Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Milovanovich says decentralization is Macedonia's main challenge

The successful completion of the decentralization process was and still is one of the main challenges in implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement.

US Ambassador to Macedonia, Gillian Milovanovich, said this at the third session of the General Assembly of the Association of the Local Self-Government Units (ZELS).

"A significant progress has been made in the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement over the past year and a half, which is very good news in terms of Macedonia's aspirations for NATO and EU membership. One can rightly expect such accomplishments to be rewarded in the future", Milovanovich said.

According to the US Ambassador, the municipalities have to find a way to increase their economic growth. In that sense, Milovanovich underscored the importance of transferring the competence on the count ruction land from central to local authorities.

Ralf Andreas Brett, the German Ambassador to Macedonia briefed that he is keeping close cooperation with large number of municipalities and mayors.

"Decentralization is a long and complicated process, requiring persistence and strong cooperation between the local and central authorities", Brett said.

Presenting the activities of the Steering Board, ZELS's President Andrej Petrov pointed out that "all problems have to be solved through a permanent dialogue between the central and local authorities".

Petrov expressed concerns over the government move to cut taxes, arguing it is likely to have a grave impact on the municipalities' revenues.

"Alterations to the Law on Construction Land is of paramount priority", Petrov said, urging for prompt transfer of competitions over the construction land.

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