The June 2015 local Elections and the situation after brought in Albania, during February 25-26, a fact finding mission of the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities to assess the situation of local and regional democracy in the country.
The delegation led by Mr. Jos WIENEN, the Thematic Spokesperson on observation of local and regional elections and Chair of the Council for Democratic Elections/Venice Commission was made of representatives from Congress and local authorities in COE.
During its stay in Tirana, the delegation met with Mrs Voltana Ademi, President of the Association of Municipalities, and Agron Haxhimali Executive Director on exchanging on the situation of municipalities in the aftermath of the 2015 local elections, among others.
Among topics discussed were current implementation of Law no. 139/2015, mostly on state of transfer of new functions to the new Municipalities and devolution of powers and funds; consequences for locally elected on remuneration and immunity; impact on electoral borders in the 2015 elections; co-ordination between regions and municipalities in practice; and impact of new legislation on accountability of elected representatives as impacting the service quality at local level and citizens’ trust in local government.
AAM informed the Delegation on a proactive role during drafting process of the new Organic Law on local government and the intentions to continue to be involved and represent Municipalities in such major developments.
We assured members of delegation on our interest for a transparent and inclusive intergovernmental cooperation. This becomes important in specific situation of municipalities that now fave difficulties with bureaucratic procedures on transfer of new functions, which are not followed by the required budgeting.
Central government should pay extra attention to providing financial resources and instruments for public services in rural areas as municipalities do not yet provide services to these communities.
We expressed our opinion that the composition of the Albania national delegation to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities should be revised to respect criteria set on representation.