Inaugural event - Local Democracy Agency (LDA) Cimislia, Republic of Moldova

Friday, 3 March, 2017

Speech by Dorin Chirtoaca, Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

Mr President of ALDA (Oriano Otocan),

Mr Mayor (Gheorghe Răileanu),

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to address the participants of today’s meeting in my capacity as Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, at a moment when the European Association for Local democracy is opening the first Local Democracy Agency in Cimislia, in Moldova.

I congratulate ALDA, the Mayor of Cimislia and all partners and persons who have contributed to the opening of this new Local Democracy Agency. This proves once again the relevance and usefulness of ALDA activities at the grassroots level, as vital as they were already 18 years ago when ALDA was set up.

I am proud to recall the almost parental link between the Congress and ALDA. Indeed, the Congress played a major role in setting up Local Democracy Agencies which have progressively grown into a consolidated network. Today there are 11 Agencies in 8 countries. The Congress has always given full support to ALDA, and of course, we continue to share as priorities the promotion of active citizenship, civic participation and democratic pluralism, at local and regional levels.

I thank the organisers for keeping up the good tradition of exchanges between the Congress and ALDA, in the spirit of our continuing co-operation.

There are plenty of examples where ALDA and the Congress have built synergies for mutual benefit and mutual reinforcement of their grassroots activities. This is particularly the case in countries where the Congress is developing field activities and where Local Democracy Agencies are active:  I refer to Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine and now also Moldova.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me recall briefly: Within the Council of Europe, the Congress is a political and consultative body of local and regional elected representatives from 47 member states. Its core mission is to ensure the full application of democratic principles at local and regional levels.

In practical terms, this means working for positive change in our member states through the monitoring of the European Charter of Local Self-government, the observation of local and regional elections, post-monitoring dialogue and practical co-operation programmes in the field.

The opening of this new Local Democracy Agency in Cimislia offers promising new opportunities for such cooperation. I do not doubt that it will contribute to the strengthening and development of good local governance in Moldova, in line with the principles laid down in the Charter which Moldova ratified in 1997.

The last Congress monitoring report on Moldova was in 2012. The rapporteurs noted with satisfaction the positive progress achieved in respect of all the statutory texts concerning local public administration since the previous Recommendation back in 2005.

The Congress has engaged in post-monitoring dialogue with the Republic of Moldova. On 7 July 2016, a roadmap was signed in Chisinau between the Congress and Moldovan authorities for the implementation of the Congress Recommendation of 2012, in the presence of Tatiana Badan, President of the Congress of Local Authorities of Moldova (CALM).

To complement this process, we carried out cooperation activities where we worked mainly with mayors and their associations. They are our main partners in reinforcing the dialogue with central authorities and the dialogue with citizens for ethical decision-making.

We hope that within these initiatives and within others, in particular through this new Agency, citizens will have a better grasp of the advantage of being involved in local affairs, and that this should not be limited to the realm of elections. Local Democracy Agencies are indeed important vehicles for participatory democracy at local level, and their experience can be used and applied elsewhere in the country.

The Congress remains firmly supportive of ALDA and its network of Agencies and we are committed to pursuing our co-operation in areas of common interest.

We thank all the partners present here today for their commitment to support the capacities of this new Local Democracy Agency.  I wish the Cimislia Agency lots of success and fruitful partnerships.  Thank you.