Local government representatives from North Macedonia were on a study visit to Poland on 25-30 November 2019. The Centre for Eastern Studies prepared a week-long programme of the visit addressing the issues of cross-border co-operation and the functioning of local government. The participants of the visit were the mayor of Veles Ace Kocevski, the mayor of Ilinden Zhika Stojanovski as well as Ivana Serafimova from the Association of Municipalities and Cities of Macedonia and Semra Amet from the Skopje office of the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe (NALAS).
The guests from North Macedonia visited Warsaw, Wrocław, Zgorzelec and Görlitz on the German side of the border. In Warsaw meetings were held at the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy, the Ministry of Interior and Administration, the Foundation in Support of Local Democracy and Solidarity Fund PL. In Wrocław, the guests visited the Institute for Territorial Development, a spatial planning agency of the Lower Silesian Province’s local government, the Lower Silesia Tourist Organisation and the Lower Silesia Chamber of Commerce. The Macedonian delegation was interested in solutions concerning systems for handling residents’ affairs by local governments and state administration offices, instruments supporting innovation development, local government and business co-operation, issues linked to green and recreational area development in cities and public transport issues.
During the visit to Zgorzelec and Görlitz the delegation had the opportunity to become familiar with the practical aspects of cross-border co-operation as well as local governments’ competences and the challenges they need to face. Besides the local authorities, guests visited also the “European Centre Memory, Education, Culture” in Zgorzelec which operates at the place where Stalag VIII A was located during World War II. The goals of the centre’s activity include education, dialogue and reconciliation between Poles and Germans in the context of their difficult common history.
The visit was organised by the OSW as part of the Visegrad initiative Civil Servants Mobility Programme (CSMP). It is a co-operation instrument financed by the International Visegrad Fund being implemented by centres which are part of the Think Visegrad. Since 2014 civil servants and local government representatives from Eastern Partnership countries have visited various countries as part of the programme. Since 2017, study visits for civil servants from Western Balkan countries have also been organised. The OSW is in charge of visits to Poland concerning local government, cross-border co-operation and border management issues.
We would like to thank all individuals and institutions who have supported the OSW in implementing the project.
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