17th NALAS General Assembly Held in Belgrade

Over 70 mayors from around South-East Europe convened on the 17th General Assembly of NALAS on 12 May 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia. The General Assembly was chaired by NALAS Vice President, Mr. M. Ergün Turan, Mayor of Fatih Municipality in Istanbul.

The General Assembly of the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe (NALAS) took place in Belgrade on 12 May 2022 in partnership with the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities of Serbia (SCTM). As the delegates of Marmara Municipalities Union (MMU), Mr. M. Ergün Turan, Mayor of Fatih Municipality in Istanbul and Mr. Recep Gürkan, Mayor of Edirne represented MMU in the General Assembly together with Mr. M. Cemil Arslan, MMU Secretary General and Ms. Burcuhan Sener, MMU International Affairs Director.

NALAS Vice President and Mayor of Fatih Municipality, Mr. M. Ergün Turan chaired the General Assembly. “It is such a great pleasure to see all NALAS General Assembly delegates today here in Belgrade in a physical presence after over two years of severe lock down in coping with the COVID crisis.”, emphasized Mr. Turan.

The meeting was accompanied by Tour de table discussion on how to improve local service; where digitalization, combating crisis and fiscal decentralisation were highlighted as key preconditions by the mayors. Mr. Recep Gürkan, Mayor of Edirne conveyed the updates on crisis management, water and sanitation services, and digitalization practices of local governments in Turkey. Mr. Gürkan emphasized the importance of local governments in solving global problems.

The delegates reviewed NALAS’ work in 2021 and the work plan for 2022 in the statutory session of the General Assembly. Based on the rotation system, Mr. Goran Cvetanovic, Mayor of Leskovac, Serbia, assumed the role of new NALAS President. “During this year, NALAS will develop its new strategy for the next five years. I would commit myself to lead a participative process, that will ensure that the new strategy reflects the emerging and development needs and priorities of all NALAS’ members. As the current NALAS’ strategy is still very relevant, I would keep the focus on sustainable local development and resilience of local governments. In the upcoming years, we have to be very swift in supporting digitalization of local public services and supporting municipalities to implement the smart city concept.”, said Mr. Cvetanovic.

High officials from Serbia and the Region, as well as from the European institutions addressed the 17th NALAS General Assembly, including:

- Ms. Aleksandra Maletic, Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

- Ms. Maja Mačužić Puzić, State Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Republic of Serbia

- Ms. Anna Magyar (ECR/Hungary), Committee of the Regions Rapporteur on Enlargement Package 2021

- Mr. Fabrizio Rossi, Secretary General of CEMR (video address)

The program continued with the water conference on the role of municipalities in providing quality water and sanitation services on 13 May 2022.

NALAS Presidency for the period of 2022-2023

President | Mr. Goran Cvetanovic, Mayor of Leskovac (Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities of Serbia)

The First Vice President | Mr. M. Ergün Turan, Mayor of Fatih (Marmara Municipalities Union)

The Second Vice President | Mr. Dusan Raicevic, Mayor of Bar (Union of Municipalities of Montenegro)

The Third Vice President | Mr. Marko Filipovic, Mayor of Rijeka (Association of Cities in the Republic of Croatia)