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Opinions & Interviews

29 Apr 2019

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities eager to step up dialogue with Belarus

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities eager to step up dialogue with Belarus

MINSK, 29 April (BelTA) – The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe is intent on continuing and stepping up its dialogue with Belarus. President of the Congress Anders Knape made the relevant statement after meeting with Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 29 April, BelTA has learned.

Anders Knape noted that during the meeting both sides agreed it is very important to advance cooperation between the Council of Europe, the congress, and Belarus. The possibility of amendments to Belarusian laws on local self-government was discussed taking into account the progressive experience of other European countries. “It is not a fast process. We don’t have answers to all questions. But we can learn from each other, we can share experience. As a politician with a certain track record of working in local self-governance bodies for over 40 years I can say that a successful society stems from powerful local self-government bodies. It is the cornerstone of its development,” Anders Knape said.

In his words, close attention should be paid to enhancing the local self-government bodies not only from the point of view of citizens’ access to them but also from the point of view of establishing greater trust of citizens in the representatives they elect.

Anders Knape stressed that while in Belarus he had already been able to get familiar with the work of local self-government bodies. In particular, he has been to Zhodino where he met with top officials of the Zhodino City Council of Deputies and the Zhodino City Executive Committee. Anders Knape mentioned their effectiveness and readiness to work for the benefit of their regions and cities.

While in Belarus Anders Knape is also expected to take part in a roundtable session on topical aspects of local self-government within the framework of the Council on interaction of local self-government bodies under the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus. On 30 April the delegation of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe is expected to attend a session of the Council on interaction of local self-government bodies.

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