Support for municipalities strengthens the foundations of the European model of Kosovo
When KLGI Institute is almost filling a decade of work, in this annual event, we would like to share some findings of the current situation in the field of local government: i) the legislation derived for municipalities 10 years ago was necessary for the political and strategic goals of the country, independence, and also for the accommodation of minorities; and ii) 10 years after, the situation in the field indicates that the current framework is out of date, the municipalities have evolved, and there is a need for a policy framework that turns municipalities into a generator of development.
Three key matters that are reflected as chained challenges for municipalities for a decade now:
1. Legislation ambiguities and duality are preventing stability and services in municipalities
o According to the evaluations, there are 52 Laws that provide obligations for municipalities. As a result, many of these municipalities face serious problems in implementation.
o The sectorial laws are gradually taking off the Basic Law of Local Self-Governance, thus creating uncertainties for municipalities in implementation.
o This situation has created many addresses for accountability and has caused major problems for Municipal Mayors.
2. The Lack of Sustainable Financing – Weak capacities in planning;
o The KLGI Institute has found evidence that the current formula of municipal financing does not guarantee qualitative services and sustainable development.
o Specific grants, such as the grant on education and healthcare, have a formula that does not respond to the context and real problems of municipalities.
o The financial tools in the discretion of the ministries which are almost approximate to the total grant (over 170 million EUR) do not have clear distribution criteria. As a result, these tools provide insufficient investments and unequal development.
o In 2016, it was necessary to distribute a correctional contingent of the formula of financing to for 14 municipalities with under 22,000 residents. Hence, due to the lack of sustainable financing, these municipalities endanger service delivery.
3. Reform: Administration, efficiency and elections
o There are three laws of Administration reform that need to pass in order to regulate equality in titles, salaries and work advancement. The principle is simple: the same salary for the same work;
o There have been around 8,000 titles; now there are 1,700;
o There are cases when municipal officials with the same duties have different coefficients and salaries; these differences are seen within the municipality and between the municipalities;
o It is necessary to launch integrated services that avoid numerous obstacles and procedures which prevent development. This comes as a mechanism that turns the administration into a generator of development, not an obstacle of it;
o Strengthened inter-municipal cooperation, as well the coordination on a developing agenda between the Assembly and the Executive is a key to success;
o After a prolonged process, Kosovo needs to initiate the debate on election reform. This comes due to the serious constraint of this election process.
Hence, a comprehensive functional analysis on reform has become a necessity. This comes not only as a statement, but also as a mechanism to increase the credentials of a functional and democratic state. Simultaneously, this should come as a guideline for aspiration towards the European family, by strengthening the foundations of this model at the local level. Based on these three pillars, the KLGI Institute, with the support of the Royal Norwegian Government, will begin a three-year project ‘Support for Stronger and Sustainable Municipalities’ which aims to strengthen municipalities and establish mechanisms that increase the stability of local government.
‘The Local Democracy Award’ is a form of appreciation in recognition of the outstanding contribution and devotion that certain personalities have provided in the field of local governance and democracy.
§ The link of citizens with municipalities;
§ Constant demant for accountability and increased transparency;
§ Increase of public trust in the municipal institutions;
To conclude, I would to express my appreciation for all of our accomplishments. I continue to state that the Local Government has many great challenges, but not impassable. Therefore, let us look forward, since there is a lot of work to be done. I would like to see this kind of diligence in other initiatives as well.