Municipal exchange workshop Lithuania-Georgia focuses on regional development and financial policies
Speakers of the Georgia-Lithuania peer exchange on the role of municipalities in regional development and financial equalization system for municipalities focused on the importance of close and effective cooperation between the municipalities of both countries at the national and local levels. This peer exchange was organised on 6 June 2023 in Tbilisi (Georgia) by the Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania (ALAL) with the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG). This workshop is a part of the PLATFORMA Eastern Partnership framework.
In the opening session, ALAL Director Roma Jakaitiene, Ambassador of Lithuania to Georgia Andrius Kalindra, representative of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia Nikoloz Rosebashvili, as well as Secretary General of CEMR Fabrizio Rossi and Vice President of CEMR Nino Rukhadze, member of Tbilisi City Council, addressed the audience.
ALAL director Roma Žakaitienė underlined that « regional development and financial policies are essential areas of local self-government”. “We aspire to create strong, competitive and sustainable regions, to strengthen both the quality of life and the voice of self-government at all levels of government,” she said. ALAL invited in the opening session the Lithuanian Ambassador to Georgia Andrius Kalindra who highlighted the European integration of Eastern Partnership countries, including Georgia, as one of the most important priorities of Lithuania’s foreign policy.
The representatives of Lithuanian municipalities shared their experience with local government representatives of Georgia.
The vice-mayor of Akmenė district Tomas Martinaitis presented the principles of Lithuanian regional policy formation and implementation, the development of public services, and the investment opportunities of the European Union’s 2021-2027 financial perspective.
Jurgita Choromanskytė, head of the administration of the Tauragė regional development council, spoke about the experience of a specific project – « Tauragė+ ». She emphasised that limited resources, in this case, did not become an obstacle, but the main catalyst for the successful cooperation of four municipalities. According to her, this project is so far the only one of its kind in Lithuania: this functional cooperation and combined resources help municipalities to solve such complex and multi-layered issues as public regional transport, investment attraction, public health, wastewater management or tourism information.
NALAG Director David Melua and Beka Vacharadzė, mayor of Poti, spoke at the seminar about self-government cooperation at different levels of government, and emphasised the importance of initiatives that come « from below ».
In the part of the event dedicated to financial management, ALAL director Roma Žakaitienė introduced the seminar participants to the specifics of the activities of Lithuanian municipalities, their independent and state-delegated functions, the relationship with central government institutions, the budget structure and income, and opportunities to borrow for investment projects implemented with EU support.
Gaioz Talakvadze, head of the Finance Department of the Tbilisi City Municipality, presented the priorities of Georgia’s capital budget and the challenges of its formation.
David Melua summarised the meeting together with PLATFORMA EaP officer Bella Tskhelishvili.
- ALAL will stay an active partner in the future programming period of PLATFORMA and will continue to organise peer-to-peer exchanges with Georgian, Moldovan and Ukrainian municipalities
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