Meeting with President of Congress of Local and Regional Authorities Anders Knape
Belarus hopes to develop contacts with the Council of Europe in local governance, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe Anders Knape on 29 April.
The head of state emphasized that Belarus has its vision on the development of local governance. “Of course, we will make progress towards higher independence of local authorities,” the president said. “Belarus could use many good practices of yours. I think that close contacts between local authorities and corresponding agencies of the European Union would be an efficient tool in the fulfillment of these plans.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko said that he had already discussed the development of local government with former president of the congress Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom. The president remarked that it is a pleasure for him to discuss this topic again with a person having such a solid experience in local governance. “I think that your today’s visit to Belarus will give a new impetus to our cooperation with the European region as far as the development of local and regional governance is concerned,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said addressing the president of the congress.
Anders Knape, in turn, believes that his first five-day visit to Belarus is a productive one. In his words, the congress is pleased to see the interest of the Belarusian government in the development of local governance. “Belarus has always been and still is of interest for the Council of Europe and our congress in terms of cooperation. I’ve got very good impressions of the environment, meetings with government members, local and regional authorities, businessmen during the first two days of my visit,” Anders Knape said.
It was mentioned during the meeting that Belarus has built an efficient system of regional governance. It is aimed at, first of all, improving living standards in the country in general and especially in regions, small populated areas. Local governance, especially councils of deputies of all levels and proactive citizens, plays an important role in this process. The participants of the meeting pointed out the need to increase the role of these councils and citizens in local governance, to make the work more efficient.
The president of the congress expressed readiness to assist Belarus in the development of local governance, particularly, in the training of specialists who can establish constructive dialogue with central authorities at the local level. The proposal was supported by the Belarusian government. Belarus sees good prospects in the development of cooperation with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and wants to use the best practices of other countries if they comply with the national interests of the country.