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ZELS hosted four PhD candidates from Poland, Argentina and Italy within the LoGov project
6 септември 2019
 

 

The Association of the Units of Local Self-Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, within the LoGov project, in the period April - August this year, hosted two PhD candidates from Poland, one PhD candidate from Argentina and one PhD candidate from Italy. Each of them, for a period of thirty days, had the opportunity to follow daily the activities of ZELS and expand its scientific knowledge on the organization of local government in our country, the process of decentralization and the experiences of its implementation. They had the opportunity to participate in workshops, trainings and conferences organized by ZELS during this period, and some of them also visited certain municipalities. This study visit had mutual benefits, so the PhD candidates had the opportunity to present in front of the ZELS Professional Service and part of the municipal administration the models of organization and citizen participation in local policy-making processes and local decision-making processes, which are being implemented in their countries.

Marcin Sokolowski and Karolina Zbytniewska from the University of Warsaw, exploring different topics on participatory participation and local government structure, shared the experiences of participatory budget organization in local government in their country. They also spoke about the experiences of the process of transformation of the local government in the period of their country's preparations for EU membership. The changes that were made after the country joined the European family were also highlighted. The Polish tool for citizens' budget participation works in the way that special funds are allocated to the municipal budget in order to realize local investments. Citizens of the municipality decide on these investments, going through a process of consultations for realization, and which is agreed by the local government. Inhabitants of the municipality decide on these investments, going through a process of consultations, but the local authorities should also give their consent for realization of these investments. One of the goals of the transformation in Poland on the road to EU membership has been the decentralization of power and administration, in order to better absorb the structural funds aimed at reducing the differences in the economic development of the country. With the administrative reform of 1999, Poland has made a three-level territorial organization of the state (16 “provinces (voivodeships)” at regional level/equivalent to NUTS2/, 380 municipalities at sub-regional level, including 66 cities on municipal level), with 314 non-municipal units and 2.478 municipalities. In total, 304 are urban, 611 are urban-rural and 1563 are rural communes. With its three-level administrative organization, Poland is one of the 11 EU countries with such a complex territorial structure.

Elisabeth Alber from the Italian European Research Institute in Bolzano also spoke on the topic of local government structures, presenting a comparative study with examples from other Western Balkan countries.

Argentina, although politically and administratively decentralized, still has a strong fiscal centralization

Juan Negri, a PhD candidate from the National University of San Martín (UNSAM), who works on topics of fiscal decentralization, spoke for the Argentina's federal structure, which consists of 23 districts (known as provinces) and the separate unit - the City of Buenos Aires. Argentina has three levels of government: federal, provincial (state) and local level, i.e. 23 provinces and one federal district (Buenos Aires) with important political, fiscal and administrative capacities, as well as 612 municipalities with different asymmetric levels of autonomy, because each province determines how much autonomy local governments can have on its territory. Each of the Argentina’s provinces has its own constitution, laws, authorizations and forms of governance, which must be in accordance with national constitution and federal law. The government of each province has three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. The executive branch is governed by a governor, while the province's legislative branch can be organized in two-level or one-level formats. Each province, with the exception of Buenos Aires Province, is divided into administrative units, which are divided into municipalities. Juan Negri explained that although Argentina is politically and administratively decentralized, fiscally it is still centralized, i.e. the central government distributes federal funds to the provinces.

What is “LoGov”?

The LoGov project encompasses researches aimed at providing best practices for local governments related to the impact of increased urban-rural division and changing relations between local governments and other levels of government. This three-year project will identify best practices and share them to initiate their effective implementation to overcome this challenge. ZELS is one of the 10 partners of the Project Consortium and the additional eight beneficiaries of the program activities of the project “Local Self-Government and Changing Urban-Rural Relations – LoGov”, which is supported through the EU financial instrument “Horizon 2020”. This is the largest EU research and innovation program, in the part of the sub-program “Mari Sklodovska-Kiri - research and innovation for personnel exchange”. LoGov encompasses comprehensive training activities and dissemination, communication and networking events that provide complementary opportunities to improve research skills and knowledge, develop new transferable skills, and raise academic and non-academic profiles, all of which will significantly contribute to the realization of individual potential and improving their career perspectives.



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