Activity Report : Events and Related Activities

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1 The Co-Chairs Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP) Activity Report : Events and Related Activities This summary reports on events organised by CORLEAP and also on conferences and political meetings where the CORLEAP members actively participated. Some of the events were noted in the CORLEAP Action Plan 1. The EaP platforms and panels are followed mostly on secretariat level. Only if the topic on agenda is of relevance for local and regional authorities and/or CORLEAP, there is a representation on member level. CORLEAP inaugural meeting on 8 September 2011, Poznań Adoption of the Recommendations to the Heads of State and Government gathering in Warsaw on September 2011 for the 2nd EaP Summit Presentation of the Vinnytsia Region of Ukraine on 15 September 2011 in the Committee of the Regions, Brussels First presentation of a region from the partner country in the Committee of the Regions within the framework of the "open door policy" suggested in CORLEAP action plan. Serhiy Tatusyak, head of the Vinnitsya regional state council, made an impressive presentation of the region's potential. Eastern Partnership Summit of Heads of State and Prime Ministers on 30 September 2011 in Warsaw (Intervention of Mercedes Bresso (IT/PES), President of the CoR) Speaking at the Heads of the State summit, President Mercedes Bresso informed about the establishment of CORLEAP, the Poznań meeting and its conclusions and underlined: "Regional and local authorities are an important link between the central administrations and the citizen." Local and Regional Dimension of Eastern Partnership - Conference organized by Polish Regions on 9 November 2011, Brussels (Participation of three CORLEAP members in the discussion panel: Mercedes Bresso (IT/PES), Luc van den Brande (BE/EPP) and Marek Wozniak (PL/EPP) High level conference hosted by the CoR under patronage of the EU Polish Presidency. Among the panelist were also: Marek Siwiec (Poland) MEP and member of the EURONEST; Dag Hartelius (Sweden) Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the EU; Borys Tarasyuk (Ukraine) Co-President of the EURONEST. The CORLEAP members introduced the results of the inaugural meeting in Poznań. 1 See p. 8 of the Action Plan: Timetable of CORLEAP related activities and proposals for action

2 Sixth meeting of the Eastern Partnership Platform 1: Democracy, Good Governance and Stability on 17 November 2011, Brussels (Intervention of Luc van den Brande (BE/EPP) Platforms are the main tool of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) multilateral track. Full participants are the EU Member States, the Partner Countries, the European Commission and the European External Action Service. In his intervention Luc van den Brande detailed how the CoR decided to create an institutional mechanism to facilitate the direct cooperation between regions from the EU and Eastern partner countries, informed about the creation of CORLEAP and summarized the conclusion of its first meeting. Meeting of the members of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities who are members of the Conference of Local and Regional Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP) on 22 March 2012, Strasbourg Presentation of the CORLEAP activities planned in 2012 by Silke Tönshoff, Head of Unit responsible for CORLEAP secretariat in the Committee of the Regions. The Congress/CORLEAP members discussed the future activities of CORLEAP. EURONEST second ordinary meeting in Baku 2-4 April 2012 (Intervention of Luc van den Brande (BE/EPP) Azerbaijan hosted the 2012 annual meeting of the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly in Baku. CORLEAP is an observer in EURONEST. Mr Van den Brande's speech was delivered the second day of the meeting, before the interventions from other observers (European Economic and Social Committee, Civil Society Forum and observers of the parliaments of the EU Troika). Presentation of Dnipropetrovsk Region (Ukraine) "Where new energy of Ukraine is pulsing!" on 12 April 2012 in the Committee of the Regions, Brussels The event was focused on presenting achievements and potential of Dnipropetrovs k oblast as an important industrial region of central Ukraine, introducing e-governance, high technologies, and modern standards of administrative services as well as implementing various projects supporting civil society. Seminar on Public Administration Reform at the Local and Regional Level for experts from the Eastern Partnership countries under the auspices of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic on May 2012, Tbilisi (Presentation of Roman Línek (CZ/EPP), member of CORLEAP) Seminar with the aims of sharing practical experience gathered by government institutions as well as local and regional authorities and NGOs of the EU Member States, EU institutions and Partner countries in the field of administration reform at the local and regional level. The conference "Local and Regional Dimension of the Eastern Partnership" on 30 May 2012 in the Committee of the Regions, Brussels Conference aimed to discuss the situation of LRA in partner countries with a focus on needs and possible solutions, and funding opportunities for local and regional authorities within the EaP framework. The CORLEAP Bureau members representing all six partner countries delivered presentation on the situation of LRA in their respective countries. The presentations were followed by discussion with experts and representatives of stakeholders (European Commission and CSF among them). CORLEAP Bureau meeting on 30 May 2012 in the Committee of the Regions, Brussels CORLEAP Bureau with the following points on its agenda: Advancing the local dimension of the EaP policy, discussion on further development of CORLEAP and its priority areas; Development of the EAP in

3 introduction to the roadmap by the European External Action Service; Discussion of Bureau members with representatives of CORLEAP permanent observers; Adoption of the CORLEAP action plan Seventh meeting of the Eastern Partnership Platform 1: Democracy, Good Governance and Stability on 7 June 2012, Brussels (Intervention of Luc van den Brande (BE/EPP), member of the CORLEAP Bureau) Platforms are the main tool of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) multilateral track. Platform 1 is the most important, political forum among the four platforms of the EaP policy. In his intervention Mr Van den Brande described the structure and role of CORLEAP in the framework of the EaP and informed the participants about the CORLEAP Bureau meeting held in Brussels on 30 May 2012 and CORLEAP plans for Eastern Partnership Ministerial Meeting on 23 July 2012, Brussels (Participation of Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso (ES/EPP), the 1 st Vice-President of the CoR) High-level meeting including a round table discussion "The Roadmap of the Eastern Partnership: a way forward towards the next EaP Summit in 2013". Annual Meeting of CORLEAP on 17 September 2012, Chisinau CORLEAP annual meeting with the following points on its agenda: Eastern Partnership: Current state of affairs and challenges; Local and regional authorities and the Eastern Partnership: What are the key issues?; The way forward: How can we promote a more active role of local and regional government in the Eastern Partnership Policy?; Q &A session: Projects at regional level in the EaP countries - opportunities for funding and lessons learned Presentation of CSF at CIVEX meeting on the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and CORLEAP on 24 September 2012, Brussels David Tumanyan, representative of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Subgroup on Local government and Public Administration Reform presented a proposal on behalf of the Civil Society Forum regarding fiscal decentralisation in the Eastern Partnership Countries. The speaker referred to the importance of fiscal decentralisation for the effective exercise of competences entrusted to sub-national authorities. He presented data, demonstrating different levels of fiscal decentralisation in the Eastern Partnership countries. The discussion referred to particular challenges faced by specific countries. Open Days seminar co-organised by CORLEAP and EURONEST on Eastern partnership territorial and parliamentary cooperation: an asset for Europe on 11 October in the Committee of the Regions, Brussels The workshop explored the ways in which the CoR (through CORLEAP) and EP (through EURONEST) could provide value added in terms of supporting dialog and beneficial interaction across the borders. Panelists were: Dorin Chirtoaca (Republic of Moldova), Mayor of Chişinău, Co-chair of CORLEAP; Asim Mollazade (Azerbaijan), Member of the Azerbaijani Parliament, Chairman of the Democratic Reforms party, Member of EURONEST; Christian Vigenin (Bulgaria/S&D), Member of the European Parliament, Co-President of EURONEST; Marek Wozniak (Poland/EPP), Marshal of the Wielkopolska region, Member of CORLEAP; Emin Yeritsyan (Armenia), President of the Union of Communities of Armenia, Member of CORLEAP Hearing on local democracy in Azerbaijan challenges and possibilities which road forward? on 13 December 2012 in Committee of the Regions in Brussels (Participation of Anar Ibrahimov, Head of Azerbaijan s delegation to the Congress of Council of Europe and member of CORLEAP) and Mr. Gordon Keymer, CoR rapporteur on Azerbaijan On 17 October 2012 the Congress of the Council of Europe adopted a monitoring report on Local and Regional democracy in Azerbaijan. Hearing discussed the perspectives of developing local democracy in Azerbaijan and

4 the role Council of Europe and EU can play to support the development of local and regional democracy in Azerbaijan. Conference on Fiscal Decentralisation in the Eastern Partnership challenges and opportunities on 14 May 2013 in the Committee of the Regions, Brussels Conference discussed the challenges and opportunities for fiscal decentralisation in the Eastern Partnership countries as a crucial element in the reform process in the Eastern Partnership countries and both CORLEAP and the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Subgroup on Local Government and Public Administration reform (CSF LGPAR) have identified Fiscal decentralisation as one of their main priorities. CORLEAP Bureau meeting on 14 May 2013 in the Committee of the Regions, Brussels CORLEAP Bureau with the following points on its agenda: Developments of the EAP in 2013 presented by the European External Action Service; Presentation of the Working Document in the Preparation of the Political Report and debate on the three main priorities (Fiscal Decentralization, Public Administration Reform, Territorial cooperation); Presentation of the draft Rules of Procedure; Presentation and Signature of the MoU with the European Training Foundation Ninth meeting of the Eastern Partnership Platform 1: Democracy, Good Governance and Stability on 16 May 2013, Brussels (Participation of Dorin Chirtoaca, co-chair of CORLEAP) D. Chirtoaca discussed the role of local and regional authorities, saying they should be more involved in managing the EU assistance. He stated that MD should not give up the ongoing process and warned that in case of any suspension, the other offer from the Eurasian union would be quicker and stronger. Statement by Mr Dorin Chirtoacă on "The European Neighbourhood Policy and CORLEAP Achievements in the 145th meeting of the Committee of the Regions Bureau on 29 May 2013, Brussels The statement of Dorin Chirtoaca, co-chair of CORLEAP and Mayor of Chișinău (Moldova), and the ensuing debate focused on the developments of CORLEAP and the Eastern Partnership (EaP), the current situation of the EaP countries in general and Moldova in particular and addressed the difficult situation of the local and regional authorities (LRA) concerning empowerment and decentralisation issues and in particular the lack of a mechanism for LRAs to benefit directly from EU funds. CIVEX External Seminar on Cross-border cooperation on the European Union's Eastern border on 17 June 2013, Iaşi The subject of the seminar is one of the political priorities of the Committee of the Regions and the CIVEX commission in relation to European neighbourhood policy. Strengthening cooperation between Member States and partner countries at the EU's eastern border is a key objective which aims to create an area of prosperity, stability and security for all concerned. This seminar provided an opportunity to analyse the existing instruments for dialogue and cooperation with a view to reinforcing cross-border solidarity and cooperation. A number of CORLEAP members were invited and participated. 2nd meeting of the Standing Polish Conference for International Cooperation of Local Governments entitled "Experiences and perspectives regarding the role of Polish local governments in the strengthening of the local and regional dimension of the Eastern Partnership" on 28 June 2013, Poznań Conference organised by the Marshal of the Wielkopolska Region under the patronage of European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and of CORLEAP, with two thematic panels: 1 Local governments at a new stage of the Eastern Partnership concepts and possibilities of interregional cooperation; 2 The Polish experience of local

5 government for the Eastern Partnership countries the transfer of know-how. Opportunities and challenge for the future. EU EaP Foreign ministers' meeting on 22 July 2013 in Brussels Co-chair Dorin Chirtoaca and CoR Vice President Luc Van den Brande participated representing CORLEAP and the CoR respectively. They joined foreign ministers and high level delegates from the 28 EU Member States and the six Eastern Partnership countries, presented the work of CORLEAP and referred to the preparation of the annual meeting in Vilnius

6 Activity Report : Upcoming Events Panel on public administration reform (under the Platform 1) organised by EEAS on 26 September 2013 in Prague EEAS is organising a panel on public administration reform in Prague. The morning programme will deal with Panel Work Programme and its implementation. The afternoon is fully devoted to Decentralisation efforts in the EaP countries and local and regional issues. CORLEAP has a prominent position there with four speaking slots and it co-organise the afternoon session. The audience will be formed by the experts and officers from the EU member states and partner countries. The CoR budgetary authority approved participation of 4 CORLEAP members (2 from the CoR, 2 from Partner countries). From the partner countries Dorin Chirtoaca and Emin Yeritsyan expressed the interest to participate (tbc), the CoR representation has to be determined. Joint EURONEST and CORLEAP workshop on "Eastern Partnership's cooperation in reforming public institutions and administrations for " on 10 October 2013 in Strasbourg Workshop with the goal of continuing the cooperation with the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly. The workshop aims at discussing priorities for reforming public institutions and administrations in the Eastern European partner countries for the next years. The CoR budgetary authority approved participation of 2 CORLEAP speakers (one from the CoR, one from Partner countries). From the partner countries the CORLEAP Bureau member Emin Yeritsyan will participate, the CoR representation has to be determined.. Training on Public Administration Reform organised by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs on October 2013 in Prague Within the EaP Platform 1 Czech Republic took over the topic of Public Administration Reform on Local and Regional level. The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs is organising a training for civil servants and administrators from the local and regional government of the EaP countries and invites the COR/CORLEAP to provide speakers for the session on local government. The CoR put the request to its budgetary authority for the participation of 2 CORLEAP members (one from partner country/one from the CoR). Names have to be determined yet. EU Eastern Partnership Summit of Heads of State and Government, 28 and 29 November Vilnius (tbc) CORLEAP representation has to be determined (probably co-chairs). Activity Report : Publications - Contribution of local and regional authorities to the development of the Eastern Partnership framework and opportunities, The EU funds available for local and regional authorities from the Eastern Partnership countries, 2012 (version in English and Russian) - A roadmap to reform in public administration, fiscal decentralisation and territorial cooperation, 2013

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