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NALAS President, Mayor Emanuil Manolov: “We need to perceive the crisis also as an opportunity to improve local services and boost local development in long term”

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“Looking ahead, we need to perceive the crisis also as an opportunity to improve local services and boost local development in long term. Efforts must now focus on the recovery of our communities and economies. At the same time recovery should not be an aim in itself, but also provide for sustainable development and active policies.

Now, more than ever we need real vertical and horizontal cooperation, coordination and consultation between levels of government, to prevent overlapping activities and to minimize the risk of fragmented responses.

Local Government Associations play a key role in the coordination and cooperation across levels of government and therefore have an irreplaceable position in the response to the pandemic and in planning and implementing the social and economic recovery. They must be supported in these challenging tasks”.

These were some of the key points shared by NALAS President, Mayor Emanuil Manolov, as part of the Panel discussion "Potentials and challenges in the development of local self-government in the next decade", organised today as part of the final session of the 48th regular General Assembly of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities – National Association of Local Authorities in Serbia.

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Mr. Manolov referred to the findings of NALAS’ Study: South-East European Local Governments in the Post COVID-19 socio-economic recovery that looks at the impact of COVID-19 crisis in local governments in South East Europe, highlighting two important points: 1) the dramatic impact of the crisis to local finances and 2) the importance of cross-border cooperation in coping with the crisis by searching for the best solutions.

“Lessons learned and shared experience can help SEE local governments in coping with future crisis. It is our responsibility as a regional network to document this knowledge and create opportunities for effective exchange. Similarly, we also need to develop policy recommendations and support advocacy efforts of our national local government associations”, said Mr. Manolov.

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The Panel discussion "Potentials and challenges in the development of local self-government in the next decade", also included valuable inputs from Ms. Marija Obradović, Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government of Serbia, Mr.  Antonio Ratković, Mayor of the City of Sombor, President of SCTM and NALAS Vice-President, Mr. Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), Mr. Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and Mr. Saša Mogić, Deputy Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government of Serbia.

“Although we have a difficult year behind us, and we know that the upcoming one will be full of challenges, I believe that by joint efforts we can overcome the difficulties, and one of the ways to do so is our cooperation through the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities. Therefore, I call the members and partners of our organisation to continue our good cooperation in the upcoming year too”, concluded Mr.  Antonio Ratković, Mayor of the City of Sombor, President of SCTM and NALAS Vice-President.

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