”Even if the EU accession may seem a way ahead, the experience of other countries has shown that it is never too early to start the preparation of local authorities, knowing that more than half of the EU acquis has a direct or an indirect influence on the agenda of a typical local council in a EU member state. It is clear that both Associations of Municipalities and Cities in BiH have a very important role to play towards local governments. They must provide quality services to their members and be their voices for policy reforms. In the process of the EU accession, it will be even more important to have strong and competent AMCs. This will be in the benefit of all citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who will receive better services and benefit from improved living conditions”, stated Dimka Stantchev Skeie, Head of Governance Domain at the Swiss Embassy in BiH at the Conference "Impact of the EU Accession Process on Local Self-Government Units in Bosnia and Herzegovina" held in Sarajevo today.
This was an excellent platform to introduce the role and future steps of the Associations of Municipalities and Cities in the process of accession to the European Union to the representatives of the relevant institutions and organizations, responsible for these topics. The conference also presented an analysis of the impact of the EU accession process on local government units in the areas of Public Procurement, Employment and Social Protection, Regional Policy and Structural Instruments, Rural Development, Environment and Utilities. The experiences and activities of local authorities in the preparation for EU accession processes from Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia were also presented.
The accession is not only about EU funds; it will bring many other responsibilities and opportunities for the local level, whether directly from the EU acquis or through resulting (and already ongoing) changes in state and entity legislation and practices.
This conference has been organized within the project "Strengthening the Capacity of the Association of Municipalities and Cities in BiH", implemented by the Association of Municipalities and Cities of Republika Srpska and the Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of BiH. This project is co-financed by the Governments of Switzerland and Sweden, and facilitated by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR).