From 2-3 February 2015, in Tirana, Albania, NALAS organized the workshop “LGAs of Rural Communities Challenged by Territorial Reforms”, with participation of NALAS President, First Vice-President and LGAs that represent smaller and rural communities.
Financial crisis often inspire governments to question the efficiency of the public sector. The size and the number of local government units may be reconsidered weighing the cost of the system and the benefit it produces in terms of accessibility to public services, the direct participatory democracy, etc. This is the case especially with countries where the size of the units of local governments is relatively small and hence the total number of units is relatively high. In SEE, such is the case with Albania, Romania, Croatia and Moldova. Furthermore the first three countries have Associations which gather smaller, rural communities. These associations may be the most affected by such territorial reform processes.
The Albanian Government has recently adopted a new law on territorial reform abolishing the existence of rural communes and decreasing the total number of units of local government from 12 regions, 65 municipalities (urban) and 309 communes (rural) into 12 regions, 61 municipalities (urban) and 0 communes (rural). The reform obviously affects especially the NALAS member Albanian Association of Communes, who requested the assistance of the Network in dealing with the new situation, which also affects Association’s existence.
The workshop and the series of meetings helped AAC in shaping its actions after the territorial and administrative reform, but also discussed lessons learned and provided recommendations for other members who might face such process in the future.