The Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Branko Ružić, met today with the Chairman of the Committee for Monitoring of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Leen Verbeek, who is staying in Belgrade for the meeting of the Committee which is held here.

They talked about the importance of a stronger involvement of citizens into policy adoption both on the national and local level, and thus the Minister informed the guest on the last year’s amendments to the Law on State Administration and the Law on Local Self-Government which oblige the state authorities and municipalities and towns to include the public stakeholders as early as the process of preparation of the draft of a specific act. “We have also introduced the possibility for citizens to get involved into creation of the investment budget, and many municipalities and towns have started that practice”, he said.

The Minister noted that, no matter how aware they were of the importance of public administration reforms for the EU integration process, it is necessary to accelerate, modernize and professionalize the administration, as the success of all other reforms and the speed of improvement of the quality of life depend on its functioning.

Mr. Verbeek underlined the importance of holding meetings of the Committee outside the headquarters, which promotes the respect for diversity and improves understanding among members. He also expressed his satisfaction that the meeting of the Committee was held in Belgrade.

Verbeek told the Minister that the meeting of the Committee was held in the usual manner, elaborating on topics from the agenda, relating to various countries which are members of the Council of Europe, such as Moldavia or Romania, and that the focus was not on Serbia, as some media had reported. Verbeek and Ružić went on to agree that there was no need for politicization of the regular meeting of the Monitoring Committee and expressed their expectations that the meeting would go successfully.

Monitoring Committee is no place for political debates, said Verbeek and added that the objective of the Committee is to support countries in their development, especially on the local level.