The General Secretariat of the Government of the Union of Municipalities, organized a roundtable on “Local governments in the negotiation process – successes and challenges on the road to EU”. The round table was opened by Aleksandar Drljević – chief negotiator with the EU, Aivo Orav – Head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Refik Bojadzic – Secretary General of the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro.
“The importance of today’s topic of the round table is unquestionable and with several aspects. Accession to the EU is one of the key foreign policy priorities of the Government and the process gradually, but thoroughly permeates all structures of the Montenegrin society. As such, it is impossible without the active participation and significant contribution to the local governments. The reforms that are being implemented at the local level are an important prerequisite for the implementation of regulations that align with the EU heritage, the adoption and implementation of European standards in different areas, but for the efficient use of funds available from a number of European funds. Montenegro is in the process of negotiations with the EU so far opened 32 of 33 chapters where three chapters provisionally closed. We expect that the remaining negotiation chapter 8 – competition, open in the coming period, which will encircle the base of the opening chapter, a negotiating structure to commit fully to meet the obligations that lead to the temporary closure of the chapter, “said Drljević.
Mr. Orav welcomed the participants in his speech pointed out that local governments have an important role in ensuring the sustainable development of their communities. The government has a duty to prepare a strategy for the development of a greater responsibility lies with the local governments to be implemented by the Government’s strategy.
“Union of Municipalities of Montenegro has been working on the promotion of European values and standards at the local level. We do this by building and establishing mechanisms aimed at better exchange of information, capacity building of local governments in projects, training, exchange of experiences, good practices and the like. We are recognized as a unique resource center, which greatly facilitates communication not only among the local governments, but also with other stakeholders, institutions at national, European and international institutions and organizations they are working with our community and prepare our community for future membership, ” Bojadzic said. The round table was an opportunity to discuss the role of local governments in the negotiation process, especially in the implementation of European regulations and standards, as well as opportunities that are available to municipalities in the framework of European funds. Local governments, through the IPA (Insturment Pre-Accession Assistance) program, implemented by the European legislative framework, the European standards. Also, local governments implement projects that are financed right across the IPA Program of the European Union with a view to strengthening the capacity to adopt European standards, improving the business environment, construction democratic institutions, civil society development, improvement of regional and cross-border cooperation, co-financing infrastructure projects, as well as support focused on the preparation for structural funds. At the round table, held two panel sessions on EU pre-accession assistance to Montenegro and preparations for the use of EU structural funds. At the round table were presented three projects that municipalities implement – ‘FLAT – training and support in the floods and landslides “implemented by municipalities Danilovgrad,” Green Islands “, implemented by the municipality of Berane, as well as the project” IRENE – Interregional Network for renewable and energy efficiency ” , implemented by the municipality of Tivat.