North Macedonia said that: “NALAS has grown to be a relevant actor and supporter of the decentralization process in South East Europe. NALAS plays an important role in representing local authorities in order to get proper position in the process of EU integration, at the same time it gives power to the local government associations as promotors and safeguards of local democracy”.
“NALAS and the Congress political positions and common interests are well aligned, in particular in strengthening local self-government and representing and defending the interests of local and regional authorities. We need the political will of local leaders, a critical mass of engaged and reform-minded elected representatives to restore and build trust in our institutions, active national associations and a proactive network such as NALAS to create a space for local governments in the discussions between governments in the region and with international organisations”, emphasized Mr. Johan Van Den Hout, Vice President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.
As part of the “Cities as Drivers of Economic Growth – Vision 2030”, NALAS delegates had a study tour in the city of Veles.
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