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Organization and Responsibilities of Municipal Offices for European Integration Policy

Report on the Application of Regulation No.08/2011

This policy analysis addresses the role of municipalities in the EU Integration process, in particular the extent to which the Regulation on Organization and Responsibilities of Municipal Offices for European Integration is applied throughout Kosovo municipalities. It is prepared by Dr. Albana Rexha and is published in cooperation with Democracy Plus.

The Municipal Offices for European Integration remain the only vertical structures in advancing the EU agenda at the local level. Their role is prescribed in the Regulation no.08/2011 on Organization and Responsibilities of Municipal Offices for European Integration, full implementation of which is key in ensuring a successful municipal role in the European integration process of Kosovo.

The aim of this policy report is to address the role of municipalities in the EU Integration process, in particular the extent to which the Regulation no.08/2011 on Organization and Responsibilities of Municipal Offices for European Integration is applied across Kosovo municipalities and to advocate for its successful implementation, thus empowerment of these Offices.

This policy report has utilized a qualitative approach to assess the application of the Regulation no 08/2011 as most of the functions, duties, and responsibilities assessed are of coordination, support, and assist nature. For assessment of these roles, there is a need to gather firsthand data including perceptions from key actors involved. Thus, for these purposes, this policy report has employed data triangulation method including a) website search for 38 municipalities, b) conducted interviews with key stakeholders including the MLGA and the Kosovo Association of Municipalities, c) conducted a focus group with European integration civil servants from the seven biggest municipalities in Kosovo (Prishtina, Prizren, Peje, Mitrovica, Gjakova, Gjilan, Ferizaj), and d) conducted an online survey with all European integration civil servants from 38 municipalities.

The analysis demonstrates that the Regulation no.08/2011 has limited application throughout Kosovo municipalities. A number of challenges and problems identified include the following: two municipalities lack an Office for European Integration, most of the municipal European integration civil servants have never been consulted in assigning local public policy priorities, more than half of them are rarely or never consulted in drafting municipal budget or invited in working groups to draft municipal regulations or strategies, half of them were never trained on how to apply for EU funds and more than half of them have never applied for any type of EU funding, around 70% of civil servants are rarely or never invited in director’s council meeting led by the Mayor.