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Dear Deputy Minister Mrs Kuko,
Dear Head of the Tirana Regional Council Mr Dalipi,
Dear Deputy Ministers,
I am very pleased to be invited today in this important forum where you discuss, since the establishment of the Consultative Council the policies, laws and decisions that affect the local level of Government.
The EU sees this institutional mechanism for consultation between levels of governance as a unique and fruitful opportunity for dialogue.
But why is this important?
All stakeholders having their say gives a higher chance for better decisions to be taken, decisions that have a direct and very real impact on the lives of ordinary citizens.
We are more and more attentive to local governance and in particular to the role that local governments play in the country's EU integration process. Let us not forget that most of the EU acquis is implemented at local level.
When the Ministry of Interior approached us with the idea of conducting a study to collect and clarify the current legal responsibilities and competences of the local (both regional and municipal) and central governments, we did not hesitate.
This exercise is very timely as the Government recently undertook a mid-term review of the decentralisation strategy and is currently revising the related action plan.
During the last six months the Urban Research Institute has worked hard together with you and today we are able to share the study's main findings and recommendations.
Before I let Edlir do that, let me share my 'take away' from the study.
And here allow me to flag that since the decentralisation efforts of 2000, the estimated financial effect of changes in the national fiscal policies and the transfers of functions, which is not financed nor compensated to the local self-governance units, is about 8 billion LEK (65 mill EUR).