Varna report by wulinqing

VIEWS: 36 PAGES: 11

									                                                                      GT-LDW(2008)6

             EUROPEAN LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEK 2008
 Preparatory meeting for special correspondents (contact persons) of the National
                        Associations of Local Authorities
        Organised by the Council of Europe in Varna, Bulgaria, on 16-17 May 2008

                                 SUMMARY REPORT




1.     Opening of the meeting and various introductions

Mr Keith WHITMORE, Chair of the Institutional Committee of the Congress of Local
and Regional Authorities, opened the preparatory meeting for the European Local
Democracy Week by expressing thanks to the City of Varna for the kind hospitality and
excellent working arrangements offered for this meeting. The process towards the ELDW
2008 would certainly benefit from this opportunity to discuss arrangements for the
“Week” in more detail amongst representatives from different national associations. He
reminded participants of the launch of the “Week” in Valencia on 15 October 2007 and
expressed the hope that this year the ELDW would spread to a larger number of towns
and cities across the continent. The logo for the Week had been launched in Piest’any last
month and nothing should stop participating towns and cities to fit this logo on t-shirts,
posters, postcards, notepaper and whatever would be useful for visibility of the initiative

Ms Antonella CAGNOLATI, Director of the Congress, expressed her thanks on behalf
of the Congress. She noted that co-ordinators were now ready for European co-ordination
of the Week and that many partners were already very engaged in this initiative. She was
also happy to return to Varna where she had been in September last year for the
Conference on the Black Sea European Region.

Mr Kiril YORDANOV, Mayor of the City of Varna, welcomed the participants to his
City which was proud to have less than 2 % unemployment. He said that Varna fully
shared the spirit of the ELDW and that a lot of activities on the ELDW agenda were
already underway in Varna which was taking a lead in Bulgaria regarding people with
special needs and young people.

Mr Atanas STOILOV, Chairman of the Union of Bulgarian Black Sea Local
Authorities (UBBSLA), and a delegate to the Congress’ Chamber of the Regions,
considered the “Week” an important step in promoting local self-government in Europe
which in turn would be of great importance to society.

Mr Sergiu TATAROV, Vice-Minister at the Ministry of Local Public Administration of
Moldova, stated that Moldovan local authority associations and representatives attached
importance to the ELDW. He stressed that high local standards were important and that
steps were underway to fullfill the related objectives. Almost all local authorities in
Moldova were involved in the planned events. The Valencia Conference had been an
impressive point of reference in this process.

Mr Vladimir CECOT, State Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior of Slovakia,
reminded the participants that action for better local governance had been the topic of the
Council of Europe’s Conference in Piest’any, Slovakia, last month, on the occasion of the
Slovak chairmanship of the Council of Europe. The twelve principles of good governance
had been stressed at this conference and he was convinced that the Congress could play a
central role in pursuing their implementation. They could also be a source of inspiration
for this year’s ELDW.

2.             Presentation of scenarios and activities for the ELDW 2008

Mr Jos LEMMERS, Head of the Department for Democratic Participation of the
Council of Europe, provided some background information on the subject of the ELDW.
He stressed that the “Week” would be characterised by three levels of activity:
1. Most importantly, local events, organised by the local authorities in participating towns
and cities;
2. Information flows about local events throughout Europe by Internet Website of the
Council of Europe (www.coe.int/demoweek) : this site should develop into a practical
tool for information about ELDW activities throughout Europe;
3. European activities, carried out in common by all (or most) participating towns in the
ELDW, and activities by the “pilot cities” (Madrid, Brussels, Varna and Odessa).

As regards programme contents, it is suggested to focus on action around three
complementary themes:
1. Local transparency: information and involvement of citizens;
2. Local participation: how to get local people’s voices heard and especially those of the
excluded (unemployed, elderly, immigrant population);
3. Reflecting diversity in local government institutions: role of associations, advisory
councils on foreigners, etc.

Mr. Lemmers then also provided some background on past action and action underway
for this year’s “Week”:
1. 2007 was the first experience with the ELDW: it had been quite successful despite the
short time of preparation. Details can be found in the background document.
2. Action underway in 2008:
*               The logo has been produced, available on the www.coe.int/demoweek
                website;
*               The logo can be adapted to poster format according to local needs
                anywhere in Europe and applied to any format chosen by local contacts;
                The start-up kit is available on the website, providing tools and ideas for
                local activities: such ideas can be expanded with new proposals coming in
                from any of the participating towns around Europe;
*               4 pilot cities have been proposed: Madrid, Brussels, Varna and Odessa.
*              Forum on the Future of Democracy: the 4th session of this Forum will be
               held in Madrid from 15-17 October, during the ELDW. Synergies are
               expected to emerge in relation to this year’s theme: E-democracy. It
               should be stressed that the composition of the Forum will be
               “quadrilogue” with participation of Governments, Parliaments,
               Local/Regional Authorities and NGOs. The role of Local Authorities
               deserves to be highlighted in the context of this year’s ELDW and this will
               be taken into consideration in the planning of the event.
*              Last month, from 16-18 April, an international conference took place in
               Piest’any (Slovakia) where ELDW was one of the focal points. That
               meeting concluded that “the ELDW is an exciting way of bringing local
               democracy closer to citizens”.

This year’s ELDW will have a layered structure:
   •            European visibility level: 4 pilot cities;
   •            National Associations of Local Authorities;
   •            ELDW participants: as many towns/cities as possible;
   •            Involvement of capital cities: the role of EU capital cities is being
                discussed and their current chair, Dublin, is keen to spread this idea.

Finally, links can also be established between participating towns and several relevant
CoE structures concerned with aspects of the ELDW agenda:
   •               ECRI (European Centre on Racism and Intolerance)
   •               Intercultural cities programme (note attached)
   •               North-South Centre (global links of towns today)
   •               European Youth Forum (also interested to promote youth involvement
                   in the “Week”)

Subsequently the four pilot cities presented their perspectives for the “Week”. Brussels
and Varna presented detailed outlines of their intentions, whilst Madrid and Odessa
announced their intentions and commitment, pending further details. Information on the
presentations by Brussels and Varna is attached to this report and is also available on the
internet site (www.coe.int/demoweek)

3.     Working session on ELDW programme contents:

During this session participants debated openly about three themes which might be part
of the agenda in participating towns/cities during the ELDW:

               1. Local transparency: towards a transparent local authority (information
               to and involvement of citizens in local affairs, with a focus on
               disadvantaged groups; introducing participatory budgets: your money,
               your voice)

Mr Mladen IVANOVIC of the Union of Associations of Towns and Municipalities
(Croatia) opened the debate with a short introduction. He noted that local democracy in
Croatia was in a process of transition which involved changing people’s minds towards
more transparent local governance. Such new governance would move beyond elections
towards participatory democracy. He then noted that, if every country had its own forms
of corruption, local government was more prone to corruption because of its comparative
invisibility and lack of transparency. Increasing and improving local transparency was a
permanent task and process. The ELDW represented a good opportunity to pay special
attention to this issue of increased transparency in local government.

Ms Antonella CAGNOLATI commented that transparency was demanded everywhere
and she suggested that may be one country could organise a meeting with young people
on transparency as a contribution to the ELDW. This possibility should be explored.

Mr Keith WHITMORE expressed his dismay over current procedures in the United
Kingdom where local councillors were hindered in expressing their point of view on
certain local situations due to restrictive legislation. Admittedly the aim of such
legislation was to protect local communities against excesses, but the legislation had gone
too far and could be counter-productive in certain cases, affecting representative
functions that should serve the public interest. It would be useful to compare such
practices between different countries to find more adequate solutions to the problems of
local corruption.

               2. Local participation: how to get people’s voices heard (consultations,
               referendum)? How to include the excluded (unemployed, elderly,
               immigrants)?

Mr Marc THOULEN of the Association of the City and the Municipalities of the
Brussels Capital Region, mentioned that consultation procedures exist, but that often
local lobbying would get involved with the risk of overshadowing debates that should
have been in the public interest. The end-result might be contrary to that same public
interest. In his view it was becoming a full-time job to include the excluded and to
organise proper participation in local democracy. It was essential to provide training to
the poor, often uneducated persons to highlight their hidden potential. As an example of
good practices he mentioned action to welcome citizens to their town halls to learn more
about local democracy and stimulate public involvement.

Mr Keith WHITMORE raised the question how public consultation could best be
organised, quoting referendums as one example.

Ms Mariana KANCHEVA argued in favour of more public participation, but noted that
often in practice public participation would be quite limited. What could be done to
overcome such contradictions?

In the debate that followed the point was made that the public has to get used to its
opinion being asked. Getting people involved in local democracy required stimulation
measures which would obviously differ according to local history and practices. The
public transport issue was mentioned as an example: public investments were obviously
needed for this, but referendums could in fact block new public investments! Such
dilemmas needed to be examined to improve local democracy and protect the public
interest. The point was also made that often citizens were not consulted at all.
Participation was considered of great importance and links with local
citizens’associations were considered a useful tool for this purpose. No top-down
procedures should be imposed, but flexible two-way processes should be developed to
enhance dialogue between those governing and those governed. For example local
authorities might work together with citizens’ associstions to carry out surveys to seek
people’s opinions on questions of local interest. It would also be positive to get citizens
somehow involved in planning processes. In this context reference was also made to
measures that were taken by local authorities but which were never finalised: as one
example the Zagreb stadium was mentioned.

               3. Reflecting diversity in local government institutions : what role for
               associations, foreigners’ advisory councils, consultative committees…

On this subject Ms Mariana KANCHEVA made a brief introduction. She stated that
building bridges across diversity lines in local institutions was often a delicate process.
She pointed out that in Bulgaria there are nine regular associations of local authorities.
Several attemps have been undertaken to create networks of towns. Varna was ready to
act as an active supporter of this cause, but it was not always easy to find commensurate
response.

Ms Diana KANEVA of the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of
Bulgaria (NAMRB), mentioned that 264 municipalities were involved in the national
association. She announced that the ELDW will be applied widely by towns in its
membership. It is expected that some events will attract close to 1600 participants.

Ms Antonella CAGNOLATI called upon municipalities and their associations to make
available information on their respective calendars of events for use by the secretariat and
to serve for information to all those wishing to consult the website of the “Week”.

In the subsequent discussions the following points were put forward:
*              All national Associations of Local Authorities should be asked to present
               ideas for the ELDW and to share their good ideas for action and good co-
               ordination;
*              It was considered to be essential to make available the names of national
               co-ordinators for the “Week”;
*              The website for the “Week” should be made more visible and accessible in
               the context of the Council of Europe’s website;
*              The Calendar for the “Week” should also be visible on the Council of
               Europe’s general calendar of events;
*              National co-ordinators should be asked to provide information on their
               national (local) events for the European calendar;
*              National Associations should also indicate their wishes for the presence of
               speakers (from the Congress or the CoE) at their own events;
*             The Council of Europe would be willing to contribute to the general
              process of the “Week” with members of its staff;
*             A focused meeting of the “pilot cities” was considered indispensable to
              take the process further, possibly to take place in Madrid subject to
              consultation between the partners concerned;

The chairman, Mr Keith WHITMORE, stated that another focused working group
meeting, involving the CDLR and the Congress, would probably be needed to take the
general process of the ELDW further, before the summer recess. It might be possible to
integrate such a working group meeting with the proposed joint preparatory meeting of
the pilot cities in Madrid. Possibilities will be examined.

                        *******************************
                                      APPENDIX 1

                               LIST OF PARTICIPANTS


REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CONGRESS
Mr Keith WHITMORE, President of the Institutional Committee, Member, Manchester
Metropolitan City Council
Tel: (44) 161 234 3002 - Fax: (44) 161 234 3296 -
E-mail: cllr.k.whitmore@notes.manchester. gov.uk

CONGRESS SECRETARIAT
Mrs Antonella CAGNOLATI, Director
Tel: (33) 3 88 41 21 07 - Fax: (33) 3 88 41 37 47 - E-mail: antonella.cagnolati@coe.int
Mrs Lilit NIKOGHOSYAN; Co-secretary of the Institutional Committee.
Tel: (33) 3 88 41 35 04 - Fax: (33) 3 88 41 37 47 - E-mail: lilit.nikoghosyan@coe.int

REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS OF LOCAL
AUTHORITIES
Azerbaijan
Mr Gadir KHALILOV, Secretary of Azerbaijan National Delegation – Congress of Local
and Regional Authorities – Tel/Fax: (99 412) 596 34 08 – Mobile: (99 455) 277 77 60 –
E-mail: gadirkhalilov@yahoo.com

Belgium
Mr Marc THOULEN, Director - Association of the City and the Municipalities of the
Brussels Capital Region - Tel: (32) 2 238 51 40 - Fax: (32) 2 280 60 90 -
E-mail: Marc.Thoulen@avcb-vsgb.be

Bulgaria
Mrs Diana KANEVA - National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of
Bulgaria (NAMRB) – Golash str. – Sofia – Tel: (3592) 943 44 68 - E-mail:
d.kaneva@namrb.bg

Croatia
Mr Mladen IVANOVIC - Legal Advisor - Union of Association of Towns and
Association of Municipalities - Hrgovici 59, 10000 Zagreb - Tel: +385 1 3689 150; 3637
150 - Fax: +385 1 3637 116 - E-mail: mladen.ivanovic@savez-gradova-opcina-rh.hr
Web: http://www.savez-gradova-opcina-rh.hr

Mr Branko BOSNJAK (Correspondant for the ELDW) - Local Democracy Academy -
ALD, Vlaška 126, 10 000 Zagreb - Tel: 00385 99 5391 441 - E-mail: bbosnjak@ald.hr
Greece
Mrs Filia PATTAKOU - Department of development programmes and relations with
international organisations - Ministry of Interior - Stadiou 27, 10183 Athens –
Tel! (30) 210 3744 396 - E-mail: international@ypes.gr

Spain
Ms Vesna GARCIA RIDJANOVIC, secretary of the Spanish delegation of the CLRAE
and responsible for the European Affairs at the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and
Provinces, C/ Nuncio 8 , CP 28005, Madrid E-mail: vgarcia@femp.es
http://www.femp.es


Ukraine
Ms. Nataliya LAZARENKO - Deputy Head of International Policy Department -
Association of Ukrainian Cities and Communities - Esplanadna str, 4, r.711, Kyiv, 01001
- Tel: +380442877050 - E-mail: for_natalie@yahoo.com, lazarenko@auc.org.ua

Central and Eastern European Citizens Network (CEECN)
Mr Chuck HIRT, Director – Kapitulska 13 – 97401 Banska Bystrica – Slovak Republic -
Tel: +421 905 654 212 – E-mail: chuck@ceecn.net


REPRESENTATIVES FROM LOCAL AUTHORITIES
Mrs Mariana KANCHEVA IVANOVA, Executive Director, Union of Bulgarian Black
Sea Local Authorities (UBBSLA), P.O. Box 161, BG - Varna 9000 -
Tel/fax: (359 52) 600 266 or (359 52) 611 811 - Mobile (359 888) 601 500
E-mail: office@ubbsla.org or mariana@ubbsla.org - http://www.ubbsla.org

Mrs Mariela PETROVA (Correspondant for the ELDW), Executive Director – RAM
“Central Stara planina” (BG) - 5300 Gabrovo, 9 Opalchenska str. - Tel: +359 66 804 613
- Fax: +359 66 804 643 - E-mail: rso-csp@mbox.contact.bg

Mr Kiril YORDANOV, Mayor of the City of Varna, Bulgaria

Mr Borislav GUTSANOV, Chairman of the Varna City Council, Bulgaria

Mr Nedelcho MIHAYLOV, Vice Chairman of Varna City Council

Mr Atanas STOILOV, Chairman of the Union of Bulgarian Black Sea Local Authorities,
Delegate of the Congress of the local and regional authorities of the Council of Europe,
Chamber of the Regions, Bulgaria

Mr Petar RADUSHEV, Director of the Directorate “International cooperation, projects
and programmes”, Varna municipality, Bulgaria

Mrs. Maya IVANOVA, Head of the Unit “European programs and projects”, Varna
Municipality
Mr Ilian TSONEV - Union of Bulgarian Black Sea Local Authorities (UBBSLA), P.O.
Box 161, BG - Varna 9000 - Tel/fax: (359 52) 600 266 or (359 52) 611 811 - Mobile
(359 888) 319 803 - E-mail: office@ubbsla.org or ilko.tsonev@mail.bg -
http://www.ubbsla.org


REPRESENTATIVES OF MEMBER STATES
Mr Lyubomir KYUCHUKOV, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bulgaria.
Mr Vladimir CECOT – State Secretary of Ministry of Interior - Pribinova 2 - 812 72
Bratislava – Tel: 00 421 2 509 44 198 – E-mail: fillova@minv.sk

Mrs Silvia SLAVCEVOVA - Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic - Pribinova 2 -
812 72 Bratislava - Tel: 00 421 2 4859 3802 - E-mail: Silvia.Slavcevova@mvsr.vs.sk

Mr Sergiu TATAROV– Vice Minister – Ministry of Local Public Administration -
MD2033, Piata Marei Adunari Nationale 1, Casa Guvernului, of 449, Chisinau, Moldova
–             Tel:+373 22 200172 – E-mail: sergiu.tatarov@mapl.gov.md

Mr Adrian DUCA - Head of Unite responsible for Relations with Local Public Autorities
- Ministry of Local Public Administration - MD2033, Piata Marei Adunari Nationale 1,
Casa Guvernului, of 449, Chisinau, Moldova – Tel:+373 22 200187 -
E-mail: adrian.duca@mapl.gov.md

DIRECTORATE GENERAL OF DEMOCRACY AND POLITICAL AFFAIRS –
SECRETARIAT
Mr Jos Lemmers, Head of the Department for Democratic Participation
Tel: (33) 3 88 41 21 44 - Fax: (33) 3 88 41 52 92 - E-mail: jos.lemmers@coe.int

Mrs Olivia STASI, Assistant - Department for Democratic Participation
Tel: (33) 3 3 88 41 27 35 - Fax: (33) 3 88 41 52 92 - E-mail: olivia.stasi@coe.int
                                        APPENDIX 2

               EUROPEAN LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEK 2008
   Preparatory meeting for special correspondents (contact persons) of the National
          Associations of Local Authorities, Varna, Bulgaria, 16-17 May 2008

                                       PROGRAMME


Thursday 15 May:
Arrival of participants and transfer from Varna airport to hotel Imperial

Friday 16 May:
08.00 - 09 h30.h Breakfast at Hotel Imperial

09.30 – 10.00 h Press conference for the Varna local, regional and national media
                (Mayor of Varna, Chairman of Varna City Council, Chairman of UBBSLA,
                Director of the Congress, Chair of the Institutional Committee of the Congress
                of Local and Regional Authorities)

10.00 – 10.45 h. Opening of the meeting by Keith WHITMORE, Chair of the Institutional
                 Committee of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, and
                 various introductions:
                 *      Mrs Antonella CAGNOLATI, Director of the Congress
                 *      Mr Kiril YORDANOV, Mayor of the City of Varna
                 *      Mr Borislav GUTSANOV, Chairman of Varna City Council
                 *      Mr Atanas STOILOV, Chairman of the UBBSLA, Delegate of the
                        Congress of the Local and Regional authorities of the Council of
                        Europe, Chamber of the regions
                 *      Mr. Lyubomir KYUCHUKOV, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign
                        Affairs, Bulgaria
                 *      Mr Sergiu TATAROV, Vice Minister, Ministry of Local Public
                        Administration of Moldova
                 *      Mr Vladimir CECOT – State Secretary of Ministry of Interior of
                        the Slovak Republic

 10.45 – 12.30h         Presentation of various scenarios and possible activities for the
                        European Local Democracy Week:
              *       Jos Lemmers, Head of the Department for Democratic
                      Participation, Council of Europe
              *       Representatives of the “Pilot cities” for the ELDW 2008:
                      Brussels – Mr Marc THOULEN
                      Madrid – Mrs Vesna GARCIA RIJDANOVIC
                      Odessa – Mrs Nataliya LAZARENKO
                      Varna – Mr Petar RADUSHEV

12.30 – 14.00 h.      Lunch, Restaurant Imperial

14 – 16 h.    Working sessions on ELDW programme contents:
              1. Local transparency: towards a transparent local authority (information
              to and involvement of citizens in local affairs, with a focus on
              disadvantaged groups; introducing participatory budgets: your money,
              your voice)
              2. Local participation: how to get people’s voices heard (consultations,
              referendum)? How to include the excluded (unemployed, elderly,
              immigrants)?
              3. Reflecting diversity in local government institutions : what role for
              associations, foreigners’ advisory councils, consultative committees…

16 – 16h30    Coffee break, lobby bar “Imperial”

16h30 – 18 h. Plenary session on ELDW programming (Europe-wide coordination and
              local scenarios)
19h30         Reception, Imperial cafe Garden
              Hosted by the Chairman of Varna City Council

Saturday 17 May:

Informal consultations with national associations

Social event – excursion:

   •   trip to Nessebar (UNESCO world heritage site – see http://www.nessebar.net - a
       town with a rich past combining Greek, Roman and Byzantine roots)
   •   wine tasting on Saturday evening

Sunday 18 May:

Departure of participants via Varna

								
To top