Belarus is interested in the experience of the Council of Europe in local self-government, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom in Minsk on 11 September.
“Local self-government, regional government is a very important topic in today's world. The fact that the Council of Europe devotes a lot of attention to this speaks volumes. We would like to learn more about your experience in this field, and therefore we work closely with the congress,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
Alexander Lukashenko noted that the roundtable, which will be held in the Council of the Republic, will bring some benefits not only to Belarus but also to the whole Europe as well as the congress itself. The Belarusian president thanked Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom for the opportunity to hold such an event in Minsk. “I would like to assure you that we will our utmost to make sure it is a success,” the Belarusian leader said.
The head of state pointed out that Belarus has experience of interregional cooperation with Russia, Ukraine, Baltic countries, within the framework of cross-border programs. “We are gearing up for two major events in the autumn. In October we will host a meeting of the heads of regions of Russia [the Forum of Regions of Russia and Belarus] and then, at the end of the month, the Forum of Regions of Belarus and Ukraine. I would like to take this opportunity and invite you to attend this events, should your schedule allow. You will see the tangible results of regional cooperation,” the president said. He added that he was ready to discuss the issues that the president of the congress has.
For her part, Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom noted that the roundtable is only the beginning of cooperation in local self-government. She emphasized the openness of the interaction between the parties, and noted that there are a lot of things to learn from each other.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is an institution of the Council of Europe that represents local and regional authorities of European states. The Congress is made up of two chambers: the Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions. The Council on Local Self-Government Cooperation at the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus has a status of an invited observer in the Congress.
The Council of the Republic and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities are holding a roundtable in Minsk on 11-12 September to discuss the pressing issues of local self-government. Attending the event are representatives of the congress from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Greece, and Romania. The delegation is led by President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom.