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Newsleer 1/2009

25-28 November

th Mayors’

10 Economic Recession ALCINET, the Network of major Balkan Cities, was founded in Thessaloniki in December 2001 aiming at the development of inter-Balkan inter-municipal cooperation. During its Founding Summit, the Network’s bodies were established as well. The top event of the Balkan Cities’ Network is the Mayors’ Summit that is organized every year by the Presiding City. The Balkan Cities’ Network is an institution that has established relationships of friendship and co-operation among major cities of Balkan countries. It was created in 2000, following an initiative by the Municipality of Thessaloniki. During our meetings in previous years, we shaped the Network’s bodies and structure, the top one being the Mayors’ Summit, which regularly convenes each year. The first and second Mayors’ Summits convened in Thessaloniki in 2000 and 2001, respectively. In 2002, the Mayors’ Summit was hosted in Sofia. In August 2004, on the occasion of the Olympic Games being organized by Greece, Thessaloniki held an extraordinary



Digital Era

Presiding City

– celebratory Mayors’ Summit, following a decision by the Network’s Executive Secretariat in December 2003. In April 2005, Piraeus hosted the 5th Mayors’ Summit and on September 30. 2005, the Mayors’ Summit was organized by the Municipality of Craiova. The 7th Mayors' Summit was organized by the Municipality of Ankara, the 8th by the Municipality of Novi Sad and the 9th by the Municipality of Sarajevo. This year the Municipality of Thessaloniki will host the 10th Summit of Mayors of major Balkan Cities. The Summit’s topics will be: 1. Economic Recession: Consequences and threats. Proposals and perspectives for the cities and the urban societies. 2. Digital Era: Digital municipal services for the citizen and the visitor. 3. Crime and Drugs: The daily life threats, the state responsibilities and the municipal antidotes. In this newsletter we make references to the previous BALCINET Mayors' Summit meetings, so that you may follow the development of our joint initiative since its inauguration.



Employment EU Environment

...the next BALCINET Mayors’ Summit, our 10th, will be held in Thessaloniki, which, according to the Declaration of Novi Sad will be the Network’s Presiding City for 2009; the meeting will be hosted at the same time as POLIS, the International Exhibition of Local Authorities.

arajevo Declaration: We, the Mayors and representatives of major Balkan cities, met in Sarajevo, in the framework of the 9th Mayors’ Summit, the most important BALCINET institution. According to the thematic units of the 9th BALCINET Mayors’ Summit, the following are prioritized as top goals-needs:


1. To reinforce entrepreneurship and employment at the local level and undertake joint initiatives concerning the control and management of migration, so that there are no social extremities, particularly in regard to immigrants’ right to work and social services. A request to that effect, asking for support of such initiatives, will be drafted by the Executive Secretariat of BALCINET and dispatched to the governments of Balkan countries and the European Commission so that local initiatives boost employment and social solidarity may be supported in the context of an integrated local migration policy. All BALCINET member cities are committed to fully respect minority rights in every segment of the social life of their cities. 2. At a time when threats of a world economic crisis affect citizens’ daily lives, the European Union is the most significant prospect for controlling developments and strengthening local societies with measures and actions that can be undertaken by local authorities, since the EU provides political stability and direct democratic processes, while – which is the most important factor of all – it is fully aware of problems. We are looking forward to European integration and aspire to participating in European initiatives and programmes, as well



Crime and Drugs

14 November

Presiding City


as to bringing BALCINET closer to EU Institutions, such as the Commission, the Parliament, the Committee of Regions and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions. Each BALCINET city should appoint a contact person to communicate with the BALCINET Executive Secretariat in order to better coordinate the utilization of European programs and funds. 3. To conserve the natural environment and, particularly to protect the atmosphere, in view of climate change, through initiatives for controlling and reducing pollutants and through transfer of know-how acquired from current control and management systems as well as institutional support to Municipalities to achieve this goal. To reinforce European and


national policies and further reduce gas pollutants to rates even lower than those foreseen today, so as to limit temperature increase of the planet with its tragic consequences, which we are already experiencing. 4. To strengthen the intermunicipal, interbalkan cooperation developed through BALCINET, at this time of economic globalization, ecologic awakening, human solidarity, communication, speed of knowledge, since international intermunicipal cooperation broadens the horizon of cooperation and creates prospects that can be of great benefit to our local societies. To activate the Committees of Special Envoys of Balkan Cities and Working Groups in order to implement topics of priority for the Network. 5. To make our cities environmentally friendly and, above all, friendly for our children, with more green zones and areas of recreation through reinforced structures, infrastructure and programmes supporting working mothers and improving the educational system. In this direction, exchanging best practices among Balkan cities will further support the family institution and help deal more effectively with challenges and risks lurking on the Internet as well as the menace of drugs. 6. In the context of coming closer to similar networks in the region, it is important for BALCINET to come closer and cooperate with the Council of Regional Cooperation in SE Europe, seated in Sarajevo, so that BALCINET may eventually form the local authority arm of this new Council established by Balkan governments to enhance SE Europe Agencies cooperation.

The Presidency of BALCINET for 2010 is to be undertaken by the City of Tirana

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Mayors’ th

7-8 Summit

...we elect the city of Thessaloniki as the Presiding city of BALCINET for the year 2009; we commonly agree that the City of Ankara will host the Cultural Festival of BALCINET members in the summer of 2008 and we renew our appointment for a year from now, at Sarajevo, the Presiding city for 2008, at the annual BALCINET Mayors’ Summit.


Novi Sad


Active engagement

Presiding City

OVI SAD Declaration: We, the Mayors of major Balkan cities-members of BALCINET, after a constructive discussion in the context of the 2007 annual Mayors’ Summit held in the City of Novi Sad and excellently organised under the thorough care of its Mayor, Mrs Maja Gojković, declare the following: At this time of great changes in the political, economic and environmental sectors, cooperation among major cities of Balkan countries is truly significant and urgent in its prospects. European integration and the accession of countries of this region into the European Union is the ultimate goal of our Network actions. At the Novi Sad Summit there were, for the first time, participating cities from three EU Member States. An active engagement of BALCINET cities in the direction of European integration will be two-fold: a) Through BALCINET’s institutional approach to the European Institutions (EU and Council of Europe), such as the Committee of the Regions, the Committee of Local and Regional Authorities, the European Commission / General Directorates of Regional Policies and Enlargement, so as to promote BALCINET as an active partner, consultant and beneficiary of actions and funding. Therefore we entrust the Executive Secretariat of the Network with the task to explore the possibilities of linking the BALCINET with the abovementioned institutions.

Climatic changes


b) Through mobilisation to exploit trans-border and other programmes and initiatives funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe, following initiatives undertaken by Balkan cities from the EU member states, with the active support of the Executive Secretariat of BALCINET. Furthermore, as we recognise significant climatic changes and intensification of the phenomena of water shortages and floods

over extending areas, trans-municipal cooperation will be focusing on issues concerning environmental conservation, underlining integrated sustainable management of water resources per hydrological basin and giving priority to international basins through the mobilisation of local authorities and the submittal of relevant proposals for funding by the EU. We also consider the acceleration of projects for supplying water to major cities through national and European resources an important issue in order to prevent unpleasant water shortages. We, the Mayors of major Balkan Cities, confirm our dedication to the principles of friendship, solidarity and co-operation as the guarantee for the stability and development of our region, taking into account the political stability of municipal authorities and their priorities, which focus on their citizens’ quality of life and on resolving of issues that can be managed through commonly agreed solutions. We underline the capacity of BALCINET cities to contribute dynamically and effectively to the efforts for the reconstruction of Balkan countries and to their common European prospects.

...we elect the city of Sarajevo, to preside BALCINET for 2008 and we are meeting next year in Novi Sad, Presiding City for the year 2007.




Cultural action plan

Presiding City

Reviving history

NKARA Declaration: The Mayors of the major Balkan Cities, members of the Network founded in 2000 in Thessaloniki, confirm today, the 4th of November 2006 in Ankara, presiding city of BALCINET, our dedication to the principles of cooperation and solidarity for the regeneration and development of our cities.


Culture is the foundation of our cooperation and a prerequisite condition for peace, friendship and enhancement of our bonds. We take advantage of the existing cultural institutions in our countries and we promote their inter-Balkan intermunicipal nature with interventive actions to our governments. We institutionalize a 15-day festival of cultural events to be held in the presiding city and inter-Balkan modules in the cultural festivals held by the cities – members of BALCINET. All participants accept to organize BALCINET Culture Festival with participation of member of BALCINET as well as other cities of Balkans in August 2007 in ANKARA which the Mayor of the Greater Ankara Municipality Honorable Mr. Melih Gökçek proposed.

We support the institution of the Balkan Cultural Capital, i.e. the presiding city of BALCINET, as long as the related proposal will be set under the auspices of our countries’ governments in the framework of the Process for Cooperation in S.E. Europe. The cultural action plan of the Network will be

finalized at the beginning of 2007. Furthermore, in order to regenerate the historical sites within our cities, we promote joint actions and projects concerning the rehabilitation of monuments and the improvement of the urban environment, seeking for EU funding. We set the European prospect of our countries as the main axis of our joint action. We aspire to make BALCINET a recognizable body that may cooperate with structures of the European Union, such as the Stability Pact for S.E. Europe as well as the Council of Europe, and take advantage of European programs and projects. We are seeking for cooperation with this scheme through a proposal that we are planning to submit the Bulgarian Presidency (2007-2008) of the Process for Cooperation in S.E. Europe. Aiming at a better information and communication of BALCINET with the member-Municipalities and their citizens, we are starting a cooperation scheme with the Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA), by sending the newsletters of BALCINET to the ABNA members and forwarding them to the mass media in the corresponding native language.

Newsleer 1/2009 3

th Mayors’ 6 Summit




Economic decentralisation

Presiding City

Direct access

IRAEUS Resolution: Today in Piraeus, on Saturday April the 2nd 2005 the Mayors’ Summit of the 5th International Meeting for Friendship, Co-peration and Development of the Major Balkan Cities, issued the following resolution:


We the Mayors and representatives of the largest Balkan Cities: Reaffirm our firm will to work in common in order to further develop the ambience and the relation of co-operation between the peoples and the States of the Balkans. Reaffirm our common appraisal that Local Authorities play a curial role in the development of each individual country, but also in building a climate of co-opertion and friendship in all the Balkans. Reaffirm our common appraisal that all the Balkan States are on the track of stable economic progress and conversion with the European Union, not only from an economic view, but also regarding every parameter substantiated by the acquis communautaire. We agree to co-operate in the context of the goals set in the previous meetings, and more specifically to: further enhance the role of major cities as dynamic urban centres for the development of the region; develop and implement economic decentralisation to

enhance the role and effectiveness of local authorities; provide a direct access of the local authorities to the European Union and other financing sources; develop friendship and co-operation schemes that will contribute to the development of cities and the prosperity of their citizens in the region;

integrate the activities of already existing networks and organisations founded and operating under the auspices of the Council of Europe as well as other European and international organisations; exchange information and know-how as well as solutions to common problems.




Νew priorities

Extraordinary Meeting

HESSALONIKI Declaration: We, the Mayors of the major Balkan Cities, met extraordinarily in Thessaloniki within the framework of the opening of the 2004 Olympic Games and declare the need to reinforce interBalkan, intermunicipal cooperation and reaffirm our will to proceed with joint actions and initiatives aiming at the participation of major Balkan Cities in development, reconstruction and, most importantly, the establishment of peace, friendship and stability in our broader region.


The new priorities we set concern the establishment of regular communication, beginning with the new website of the Balkan Cities’ Network and then proceeding with the publication of a Newsletter under the precondition that necessary data are sent by member-cities of the Network to the Executive Secretariat. The services of the Network’s Executive Secretariat will undertake the development of bilateral contacts and the organization of multipartite discussions through the Internet, based, along with our Network’s Mayors’ Bureau, in Casa Bianca, the landmark building of the Municipality of Thessaloniki, which aspires to become the symbol of inter-Balkan, intermunicipal co-operation. Joint activities concern joint submittal of proposals and implementation of programmes funded by the European Union, as well as

further efforts towards finding funds and transferring technical know-how to membercities of the network so as to reinforce their budget, their executive capabilities and the level of services provided to their citizens. In order to achieve this goal, it is necessary to have co-operation between and support by the governments of Balkan countries, especially Greece, which is a European Union country that has begun implementing programmes for reconstruction and developmental aid to countries in our region. The opportunity provided to us by the Olympic Games, which have returned to Greece after 108 years, is important so as to establish new schemes of co-operation and send the message of local communities of Balkan Cities to the entire world and Europe, in particular, where we look to for mutual support and hope. We also consider that Thessaloniki’s bid for the organization of EXPO 2008 might comprise a major development vision for the development of the whole of the Balkan region to the benefit of our citizens. Our next important appointment is the regular Mayors’ Meeting next December. The flags of the Balkan countries that fly as proud symbols at Villa Bianca send throughout the world messages of peace, brotherhood and co-operation, messages of local communities of major Balkan Cities which take the matter of their common future in their own hands.

4 Newsleer 1/2009

8-9 December




Mayors’ meeting


Create a cities network

HESSALONIKI Declaration: In the new era of information, creation and peace which is starting for Balkan countries, big cities constitute integrated systems with specific but also similar social, cultural and economic needs and perspectives. The Balkans can become a peninsula of stability and development, if its countries show confidence in Local Authorities, by decentralizing measures and resources and if Local Authorities make good use and multiply knowledge, potential and opportunities through this cooperation. This way, the Balkans, the crossroads of three continents, of many peoples and of infinite hopes, will increase even further its strategic and economic significance, in the modern world of interdependence and globalization. Regional cooperation, which is based on the complementarity of the economies of Balkan states and mainly on the dynamism of Balkan metropolitan centres, can create pre-requisites for local communities to experience the results of developmental projects and participate in them. Cities attract both political and cultural dynamism, and mainly productive activities which seem to balance industry and services, while the development of new technologies and computer science is changing the current landscape. However, needs are changing, problems are getting bigger and the longer the delay of big-scale interventions in planning and infrastructure the more difficult and costly the course to development will be. A course which will have to have specific features, such as sustainability, that is, viable development, security, functionality, and, mainly, a human character. The initiatives as well as the role of local authorities in ensuring these fundamental aspects of collaboration with Local and Central National Local Authorities Associations, and the exchange of experiences and know-how among Balkan big cities are of vital importance. The 1st Meeting of Mayors of Major Balkan Cities ought to offer the possibility for the results of its works and, mainly, the results of the actions it is drafting to benefit local communities. With a sense of responsibility towards the new generations of our co-citizens, we decide to conclude a permanent Friendship, Cooperation and Development Agreement and to create a cities network, an institution based on conditions and rules which will safeguard the implementation of this Agree-


Newsleer 2/2009 Through this BALCINET publication, the Municipality of Thessaloniki inaugurates its collaboration with the Balkan Press Center, an institution founded by the journalists of Northern Greece, with the following aims: To conduct cultural, educational and socioeconomic studies pertaining to the press and media in the national and the wider Balkan region. To award prizes to literary works which refer to the promotion of Balkan collaboration, or refer to the cultural, educational and social nature of the press. To bestow financial support and schol-

ment as well as the promotion of cooperation in practice, the contribution of cities towards mutual understanding and stability. The objective of this Agreement ought to be the development of friendship and cooperation among major cities of the Balkan peninsula, joint initiatives, joint implementation of projects and, generally, joint mobilization both for the reinforcement of bonds among agents and their residents as well as for the faster and more efficient developmental course of the Balkans through international, inter-municipal cooperation. Cooperation and joint action of cities, beyond the exchange of information, know-how and the establishment of friendly, cultural and business contacts, can also contribute towards mobilising forces in regards to big-scale issues, such as reconstruction projects, developmental projects and cooperation projects and, certainly, the proper use of the potential provided by the European Union for the development of joint initiatives and cooperation schemes. The implementation of such projects by Local Authorities and our participation in developmental planning with credibility and efficiency make interbalkan, inter-municipal cooperation in all sectors imperative. For this reason, we will discuss and promote within our City Councils an Agreement, Friendship, Cooperation and Development plan for the creation of the Balkan Cities Network in the coming year. In 2001, we will meet once again here in Thessaloniki, which is assigned as the temporary seat of the Executive Secretariat until our next meeting, at the Founding Council of Mayors of our Network. At our next meeting, the Mayors’ Council will make the final decisions and put into practice the Agreement adopted in the meantime by our City Councils and examine the possibility of expanding the Network with the participation of cities from other non-Balkan countries. This 1st Meeting summarizes the basic principles of interbalkan, inter-municipal cooperation in a framework Declaration of our efforts. Richer in experiences and potential, thanks to the development of inter-municipal cooperation, and with more trust on the part of European and national governments, credibility and efficiency of cities will help decentralization with Municipalities acting as pioneers.

Mayors’ 10th Summit



10.00-10.30 Official opening of the Conference Vassilios Papageorgopoulos, Mayor of Thessaloniki, President of BALCINET Welcome Addresses 10.30-10.45 Introduction Speech: Vassilios Papageorgopoulos, Mayor of Thessaloniki, President of BALCINET 10.45-13.45 Mayors’ Speeches on the topics of the Summit: Economic Recession: Consequences and threats. Proposals and perspectives for the cities and the urban societies. Zoran Damjanovski, Mayor of Kumanovo Dragoljub Davidovic, Mayor of Banja Luka Milos Simonivic, Mayor of Nis Constantinos Tzanakoulis, Mayor of Larisa Albana Dhimitri, Deputy Mayor of Tirana Sasa Igic, Deputy Mayor of Novi Sad Digital Era: Digital municipal services for the citizen and the visitor Andreas Fouras, Mayor of Patras Andreas Pachatouridis, Mayor of Peristeri Veniamin Karakostanoglou, Deputy Mayor of Thessaloniki Masum Sun, Head of International Relations of the City of Ankara Crime and Drugs: The daily life threats, the state responsibilities and the municipal antidotes. Hristo Bozov, Deputy Mayor of Varna Ferid Buljubasic, City Councilor of Sarajevo 13.45 -14.15 Discussion 15.30 -15.45 Election of the Presiding City for 2011 Announcement and Adoption of the Thessaloniki Declaration - Hand-over of BALCINET Flag to the City of Tirana, Presiding City 2010

Tomorrow 27.11.09 The next issue will host the period 2001-2004

arships for the promotion of research and studies related to the institution’s aims. To strengthen research and academic cooperation among similar institutions in Greece, the Balkans, the European Union and abroad. To establish international journalists’ networks and databases for the purpose of safeguarding and supporting the profession of journalism. To set terms and prerequisites for the advancement of European cultures in the Balkan Peninsula. To create a databank related to the EU’s

foreign, cultural and economic policy on the Balkans and the Black Sea countries. If you’re interested in these aims, you may contact: Balkan Press Center 5 Stratigou Kallari Street 546 22 Thessaloniki GR Tel.: +302310 270 826 +30 2310 243 575 Fax: +302310 220 348 Contact: Anna Famellos, International Relations Officer e-mail:

BALCINET Newsletter 1  
BALCINET Newsletter 1  

Through this BALCINET publication, the Municipality of Thessaloniki inaugurates its collaboration with the Balkan Press Center