Prime Minister Thaçi: The strategic goal of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo is creating a sustainable and effective system of local self-governance in the entire territory of the Republic of Kosovo
The Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi participated in the third international conference on local self-government on the topic: Strengthening Local Self-Government by Promoting European Values, in which representatives of Kosovo municipalities, and senior local and international figures participated.
The following is the full speech given by Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi at this conference on local government.
Honorable Deputy Prime Minister Petrovic
Honorable Mr. Zbogar
Honorable US Ambassador, Jacobson
Honorable participants from regional countries
Honorable deputy prime ministers
In the beginning, let me welcome you to this third international conference on local government. This is the first conference since the conclusion of the supervision of independence. This indicates that we are committed to continuing implementing all necessary reforms which derive from our commitments and pledges made for the building of a new, European, democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo.
Regional cooperation and good relations with neighboring states are fundamental European principles. Therefore, I would like to thank the Minister of Local Government Administration for organizing this important conference which promotes the exchange of ideas and best practices in local government, including lessons learned from decentralization in the country and region.
So, on Monday, the Republic of Kosovo successfully concluded the supervision of independence. The successful conclusion of this process was of great historic importance especially for the Republic of Kosovo, as a new state, built on the basis of multi-ethnicity, and the maximum respect and guarantees of rights to all communities living in Kosovo.
An indivisible part of the multi-ethnic state-building project and our vision of integrating communities since then has been decentralization, which achieved its goal of the participation of citizens in decision-making, which is a fundamental element of democracy.
Since 2008, the reform process in local government and decentralization in Kosovo involved the approval of new laws and the review of existing ones, creating new municipalities, delegating sector competences, reforming the system of local financing, and building capacities for effective local self-government.
At the end of August, we held a final meeting of the Working Group on Decentralization. All present, including our international partners, evaluated it as one of the successes of Kosovos state-building.
The strategic goal of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo was the creation of a sustainable and effective system of local self-government in the entire territory of the Republic of Kosovo. Now that we have created a solid system of local self-government, we have managed to secure good living conditions for all our citizens, but we can improve further by building capacities and human resources, financing infrastructure projects, as well as coordinating with external and internal donors.
Nevertheless, in this process we are aware that we have other challenges - the creation of the municipality of northern Mitrovica. But I trust that this municipality will be created quickly based on the success of the integration especially of the Serb community in the south, as well as other communities in general.
Another challenge we must address in the future is the cultivation and development of institutional relations with Serb citizens in the north.
Therefore, the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, in May of this year, opened the Northern Mitrovica Administrative Office. This Office is committed to offering all the public services that a municipality provides, improving the quality of life of citizens in the north of Mitrovica, in a transparent and very responsible manner.
Now, this Office is linked to various ministries and offers basic documents, registration and necessary local services for daily life. This Office opened its doors on July 16 and doesnt just offer municipal services to citizens, but it also ensures that the principle of decentralization and local self-government is put into practice in this area of the Republic of Kosovo.
We have been encouraged by the great number of interested people, the majority of whom are from the Serb community, which expressed interest and readiness to lead and work for their community.
In addition, we are also encouraged by the large number of citizens who visit this Office every day for their daily needs.
Therefore, in conclusion, based on the successful example of decentralization and the creation of new municipalities in Kosovo, we can say that we have made substantial progress in improving the inter-ethnic climate and integrating minorities.
We have managed to help citizens decide for themselves about issues relating to local self-government. I want to emphasize once again that for all your work in local government, in the Ministry of Local Government, and all ministries linked to this issue, as well as municipal authorities, you will receive the maximum support of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo.
I thank you for your presence here today, to take on new responsibilities, in this new chapter for Kosovo, that of consolidating and strengthening the state.
We will be beside you. Thank you.