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ARCHIVE OF ADOPTED DOCUMENTS

1st CONFERENCE / 2nd CONFERENCE / 3rd CONFERENCE / 4th CONFERENCE / EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF THE MAYORS OF THE CAPITALS OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE / 5th CONFERENCE / 6th CONFERENCE / 7th CONFERENCE / PROPOSALS ON FUNCTIONS AND TASKS OF THE MONITORING UNIT TO BE SET UP WITHIN THE UNION OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHEASTERN EUROPEAN CAPITALS / ESTABLISHMENT OF TOURIST OFFICES PROMOTING TOURISM BETWEEN MEMBER CITIES / 8th CONFERENCE / 9th CONFERENCE / Meeting of the committee of experts Athens / 10th CONFERENCE /CONCLUSIONS / 11th CONFERENCE / 12th CONFERENCE / 13th CONFERENCE / 14th CONFERENCE

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1st CONFERENCE
OF THE MAYORS OF SOUTH-EAST EUROPE
Athens, October 5-6, 1995

PROTOCOL OF CO-OPERATION AGREEMENT
between the capital cities of the countries of the South - East Europe

The Cites of Athens, Budapest, Bucharest, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Skopje, Sofia, Tirana, Ljubljana, Vienna, Chisinau, Nicosia, Kiev, Podgorica,
Given the mutual desire for tightening of local communities’ relations on a social, cultural and economical level, the development of co-operation and communication between their peoples and aiming at safeguarding the stability and progress of the South-East Europe region,
Taking into consideration the changes that have taken place in the world during the last years and the new role the cities can play as bridges of friendship between people and states on the international stage, before the threshold of the third millennium,
Do agree and accept the following co-operation protocol :
ARTICLE 1
The Capital - Cities of the of the Countries of South-East Europe will promote the exchange of knowledge and experiences in the context of Local Administration’s competence and particularly in matters of environmental protection, urban planning and waste management.
ARTICLE 2
The Capital - Cities of the Countries of South-East Europe, by supporting and reinforcing the traditional historic ties existing among their people, will pursue the broadening of the co-operation in the cultural sector, the safeguarding and development of their cultural heritage and the protection of their cultural monuments.
ARTICLE 3
The Capital - Cities of the Countries of the South-East Europe will encourage the exchange of knowledge and achievements as concerns the sectors of Education, Tourism, Sports and Sciences.
ARTICLE 4
The Capital - Cities of the Countries of the South-East Europe will contribute substantially to the materialization of the aims for the approach between the Capital’s citizens, the maintenance and tightening of friendship among people and the development of the relations between their respective communities.
ARTICLE 5
The Capital-Cities of the Countries of South-East Europe will promote the elaboration of the commercial and economical relations by the participation of their Commercial and industrial Chambers and their Commercial Associations.
ARTICLE 6
The Capital-Cities of the Countries of South-East Europe will encourage the broadening of their economical co-operation among businessmen and organizations having as objectives private investments, urban constructions, commercial exchanges and other sectors of economy.
ARTICLE 7
The Conference of the Capital-Cities of the Countries of South-East Europe acquires a permanent character and, will take place every year in one of the above Capital-Cities under the auspices of the local Municipal Authorities.
ARTICLE 8
The Conference will constitute a network through focal points in all the above mentioned capitals and which will co-ordinate and secure the application of this agreement hereby.
This protocol is composed in 15 copies and is signed by the Mayors of the Capital-Cities of the Countries of the South-East Europe during the First Conference of the Mayors of the Capital-Cities of the South-East Europe on October 6, 1995, in Athens.
Signed by the Mayors of : Athens, Belgrade, Budapest, Bucharest, Chisinau, Kiev, Ljubljana, Nicosia, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Skopje, Sofia, Tirana and Vienna.

CONCLUSIONS

The Mayors and representatives of the Capital-Cities of the South-East Europe, during their Conference held in Athens on the 5th and 6th of October 1995, signed the Protocol of General Principles of Cooperation and came to the following conclusions :
a) The Protocol contains all the necessary forms of co-operation and requires us concentrate all our efforts to implement its respective articles.
b) The Conference is of great importance for the development and co-operation between the Capital-Cities of the region. The signature of the Protocol marks the historical beginning of important agreements, which will be signed, in forthcoming Conferences.
c) The creation of a co-coordinating Committee for the Conference was decided. The co-coordinating committee shall consist of the Mayor of Athens, who launched the imitative, and of the Mayor of Vienna who will be the next President of the Conference. Responsibility of the Committee is to co-ordinate the Mayor’s co-operation in view of their meeting next year. The Committee will have a Secretariat, with headquarters in Athens, and shall co-operate each time with the hosting city of the Conference. The Mayors of three cities will constitute the co-coordinating committee for the next Conference: the organizer of the actual Conference, and the organizers of the previous and the forthcoming Conferences.
d) The two Capital-Cities, members of the U.C.U.E, i.e. Vienna and Athens, can establish the link between the Union and our Conference, creating a network of Capitals across Europe.
e) It was decided to name the Conference, CCASE, Europe.
f) They have agreed to promote a European Union program for the creation of a Regional Network of Cities.
g) They have recorded all proposals as submitted and empower the co-coordinating body to further review and submit them to our next Conference. The proposals are as follows:
1) Creation of a Scientific study Center in order to deal with health and social problems arising in cities. The center shall also be responsible for drawing up preventive information programs for schools.
2) Creation of a network of Equal Opportunities Agencies in Capital-Cities.
3) Creation of a Culture and information Agency of the Capital-Cities. The committee will study the project.
h) They have made known their decision to strengthen, deeper and develop co-operation with a view to institutionalizing the co-coordinating body in the near future.
I) They have agreed that the Conference shall be convened each year in one of the Capital - Cities in alphabetical order (in English), unless a city offers to organize the Conference and this is agreed to by all. As an exception, the next Conference shall be convened in Vienna.
k) Express their wish that the city of Nicosia will be reunited and that peace shall return to the City of Sarajevo, with the co-existence of all its citizens irrespective of their ethnic or religions heritages as to be able to heal its wounds and achieve reconstruction and development.

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2nd CONFERENCE
OF THE MAYORS OF SOUTH-EAST EUROPE
Vienna, September 6, 1996

CONCLUSIONS
The Mayors and representatives of the Capital Cities of South-East Europe during their Conference held in Vienna on the 5th and 6th of September 1996, came to the following conclusions :
They thank the City of Athens for its initiative to create this conference and to host the permanent secretariat of the conference.
They agree that the presidency of the conference will be assumed by the mayor of the city hosting the annual conference.
They agree to renew the invitation to the mayor of Ankara to participate in the Conference.
They thank the City of Belgrade for its invitation to host the next annual conference and agree on a 6-month consideration period to reconsider the issue and then to confirm the venue of the next conference.
They thank the City of Skopje for its proposal to host a Cultural and informative Agency of the Capitals of the Countries in South-East Europe.
They thank the City of Bucharest to host the first cultural week of the Capital Cites of South-East Europe in 1997.
They agree to consider symbolic actions like a European train of youth top foster their cooperation network and will discuss in more detail Nicosia’s proposal to commonly celebrate the advent of the year 2000.
The Capital Cities of South-East Europe express, as they did during the first conference in Athens, their wish that the City of Nicosia will soon be reunited.
They will consider common actions on the World Environment Day on 5 June 1997. As proposed by the City of Vienna.
They thank the City of Vienna for hosting the 2nd Conference of the Mayors of the South-East European Capital Cities and will comment on the drafted "Vienna Paper" within 2 months.

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3rd CONFERENCE
OF THE MAYORS OF
SOUTH-EASTEARN EUROPEAN CAPITALS
Bucharest, February 6-7, 1998

CONCLUSIONS
The Mayors and representatives of the Cities of South-Eastern Europe, during their Conference held in Bucharest on the 6 - 7 February 1998, came to the following conclusions:
They thank the City of Bucharest for its invitation and also for hosting with great success the Third Conference of the Southeastern European Capitals.
They thank the City of Athens for its proposition to prepare in all capitals, sport and cultural pre-Olympic events, in view of the 2004 Olympic games, taking into account the decision of Athens to revive the Olympic period of four years. For that purpose, they accept the proposal of Vienna to form a Sub-committee to prepare these events. This committee is composed by the cities of Athens, Bucharest, Sofia and Vienna, All the Cities expressed their satisfaction that Athens was elected as host of the 2004 Olympics and their wholehearted support.

They agree with the proposition of the City of Skopje to create a Newsletter of the Conference. The Newsletter will be published on a quarterly basis. Each City should appoint a representative to the Newsletter Editorial Committee. The permanent Secretariat will assure the collection of the material from all Cities. The Newsletter editor will be the President of the Conference in action.
They affirm that the role of Local Governments in the Globalization era is of capital importance to upholding the democratic principles and to promoting European Unity and peace. In this context they agree to support the proposition of Athens to declare their cities as "open cities".

They agree to form a South-East European Tourist Agency (SEECTA). The agency will create in every city a relevant information kiosk. This initiative is already supported by the European Commissioner for Tourism Mr. Papoutsis. They also agree to propose to their National Railways Organizations the adoption of an internal ticket, on a special price, in order for young people to travel between our countries.
They agree to proceed to the project of the South-East European Youth Train, in shortened version with less coaches but with young people from all the cities, that will travel through every city possible, to arrive in September. The duration of the trip will be 15-20 days. The details will be elaborated by the Sub-Committee of the second paragraph.

They agree to strengthen the collaboration with other International City Networks, in particular with the U.C.U.E. (Union of the Capitals of the Union of Europe), a proposal that will take place in this Network’s Conference in April, which will take place in Vienna. Also with the Council of European Municipalities and Regions and the Eurocities.
They agree to consolidate a yearly Cultural South-East European Week, beginning this year in Bucharest during 1-9 of June and it will be included in the Festival "Luna Bucurestilor".

They agree to the proposition of the Mayor of Bucharest to convoke the Deans of their respective Universities to a Meeting every year, starting next September in Athens upon the arrival of the Youth Train.

They agree to the proposition of the city of Skopje to further strengthen cultural collaboration through an agency. The Agency will be created following the mature organization of the Permanent Secretariat, according to the next paragraph. The coordination for the Agency will be effected by the city of Bucharest.
They agree to consolidate the structure of the institution. Every city should appoint liaison secretaries in order to form a contact group under the co-ordination of the Executive Secretary, based in Athens.

They agree to amend the Protocol of Co-operation in order for the host City to be defined not by alphabetical order, but by proposals and through secret vote.
They agree to propose an annual financial contribution to the Conference, in next year’s Conference.
The City of Ankara is unanimously accepted to be full member of the Conference and signed the Protocol of Athens.
They decided that the 4th Conference of the Mayors of Southeastern European Capitals will be held in Ankara.
They decided that the 5th Conference of the Mayors of Southeastern European Capitals will be held in Belgrade
Finally the Mayors reconfirm their mandate to Mr. Fotis Papathanassiou to continue his functions as Executive Secretary of the Conference.

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4th CONFERENCE
OF THE MAYORS OF
SOUTH-EASTEARN EUROPEAN CAPITALS
Kiev, May 17-19, 1999
CONCLUSIONS
The Mayors and representatives of Southeastern European Capitals, during their Conference held in Kiev, on the 17th to 19th of May 1999. Came to the following conclusions :
They thank the City of Kiev for its invitation and also for hosting most successfully the 4th Conference of Southeastern European Capitals.
They agree to the proposition of the Mayor of Athens to adopt a common Declaration on the Kosovo conflict, which is as follows:

Declaration on the situation in Kosovo
We the Mayors and representatives of cities, meeting in the framework of the 4th Conference of Mayors of the Capital Cities of Southeastern Europe, in Kiev,
We welcome all international contributions to bring this grave crisis to a quick end,
And we join our efforts and voices, on behalf of our citizens for an immediate restoration of peace and stability in the region, and rehabilitation of all refugees and victims of the hostilities.
They agree to proceed to proposals to international organizations (EU, OECD, etc.) on bilateral and multilateral basis, in order for the cities to implement such programs for the benefit of the cities.
They agree with the proposition of Athens to host a South-Eastem European Cultural Week, in June 2000.
They agree to propose an annual financial contribution to the Conference, in next-year’s Conference, as well as to further define the structural details for the Permanent Secretariat.
They thank the representative of the new Athens International Airport for the invitation to all the members of the Conference to visit the airport before its inauguration in the year 2001, to be present at the official opening on the 1st of March 2001 and to use the VIP lounge whenever they use the airport, either for transfer of for a visit in Athens,
They agree that the 5th Conference of the Mayors of South-Eastern European Capitals will be held in Ankara, after confirmation by this city and communication with the Permanent Secretariat.

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EXTRAORDINARY SESSION
OF THE MAYORS OF THE CAPITALS
OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE
Athens, July 2-3, 1999

ATHENS DECLARATION
Zappeion Megaron, July 3, 1999

We the members of the Conference of the Mayors of the Capitals of South-Eastern Europe, following the initiative of the Mayors of Athens, Sofia and Kiev, met for an Extraordinary session, held in Athens on the 2-3 July 1999.
The objective of this extraordinary session is to examine the new political, economic, social and humanitarian situation, as it has developed following the cessation of hostilities in Kosovo.

We thank the three Mayors who took this initiative and express our satisfaction with regard to the participation of representatives of European and International Organizations, in the capacity of Observers. We consider as most significant the participation of the representatives from: The Committee of the Regions of the European Union, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, the World Health Organization of the United Nations, as well as the Special Representative of the European Union for the Royaumont Process for Stability, Good Neighborliness in South-Eastern Europe.

We agree to reinforce and encourage the cooperation between our Capitals and European organizations, in order to favour the process for political stability, democratization and the harmonization of relations between peoples of diverse ethnic groups, cultures, language and religious traditions.

We consider that Human Rights are inalienable and indivisible, and that political, social, economic, cultural and environmental rights constitute one whole, interrelated with the rights of people for peace, security and stability.

Cities constitute the places where the citizens have the most direct democratic expression; they are also the first places whish suffer the consequences of exceptional situations and wars. We the representatives of the Cities undertake to enhance democracy and to assume a leading role with regard to the preservation of peace and stability in the region, the opening up of dialogue, communication and cooperation between the localities.

In this spirit we call on our Governments to convene as soon as possible, a Conference of Heads of States and Governments of South-East Europe, and we ask, for a special role to be accorded to the Conference of the Mayors of the Capitals of this region.
This request is consistent with the request of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe of the Council of Europe.

Specifically, in the framework of a Stability Pact whish should result from the Conference in guest ion, we call for the Local Self-Government to be accorded a role in the following fields:
a. The democratization process of institutions,
b. The reconstruction of cities and the channelling of economic assistance,
c. Provision of measures for the safety and security of citizens with regard to the increased levels of crime, which often accompany illegal immigration.
We ask the European Union and in particular the Committee of the Regions, for our Conference to participate in the capacity of observer at its plenary sessions, and to be able to express our opinion in the decision making process of issues concerning our region. We ask for this role to be undertaken by the Mayors of Athens and Vienna who are also members of the Committee of the Regions.
We also call for an analogous role for the Conference of the Mayors of the Capitals of South-Eastern Europe to be accorded by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and we accord this role to be undertaken by the Troika of today’s Conference.

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5th CONFERENCE
OF THE MAYORS OF
SOUTH-EASTEARN EUROPEAN CAPITALS
Belgrade, April 23, 2001

CONCLUSIONS

The Mayors and representatives of South-eastern European Capitals, during their Conference held in Belgrade, on the 22-23 April 2001, came to the following conclusions:
They thank the City of Belgrade for its invitation and also for hosting most successfully the 5th Conference of South-eastern European Capitals and they express their satisfaction for democratic developments in the country.

They accept the proposition of the Mayor of Sofia to establish a system of criteria for the evaluation of environmental standards in every city, along with the proposition of the Executive Secretary that the City of Vienna, having the know-how and the expertise will submit proposals for environmental technological projects that can be funded by the European Union and other institutions, in order to help member-capitals interested to cope with this type of problems.

They accepted the proposition of the city of Vienna to participate in "The Metropolitan Project", a project for the fifteen EU capitals and the capitals of the candidate countries, proposed initially by the City of Paris, This project will focus on the co-operation between capitals through the creation of a network of administrative experts ready to exchange their experiences and know-how in the institutional and organizational fields. Each city will designate its representative to the project, according to the attached proposal (at.Doc.No1).
They accepted in principle the Draft Statutes (at.Doc.No2) of the Conference, presented by the City of Vienna, leading to a transformation of the Conference to a Union of Capital Cities after the following specifications:
Namely:
1) the name of the Union will be, after proposition of Ljubljana, Union of Central and South-Eastern European Capitals.
2) Article 11 will state : the President of the Union serves the Mayor of the City hosting that year the Conference.
3) Article 17: the majority is of three quarters.
The Draft will be officially signed during the 6th Conference in Ljubljana.

They accepted that the 6th Conference of Mayors of South-eastern European Capitals will be held in Ljubljana entitled "The Role of Capitals in the Process of the Establishment of Safety of their Citizens in their Countries".
Extraordinary Session to visit the cities most afflicted, namely, Belgrade, Podgorica, Pristina, Skopje, Tirana, and to prepare a report to be submitted to the European Union, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the U.N. Secretary - General. The city-members will coordinate their humanitarian assistance in accordance with this report.
In conclusion, we agree to establish, following the appropriate legal procedures, a Fund to cover the special requirements of cities in need, to be financed by contributions from the Capital-City members of the Conference as well as from European and International organizations. Each city requiring resources from the Fund may benefit, following a simple and justified request without recourse to any complex procedure. Any additional request by the same city will require the formal approval of the Conference.
The Conference requests its Presidency to transmit this Declaration to the Governments of the member states of the Stability Pact for South-East Europe, as well as to the above mentioned international organizations and regional initiatives.

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6th CONFERENCE
OF THE MAYORS OF
SOUTH-EASTEARN EUROPEAN CAPITALS
Ljubljana, September 23, 2002

CHARTER

ON THE ROLE OF CAPITAL CITIES IN ESTABLISHING THE SAFETY OF THEIR CITIZENS IN THEIR COUNTRIES AND WORLD PEACE

The participants of the 6th Conference of the Mayors of South-Eastern European Capitals and the founding meeting of the Union of Central and South-Eastern European Capitals in Ljubljana on 23 September 2002, in deliberating on the subject “The Role of Capital Cities in Establishing the Safety of their Citizens in their Countries and World Peace”

have determined that


the capital cities of the countries of Central and South Eastern Europe differ in many respects, for each in its own way and in its own urban make-up reflects the diverse history of its country. Yet within this diversity, throughout their history these cities have in many respects been mutually linked, and on the basis of this multilateral communication among themselves, many similarities have emerged. While these are most visible in the concepts of architecture and urban planning, they may also be seen in the similar traditions and ways of life pursued by the residents of our cities;
historically our cities have suffered great destruction, sometimes owing to natural disasters, but more often owing to war. Yet they were always rebuilt, so that they might remain centres of economic, cultural, scientific, educational and political activity. The cities that have suffered enormous damage in the recent conflicts in South Eastern Europe, have a special need for international cooperation. The other capital cities of the wider region, which in the period of recent social change have enjoyed greater fortune, feel a duty to be involved as much as possible in this cooperation. In this respect our cities may also contribute in the most tangible way towards peace in the world as a whole;
the synergy of the common life pursued by people in cities has been and still is contributing to the great achievements in all the aforementioned areas, achievements which otherwise would have been impossible. The safety of city life is an important factor influencing the quality and quantity of these achievements, by enabling residents to be focused every day on their own activities and on the best possible coexistence with others in various partnerships, neighbourly and friendly relations. Ensuring everyday safety for persons, their property and also public property in cities has never been an easy task. And in the period of globalisation and great social change this task is becoming much harder;
our cities are faced with new challenges in preventing crime, ensuring public order and peace and ensuring traffic safety, and in particular with challenges brought by globalisation such as political terrorism, forced prostitution and economic crime. In this regard our cities must make arrangements with the relevant state services, and in this every capital city that is a member of our Union, has its own special experiences, which may be very interesting for all the other members. The changed way of life of our residents creates new conflicts on all levels of urban life, while globalisation adds to this the dangerous dimension of organised crime;
none of these dangers should in any way jeopardise our common commitment to respecting human rights. Consistent respect of human rights is an important factor of safety and therefore cities play a major part in shaping the framework for tolerance for our citizens.

We shall therefore


institute in the capital cities we represent, the principles, provisions and recommendations of the United Nations, and the European documents governing the area of human rights and safety, whereby special attention shall be accorded to the Charter on Fundamental Rights of the European Union as well as to the European Urban Charter and the Barcelona Agreement of the Cities for Human Rights, which set out specifically these principles, provisions and recommendations from the point of view of cities;
support contacts between local and international non-governmental organisations dealing with the problems of youth, unemployment, refugees, the disabled and elderly, since we are aware of the great importance of civil society activities and citizens' initiatives in ensuring safety, especially in the social field;

support joint research projects and the introduction of good practices in sensitive areas, which may contribute to raising safety;

underline the importance of the use of existing and introduction of new easily accessible systems for exchanging information, as facilitated by new technology, since the continuous exchange of experiences among the services of our cities responsible for safety, may contribute much to minimising the phenomena that threaten the safety of our cities;

develop the cooperation of our cities to improve the level of everyday safety of citizens, and in preventive measures of safety from natural and other major disasters, since these are an important factor of general safety for the entire region, which now sees the prospect of enjoying a flowering of multilateral relations. Our cities bind the concept of safety in the 21st century to openness, hospitality and mutual cooperation.

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STATUTE
OF THE UNION OF CENTRAL & SOUTHEASTERN EUROPEAN CAPITALS

SECTION I
Constitution, aims, actions, duration and headquarters
ARTICLE 1
The Union shall be formed of the Capitals of the Central and S/E European Countries. Any Capital of a Central and S/E may apply for membership of the Union. Admission shall be subject to the unanimous agreement of the member cities.
ARTICLE 2
The aim of the Union is to maintain permanent ties between the municipalities of the member cities.
The Union shall encourage exchanges between the citizens of the member cities in every field in order to develop a keen sense of European fraternity based on mutual understanding.
The Union shall contribute to the furtherance of the European idea in the member countries and in the rest of Europe.
ARTICLE 3
In accordance with its objectives the Union shall carry out studies, organise meetings and actions, and take all initiatives conducive to the promotion of economic, social and cultural progress of the citizens in the member cities of the Union.
The Union shall give priority both to exchanges of experience, information and documentation in all fields of municipal activity, and to contact between the municipal authorities local goverment officers and technicians as well as the groups, societies, associations or institutions which on various counts, are responsible to those authorities.
ARTICLE 4
In a spirit of solidarity, the Union shall endeaveour to establish or re-establish ties of friendship and cooperation with the non – members of the Union.
ARTICLE 5
Membership of the Union shall not be a barrier to the existence of ties of friendship, twinning, agreements for cooperation of privileged relations between one of its members and an other capital, town or local government body, provided that such ties do not conflict with the objectives of the Union.
Likewise, membership shall not exclude privileged relations or agreements between two or more member cities, outside the framework of the Union.
ARTICLE 6
The Union shall not pursue any objectives of an ideological, partisan or racial nature.
The Union shall not interfere in the municipal affaires of its member cities.
ARTICLE 7
The Union of Central and South - Eastern European Capitals is constituded for an unlimited period.
ARTICLE 8
The Union shall have its headquarters in the capital of the country holding the Presidency.
ARTICLE 9
The permanent secretariat is situated in City of Athens. Every member city of the Union dedicates a member to the Standing Committee, who is also the focal point of the sending city.

SECTION II
The Instruments
ARTICLE 10
The instruments of the Union are the Presidency, the General Assembly and the Standing Committee.
ARTICLE 11
The President of the Union serves the Mayor of the City hosting that year the Conference.
ARTICLE 12
The General Asembly shall consist of delegations from the member cities. It shall meet every year in the member city of the country holding the Presidency.
ARTICLE 13
The Standing Committee shall consist of as many delegates as there are member cities. The delegates shall be designated by their government authority. The Standing Committee shall meet at least twice a year.
ARTICLE 14
The General Assembly and the Standing Committee can only meet validity when at least half of their delegates attend. The General Assembly adopts the rules of procedure of the Union.

SECTION III
Union Funds

ARTICLE 15
The Union Funds shall consists of :
• Membership fees payed in by its members
• Any subsidies it may be awarded
• Other income
• Donations and legacies duly accepted by the General Assembly
ARTICLE 16
The anual membership fees due from each member shall be fixed by the General Assembly upon a proposal from the Standing Committee.

SECTION IV
Amendments to the Statute and Dissolution
ARTICLE 17
The Statute of the Union may be amended by the General Assembly with a majority of three quarters of its members.

ARTICLE 18
Dissolution of the Union shall result solely from resolution of the General Assembly passed by a three quarters' mayority of its members.
In the case of dissolution, the General Assembly shall decide on the use of the Union's liquid assets, which may only be attributed to one or more bodies, associations or institutions pursuing analogous objectives to those of the Union.

SECTION V
Miscellaneous
ARTICLE 19
The Union's official language shall be English.
ARTICLE 20
The methods of application of this statute shall be determined by internal regulations adopted by the General Assembly.

The present Statute has been signed at the 6th Conference of the Mayors of South-Eastern European Capitals and the founding meeting of the Union of Central and South-Eastern European Capitals in Ljubljana on September 23, 2002 by
ATHENS – Ms Evangelia Velenza, Vice-Mayor
BELGRADE – Ms Radmila Hrustanović, Mayor
BRATISLAVA – Mr. Josef Moravčik, Mayor
BUDAPEST – Mr. Kristov Varga, Vice Presindet of the Committee of European Integration
BUCHAREST – Mr. Christian Iftimoaie, Chief Executive- International Relations Department
KIEV – Mr. Bronislav Stychynsky, Vice Mayor
LJUBLJANA – Ms. Viktoria Potočnik, Mayor
NICOSIA – Mr. Nikos Hadjicolau, Senior Administrative Adviser
PODGORICA – Dr Miomir Mugosa, Mayor
SARAJEVO – Prof. Dr. Muhidin Hamamdžić, Mayor
SKOPJE – Mr. Goran Mihailov, Secretary of the City Council of the Skopje
SOFIA – Mr. Venzeslav Nikolov, Deputy Mayor
TIRANA – Mr. Leonidha Tosca, Chairman of the City Hall Council
VIENA – Dr. Michael Haupl, Mayor

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7th CONFERENCE
OF THE UNION OF
SOUTH-EASTEARN EUROPEAN CAPITALS
Podgorica, October 9-11, 2003

CONCLUSIONS
The participants to the 7th Conference of the Union of Central and South – Eastern European Capitals (the Union in the following text) have agreed to increase their efforts to develop the activities of the Union and to bring into life the decisions taken by the General Assembly of the Union. Three essential levels of activities are foreseen
- the political level (mayors’ meeting in the occasion of the annual session of the General Assembly)
- the technical level (experts meetings to discuss specific issues)
- the networking level (establishing networks to develop and implement projects in the framework of European programs)

The General Assembly has adopted the Internal Regulations of the Union as proposed by the Standing Committee after its meeting in Podgorica on 9th October 2003. General Assembly accepted unanimously the amendment to Article 17, presented on 10th October 2003 by the City of Athens. The amendment is accepted as paragraph 3 of the Article 17 as following text:
«The Executive Secretary has the right to make a protest, after obtaining the opinion of Standing committee, at any time and situation, that is not in accordance with the statutes of the Union».

The General Assembly has adopted the Declaration of Recognition of Common Interests in Strategic Planning of Central and South – Eastern European Capitals and strongly supports the determination to seek assistance to develop and implement specific and pilot projects to improve the strategic planning activities in member cities which will considerably contribute to a higher quality of life.
The General Assembly has examined the Proposal on Functions and Tasks of the Monitoring Unit to be set up within the Union of Central and South – Eastern European Capitals. The General Assembly considers the paper a good starting point of consideration and discussion and it entrusts the Standing Committee to elaborate it further and submit an integrated proposal for approval at the next meeting of the General Assembly.

Meanwhile a need to explore the possibilities to obtain assistance from the E.U. to develop capacity to plan, elaborate and implement European projects as Union, networks of member cities and in cooperation with other cities has been foreseen. This need is strongly felt taking into consideration the enlargement of the E.U. and it becomes even stronger if the E.U. strategy on integration of the Western Balkans and the strategy of wider neighbourhood are taken into consideration. Therefore the City of Ljubljana has declared itself willing to make such an inquiry and inform the member cities on its results = at latest during the next meeting of the Standing Committee in march 2004.
The General Assembly has agreed to develop a dialogue with the Union of Capitals of the E.U. about submitting a joint proposal to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe to invite representatives of capital cities to participate as observers to the work of the Congress’s bodies whenever issues that affect cities are discussed.

The General Assembly has agreed to express in all possible directions the Union’s support to the position put forward by the Committee of the Regions and representative associations of cities and regions concerning the implementation of the principle of active partnership among the E.U., member states and regional and local authorities in the decision-making and implementation process of the E.U. structural policy.
The General Assembly has agreed to urge in all possible directions that the local authorities benefit from the E.U. pre/accession assistance given to candidate states so as to enable them to cope with the responsibilities they will assume after a full membership in the E.U.

The General Assembly supports the pledge of the Bucharest delegation that the European Charter of Local Self/Government should be respected and fully implemented by the Romanian state authorities and therefore supports the resolution presented on this matter by the Bucharest delegation.

The General Assembly has examined the proposal on the Establishment of Tourist Offices Promoting Tourism among Member Cities. The General Assembly considers the paper a good starting point which should be elaborated further, mainly on the basis of the proposal to establish a common ²virtual tourist office² of the Union by setting up a common web site with the links to singular tourist offices of the member cities.

The General Assembly entrusts the Standing Committee to elaborate it further and submit an integrated proposal for approval at the next meeting of the General Assembly.
The General Assembly has examined the draft of the Conclusions on Pre/Olympic Events to be Held in Athens in 2004 and decided that there is no need to establish a Champion Olympic Board of the Union. At the same time the General Assembly strongly supports the proposal of the City of Athens to involve the member cities in pre/Olympic events on the eve of the games. Therefore it entrusts the Executive Secretary of the Union and the Standing Committee to coordinate the activities of the member cities to successfully put into effect the Athens proposal.
The General Assembly acknowledges that the City of Nicosia has already declared the willingness to host the General Assembly meeting in 2004. In case of unforeseeable impediments the City of Sarajevo has declared the willingness to host the General assembly meeting in 2004.
All the participants express their high appreciation to the City of Podgorica for the excellent organization of the General Assembly meeting and the warm reception they have received. They thank most sincerely the Mayor of Podgorica, Mr. Miomir Mugosa and his team for all their efforts to prepare a successful and fruitful meeting that has accomplished essential groundwork for the future activities of the Union.

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INTERNAL REGULATIONS
OF THE UNION OF CENTRAL & SOUTHEASTERN EUROPEAN CAPITALS


SECTION ONE
Definitions
ARTICLE 1
In these regulations the following words shall have the meanings hereby assigned to them:
The Union: Union of Central and South Eastern European Capitals
The General Assembly: The General Assembly of the Union
The President: The President of the Union
The Members: The members Capitals of the Union
SECTION 2
The General Assembly
ARTICLE 2
The General Assembly is constituted by the Mayors of the Member capitals or by the representatives they specifically designate for this purpose.
The General Assembly, shall meet once a year in a different capital, at the invitation of this capital. Precedence will be given by alphabetical order continuing after Ljubljana and upon agreement at a 2/3 majority.
It shall be presided by the President of the Union or, in case of prevention, by the person he/she will designate to replace him/her.
ARTICLE 3
The General Assembly shall be the deciding body of the Union.
It shall give unanimous decision on the admission of new members and shall be solely competent to decide the dissolution of the Union by a ¾ majority or an amendment to the Union Statute by a 2/3 majority.
ARTICLE 4
The date of the General Assembly meeting shall be decided by the President, after consultation with the Standing Committee.
The President shall give each of the members written notice of the General Assembly; he/she shall make sure that baring unforeseen circumstances, the Members receive the Agenda and any documents relating to the meeting to this Assembly.
The General Assembly may not be held unless at least half of the members are represented.
The President shall convene an Extraordinary General Assembly whenever this is requested by at least half of the Members. In this case it must be held within one month from the date of request.
ARTICLE 5
Meetings of the General Assembly shall be public unless otherwise requested by one of the Members.
ARTICLE 6
Each of the member capitals shall be represented officially at the General Assembly by a delegation consisting of no more than 3 persons, including the city delegate at the Standing Committee.
Should the Standing Committee delegate be absent he can be replaced by another representative of the same City.
ARTICLE 7
Each of the delegations present at the General Assembly shall have one vote.
In the case of the vote the absolute majority of the voting members is required for a decision, resolution or motion to be adopted. Exception to this rule are votes relating to the admission of new members, amendments to the statutes and dissolution of the Union.
A vote is null and void whenever it has not been taken by half of the present members.
In the case of equality of votes, the President shall have the casting vote.
ARTICLE 8
Any delegation wishing to bring up a point not on the Agenda shall submit it in writing to the President. The General Assembly will decide whether to change the Agenda.
The General Assembly may decide to form amongst its members: workshops, committees, working groups or commissions, which it deems necessary for the proper progress of work. It may also call on the experts.
ARTICLE 9
If the member city will make presentation or specially address at General Assembly, it has the possibility to address a written communication to the President.
ARTICLE 10
The President will present for approval by the General Assembly the Conclusions of the Conference prepared by the Executive Secretary, assisted by local secretariat of the presiding city.
The President shall have the Minutes drown up or each General Assembly and circulate them to the members as quickly as possible.
The Minutes shall be submitted for the approval of the next General Assembly.

SECTION 3
The President
ARTICLE 11
The President shall be the Mayor of the host Capital for the General Assembly of calendar year.
The President of the Union shall be appointed for a term of one year, from 1st January to 31st December of calendar year.
ARTICLE 12
The President shall attend to the carrying into effect of the General Assembly decisions, resolutions or motions and shall make sure they are consistent with the statutes.
He/she shall legally represent the Union.
After taking the opinion of the Standing Committee and consulting the members where necessary, he may take the appropriate decision to ensure continuity of the Union actions between two General Assemblies.

SECTION 4
The Standing Committee
ARTICLE 13
The Standing Committee shall consist of the delegates appointed by the local government authorities of the member capitals, on the basis of the principle - one delegate per capital, for a period of 3 years. Under the authority of the President it shall ensure continuity of the Union action between two meetings of the General Assembly.
ARTICLE 14
The Standing Committee shall be responsible for prompting the responsible parties to carry into effect and will follow up decisions, resolutions and motions taken during General Assemblies, for which it shall prepare the Agenda at least two months before the Conference. It shall be assisted by the Executive Secretary.
ARTICLE 15
The Standing Committee shall meet at least twice a year, once in March in Athens and once in the organizing capital of the year. The meetings are chaired by the President or his/her Representative.
The Standing Committee may charge one or more delegates from within the Standing Committee with a particular assignment or study. It may also call on experts.

SECTION V
The Permanent Secretariat
ARTICLE 16
The Permanent Secretariat is situated in Athens. It shall serve as a documentation and coordination center for the activities of the Union, assuring the continuity of the Union.
Its costs are covered by the Municipality of Athens.

SECTION VI
The Executive Secretary
ARTICLE 17
The Executive Secretary is the Head of the Permanent Secretariat. He/she is nominated by the Mayor of Athens and appointed by the General Assembly for a period of 3 years. He/she assists the President in coordinating the work of the General Assembly and coordinates activities of the Standing Committee.
The Executive Secretary has the right to make a protest, after obtaining the opinion of Standing committee, at any time and situation, that is not in accordance with the statutes of the Union

SECTION VII
Financial Management
ARTICLE 18
Management of the Union' s finances listed in the Statutes, shall be performed by a member of the Standing Committee appointed as a treasurer, by the General Assembly on proposal of the Standing Committee for a period of 3 years.
Every year he shall submit for the approval of the ordinary General Assembly the Union' s balance sheet drown up by 2 auditors appointed by the Mayor of the presiding city.
The costs of preparing the balance sheet shall be borne by the Union.
ARTICLE 19
The annual membership fees fixed by the General Assembly are minimum mandatory levels. These fees shall be collected by the treasurer after each General Assembly.
ARTICLE 20
If a member city pays higher fees than those fixed by the General Assembly, the extra amount shall be covered by separate accounting. Amounts those collected remain at the disposal of the members who have paid them and they may use them for any actions consistent with the aims of the Union.
ARTICLE 21
The host capital of the General Assembly shall bear the costs occurred by the meeting, including accommodation expenses for the official delegations.
After consulting the Standing Committee, the Union may contribute towards the costs of interpretation and translation entailed by the convening of the General Assembly.
The costs of Standing committee meetings will be covered at the same way by the city of Athens and the other hosting City.

SECTION VIII
Miscellaneous
ARTICLE 22
The Executive Secretary prepares the documents of the meetings and shall draw up the Minutes, assisted by the delegate of the preceding city. These Minutes shall be submitted for the approval of the Standing Committee at the next meeting.
ARTICLE 23
The Regulations are drawn up in a single copy in English language. A certified copy shall be given to the municipal authorities of each member city.
ARTICLE 24
These regulations will come into force as soon as they have been adopted by the General Assembly.
Adopted in Podgorica , 10th October 2003

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DECLARATION
ON RECOGNITION OF COMMON INTERESTS IN STRATEGIC PLANNING OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHEASTERN EUROPEAN CAPITALS

The participants of the 7th Conference of the Union of Central and South-Eastern European Capitals in Podgorica, on 10th October 2003

Are declaring

Common willingness for tightening local communities' relations and sincere hope that these commitments bring to results of common interests.
With these aims member Capitals agree on the following guidelines:
1: As the space in general, and that one of our Capitals in particular, is our most important resource, we have to commit us to use it in democratic, complex, careful, integrative and creative ways, considering economic and market realities as relevant and influential factors, but respecting also our social natural and cultural values.
2: The ecological dimension of the urban growth makes the integral part of the sustainability. The prosperity and future of the Region can be achieved in different and important areas, as economy, health, culture, education etc. ,only in harmony with the environment and ecology, social goals and existing urban and natural milieu.
3: Among the numerous pillars of the urban sustainability in our Capitals, we would like to stress the significance of the rational use and production of energy; more efficient traffic and transportation systems, giving priority to the public systems and traffic calming policies; better use of urban land combining public/private dialog and cooperation; more open and diversified housing typologies and strategies; maintenance and greening of our cities, with new priorities for public spaces, tolerance, security and gender oriented sensitivities.
4: In our cities we have to open (and radically) the chapter of infrastructure issues and of all kind of urban utilities –from water supply and sewage systems, to waste disposals and water treatment. “Clean cities” are the key for any quality of the urban life, but they are also related to our way of life and culture.
5: Polluted cities are harming our citizens' health and the perception of their human position. But this is also an issue related to urban dignity, education, ways of life, culture and the economy of the tourism. “Good cities” have great attraction power for visitors and foreign investors.
6: In the times of the globalization our Capitals are the very important element of our identity and the urban forms and spaces we have are the legacy of the previous generations to the future ones. What we inherited from our ancestors can never be “built again”. Old and new in cities are the great layers of continuity. The very creative use of the urban and architectural heritage is and has to become even more –a productive urban force in the social, economic and cultural transition and development.
7: As in many developed countries –we are in a period of the urban renaissance. That cannot be a new “catch-phrase” but the ground for new urban strategies to be developed within the action planning. Reconstruction, revitalization, urban readjustments, reuse of the existing – built urban lend, not to harm the surrounding agricultural land on the urban periphery, are the only possible urban strategies for our Capitals. Urban recycling and reuse of buildings and spaces, sensible changes and concentrated urban interventions can produce, in rather short time, a vital urban fabric of multifunctional integration- housing, working, shopping and leisure, nature and contacts.
8: Environmental and urban education has to be for children, students of all levels and for the public at large of our Capitals, every citizen and any social group and category. This education has to strength the all environmental issues, democratic urban practice, understanding of urban nature as an economical and social scene for everyone and in long time. Active urban roles and changes cannot be done without educated citizens of all ages who will be able to act against selfish urban consumerism, building a new, democratic, productive urban culture and reality.
9: The active role and position of any citizen in the urban development and transformations cannot be the political and declarative play of words, but has to be the main and inspiring power of the urban art and building in the spirit of sustainability, urban, social and natural ecology. It must be a pleasure for cities and planners to mobilize citizens for common urban changes.
10: Because of all those tasks we have to promote, to create and to develop new forms and methods, types and institutions/teams for the new urban planning. Our planning and plans have to be simple, understandable, efficient, flexible, open. They are only TOOLS for a democratic and permanent care for the development of our cities. We have to be realistic and visionary in the same time to cope with actual urban challenges that are in the same time the strategies and the actions, the day -to - day urban practicalities and the human dreams.
11: Sustainable urban development lies at the heart of the European goal to achieve balanced and sustainable development throughout the European territory. European Union cohesion policy aims to bring this goal closer to realization. The European Spatial Development Perspective has highlighted the significance of urban sustainability and of the spatial dimension to the goal of economic and social cohesion.
Taking into consideration the above, we believe that assistance should be provided to European cities and in particular Capitals to implement the principles of sustainable development through effective strategic and urban planning and projects that provide the necessary infrastructure to achieve sustainability. European programs and funding that promote the exchange of expertise and support the implementation of specific and pilot projects should be made available to Capitals, especially to those that are most in need of it.
Podgorica, 10th October 2003

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PROPOSALS
ON FUNCTIONS AND TASKS OF THE MONITORING UNIT
TO BE SET UP WITHIN THE UNION OF CENTRAL
AND SOUTHEASTERN EUROPEAN CAPITALS

Introduction
The shortage of capital investment resources to develop town infrastructures and services is a common problem for most of capital cities in Europe. During the recent years the situation was even worsened by the slow down of the world economy with worrying signals of stagnation and recession. Other events are likely to contribute to decrease of resources made available by international institutions for the upcoming period. The reconstruction of Afghanistan and Iraq basic infrastructures and economies will absorb growing quotas of annual transfer of resources to developing and transition economies, including, to certain extend, the Balkans countries. This situation will negatively affect, in particular, some of the capital cities that are part of the Southeast and Central Union.
In this framework it is of utmost importance for the capital cities associated in the Union to develop strategy aimed at:

maximizing resources available by improving dialogue and negotiation with international institutions and organizations;

making the most effective use of the scarce resources available, by developing projects and programs which focus on the most critical issues and that are possibly conceived to promote synergies among capital towns and between local Governments and private investors;

developing partnership among capital cities of the Union and between them and western Europe capital cities;
attracting private investment to complement and supplement public investments.
The formulation and implementation of such a strategy requires, first of all, a strong political commitment, identification of common goals and coordinated efforts of the capital cities associated in the Union.

It requires as well the establishment of a technical secretariat, the Monitoring Unit, able to provide the required documentation, technical and operational support for the implementation of the strategy.

In order to provide inputs and facilitate debate and decision making process we would like to make a concrete proposal for setting up the Monitoring Unit by identifying possible functions, operation procedures and organizational set-up.

The Monitoring Unit – envisaged functions and tasks
The Monitoring Unit should have the following objectives:
provide information to the Union Board and Union Member Cities on potential sources for supporting public investments;
develop programs and projects to address crucial cities development issues and to promote synergic partnership among members and private investments;
support lobbying activities to be performed by member cities’ political representatives.
The achievement of these objectives implies that the Monitoring Unit performs the following tasks and functions.
Collection and analysis of relevant information and documentation.
The Monitoring Unit should set up a database that identifies each Donor, International Institutions and IFI, programs, projects and credit lines currently operational and planned for the years to come. For each project, program and credit line it should be reported the amount of fund allocated, the purpose of the action, application, funding and management procedures. Information and documentation should be collected by visiting Organizations’ websites and by organizing meeting at organizations’ headquarters.
Analyze Western and Southeastern European models of successful partnership between Local Governments and private investors.
There are very positive examples in the area of Public Utilities based on concession contracts. This requires a screening of the initiatives and visits to the most promising in order to assess their results and potential for their application in the Union member cities.
Analyze Western and South-eastern European models of successful partnership between capital and other cities that are entitle to access EU funding.
The European Union has developed a number of programs aimed at different regional targets with the aim of supporting twinning initiatives and exchange of experiences. This requires a screening of the initiatives and visits to the most promising in order to assess their results and their potential for the Union member cities.
Formulation of projects and programs that focus on the most critical issues and that are possibly conceived to promote synergies among capital towns and between public and private investments.
On the basis of the analysis of current and planned donors and IFI programs, of successful model of partnership between capital cities and between local governments and private investors, of policy guidelines and investment priorities identifies by the Union Board, the Monitoring Unit should formulate specific programs and projects to be presented to donor’ organizations and IFIs. This implies that the Monitoring Units has a specific budget line to recruit external advisors able to produce required project documentation.
Operational support to lobbying activities.
While lobbying at political level for negotiating donors and IFI founding should be responsibility of the Union Board, the Monitoring Unit should ensure the follow up by establishing permanent contacts and providing all required supporting documentation.
The Monitoring Unit – envisaged operational structure
The Monitoring Unit should be a very light and efficient structure in order not to create an economic burden to the Member cities. Ideally, it should be composed by a single officer (at least in the initial phase) supplied with computer and other office equipment. The budget should include resources for travels and for recruiting short-term expert for specific programs/projects preparation. The participation of Member cities to monitoring Unit financing should be proportional to their annual revenue.
The Monitoring Unit – envisaged reporting system
The Monitoring Unit should report on its activities, on quarterly basis, to the Union Board and to each capital city. The database should be accessible via Internet to all Member cities. Ad hoc report on analysis of Western and South-eastern European models of partnership between cities and between local governments and private investors should be prepared, discussed by the Board and distributed to all member cities. Proposals for the development of specific programs/projects should be submitted and discussed by the Union Board.


ESTABLISHMENT OF TOURIST OFFICES
PROMOTING TOURISM BETWEEN MEMBER CITIES

Conclusions
Member cities of the Union of the Central Eastern European Capitals agree that every city:
• should define its unique-authentic and also possible common tourist offer;
• make an estimation of the present capability and potentials to open tourist offices in member cities, or include promotion of member cities in existing tourist networks;
• to conduct special researches to estimate an increase in the market potential of sport stadiums, recreational parks, art museums, theatres and concert halls, educational institutions, what can be achieved by joint promotions among member cities;
• to identify development and training needs with the aim to enhance the image of member cities in order to be compatible with other European capitals;
• to collect data on services and tourist offer of each member city in order to produce a «multi city visitor guide»;
• to collect data for identification of cross-cities promotional opportunities
• to make efforts finding solutions in order to provide funding for mutual promotion of member cities.
Podgorica, 10th October 2003

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8th CONFERENCE
OF THE UNION OF CENTRAL & SOUTHEASTERN
EUROPEAN CAPITALS
Nicosia, October 21-23, 2004

CONCLUSIONS
The participants to the 8th Conference of the Union of Central and South - Eastern European Capitals (UCSEEC) reviewed progress across a range of areas identified in their previous meeting and agreed to focus on pressing issues of common concern setting out the guidelines for future coordination and policy development.
The two major themes elaborated and debated during the Conference were "Co-existence of different ethnic groups in a city" and "Historic Centre Regeneration and Preservation".
I. Procedural Issues
The General Assembly approved unanimously the admission to the Union of the City of Zagreb and the Statute of the UCSEEC was dully signed by the Mayor of Zagreb Ms Vlasta Pavic.

The General Assembly confirmed the appointment of Dr Kalliopi A Bourdara, Deputy Mayor of Athens, as Executive Secretary of the UCSEEC, following her nomination by the Mayor of Athens, Ms Dora Bakoyanni.
The participants congratulated the City of Athens for the successful completion of the 2004 Olympic Games and for the innovative and citizen-friendly methods and solutions employed during the duration of the Games for the benefit of visitors, participants and citizens.

Considering the pledge in Podgorica in October 2003 to increase and develop the activities of the UCSEEC and facilitate the effective attainment of its goals, the General Assembly has agreed that it would be both useful and necessary for Meetings at Expert level to be organized on specific topics previously agreed as being of common interest. The aim would be to examine specific problems and to elaborate concrete tasks and measures among Experts. The Secretariat is authorized to call such a meeting upon the request of a Member Capital which shall act as the hosting city.
II. Review of Previous Commitments
The General Assembly was briefed on developments concerning the responsibility undertaken by the City of Ljubljana to investigate the possibilities to obtain assistance from the EU to develop capacity to plan, elaborate and implement European projects, as UCSEEC or as networks of member cities and in cooperation with other cities. The Standing Committee met in Athens in May 2004 and taking into consideration the numerous programmes and the complex procedures involved it has decided that it would be more feasible for cities to exchange information on the European programmes in which they are involved through the website that will be created for the Union.

The General Assembly was also briefed on the examination by the Standing Committee in Athens in May 2004 of the issue of the creation of the website with links to touristic information for member cities and its decision to propose that the website of the Union would accommodate both links to touristic information for member cities and information regarding their participation in EU programmes.

It welcomed the work conducted on the UCSEEC website by Podgorica and decided to develop the UCSEEC website further as a potential virtual forum whereby Members can, in the spirit also of paragraph 7 above, exchange information and pursue partnerships both for EU funded projects but also on broader tourism promoting initiatives. Following the conclusions of last year’s conference the Permanent Secretariat in Athens would have the responsibility of maintaining and updating the website based on the information provided by the member cities. For that reason cities are invited to publish all information related to the topics of common interest at the website in the page entitled “EU monitoring”.

As a first and practical step capital cities from EU Member States were encouraged to seek to invite and give priority to the cities from non EU Member States when submitting proposals for EU assistance so that they are able to develop experiences and networks.
The General Assembly reviewed progress on the effort to establish a dialogue with the Union of Capitals of the EU to submit a joint proposal to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe to invite representatives of the capital cities to participate as observers to the work of the Congress’s bodies. The contact has been made by the City of Nicosia but it was agreed that the matter requires further consideration as to the feasibility and success of such a project.
III. Recent Developments
The General Assembly reviewed the broader European developments in the course of the last 12 months and welcomed the enlargement of the European Union as of 1 May 2004.

The General Assembly welcomed the application for accession to the European Union by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia seen as a step in the integration of the Balkans into the EU. It also welcomed the acceptance of Croatia as a candidate country for accession. The General Assembly welcomes the adoption of the Wider Neighbourhood Policy of the European Union which establishes a new basis for cooperation between regions and cities of EU and non EU Member Capitals.

The General Assembly welcomed the agreement on a new Constitutional Treaty for the European Union in June this year to be signed on 29 October 2004 as strengthening the role of local and regional authorities in a new Constitutional order of the European Union. The General Assembly expressed the hope that with the ratification of the Constitution new opportunities of cooperation will arise between local authorities in the EU and those outside the EU.
IV. Coexistence of Different Ethnic Groups in a City
The General Assembly debated at length the pressing challenges arising from the coexistence of different ethnic groups in Capital cities, the obligations towards ethnic minorities, the integration of legal immigrants and in some cities growing problems of illegal immigration. It recognised that cities have fragmented structures not only as a result of the arrival of immigration waves but due to historical conflicts.
Capital cities throughout history and by nature have been a focal point for immigrants. In recent years the problems have in some cases been accentuated in certain cities, leading to the congregation of ethnic groups in specific areas and to economic, social and cultural alienation from the local environment. The General Assembly maintained that cities need to rethink their approach and to seek methods of addressing these issues more effectively.

The General Assembly agreed on a framework aimed at promoting and integrating the principles of social inclusion, tolerance, diversity, multiculturalism across all policy areas and encouraged the adoption measures for the participation of immigrants to society and in the political process.
The General Assembly, however, acknowledged that though migration issues (minorities, illegal immigration, asylum) are the political responsibility of national governments, the effects are shouldered by local authorities and in particular large cities and that regardless of the political will expressed by UCSEEC it was necessary for governments to seize the initiative in this area.

The General Assembly therefore concluded that it is crucial that Cities and Governments establish a bridge of communication to coordinate their action more closely. Their effort should focus on the introduction of anti-discriminatory legislation and effective measures of integration and harmonious coexistence

The General Assembly itself expressed the firm commitment of its Member capitals to establish bridges with ethnic group representatives, non governmental organisations, social partners and state authorities to achieve the integration of its framework of principles into broader policy formation.

The General Assembly also discussed exhaustively a number of ways of promoting the above framework and to generate public awareness and agreed that the most efficient way would be to identify concrete projects that would be of mutual interest to indigenous populations and to the ethnic groups and which would involve social partners and NGOs.

To this end the Union will seek participation of its Member Cities in EU programmes such as INTERREG III and Actions on Raising Awareness on Social Inclusion so as to finance further study of these issues and primarily the identification of best practices and existing projects. Member of the Union which are from EU Member States were encouraged to take the lead and include the non EU Member Cities in the above mentioned networks as partners.
V. Historic Centre Regeneration and Preservation.
On several occasions the very fruitful debate on co-existence of ethnic groups also addressed the theme of Historic Centre Regeneration and Preservation given the fact that some centres have through time attracted immigrants or have been abandoned.
The General Assembly maintained that Historic Centre Regeneration and Preservation would contribute decisively towards the alleviation of some of the problems faced by city centres in relation also to the integration of ethnic groups.

All Members agreed that historic urban centres face similar structural and development problems accentuated by demographic problems, subsequent decrease in economic activity, the abandonment of premises, their dereliction and disintegration and therefore in many instances the isolation and visual obscuring of historical sites and buildings. The result is the inability of the City to make proper use of the potential of historic centres for its own citizens and in an increasingly competitive tourist sector.

The General Assembly heard the experience of Nicosia and its citizens with its historical centre divided by a ceasefire line. It acknowledged the success of the Nicosia Master Plan which under difficult circumstances and over a long stretch of time has illustrated how a concrete project of mutual benefit can on the one hand help the regeneration and preservation of a historic centre and on the other hand build bridges of communication and a platform of mutual understanding.

The General Assembly has agreed to seek participation of its Member Cities in EU programmes such as INTERREG III, EU Structural Funds and Culture Programmes so as to finance further study of these issues and primarily the identification of best practices and actual projects. In line with Paragraph 8 of these conclusions Member capitals from EU Member States were encouraged to take the lead and include the non EU Member Cities in the above mentioned networks as partners.
VI. Declaration
The General Assembly has unanimously adopted the Declaration on the coexistence of different ethnic groups in cities and on historic center regeneration and preservation (in annex).
Final Remarks
The General Assembly agreed – as per Paragraph 18 of these conclusions that – member capitals would inform and provide their respective governments of their deliberations and the concerns raised by the UCSEEC. It was agreed that the Executive Secretary would inform the Committee of the Regions and the European Commission of the results of this Conference.

The General Assembly acknowledges that the City of Sarajevo declared its willingness in the previous meeting to host the General Assembly meeting in 2005. If the interest of the City of Sarajevo is not confirmed by the end of November 2004, the City of Sofia has declared the willingness to host the General assembly meeting in 2005.
All the participants express their high appreciation to the City of Nicosia for the excellent organization of the General Assembly meeting and the warm reception they have received. They thank most sincerely the Mayor of Nicosia, Mr. Michalakis Zampelas and the Municipal Council for all their efforts to prepare a successful and fruitful meeting that has accomplished essential groundwork for the future activities of the Union.

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DECLARATION
ON THE COEXISTENCE OF DIFFERENT ETHNIC GROUPS IN CITIES
AND ON HISTORIC CENTRE REGENERATION AND PRESERVATION

The participants to the 8th Conference of the Union of Central and South - Eastern European Capitals (UCSEEC) in Nicosia, on 22 October 2004,
Having heard the presentation on the problems and their causes and the possible solutions associated with the coexistence of different ethnic groups and having debated the subject,
Having heard the presentation on the problems and the prospects associated with the issue of Historic Centre Regeneration and Preservation and having debated the subject,
Have adopted the following declaration :


A. On the coexistence of different ethnic groups in cities
Recognising the multidisciplinary nature of the coexistence of different ethnic groups and the great political, economic, social and cultural significance of the subject matter,
Having identified that the problems faced by the capital cities members of the Union are similar, as are their causes,
Understanding that the free movement of people today in combination with the principles of fundamental human rights, impose specific challenges, duties and responsibilities on behalf of the host community,
Acknowledging that though issues such as minorities, illegal immigration and asylum are the political responsibility of national government the effects and burdens are shouldered by local authorities and in particular large cities,
Appreciating the great potential and benefits to be enjoyed from the facilitation of peaceful coexistence of different ethnic groups in a dynamic multicultural and diverse society,
Having considered the innovative policies that different capital cities have employed in dealing with the issue and taking into consideration the Summary Report on Integration of the Immigrant population in European Capitals of the XLIII General Assembly of the UCEU (Union of Capitals of the European Union), and the November 2003 deliberations of the Annual General Meeting of Eurocities on the Integration of the Immigrant Populations in European Capitals,
The General Assembly has agreed on the framework of principles aimed at promoting and integrating the principles of social inclusion, tolerance, diversity, multiculturalism across all policy areas and has decided :

1. To support a more active involvement of the local authorities and to encourage the establishment of bridges of communication between Cities and Governments in order to coordinate their action more closely in an attempt to introduce effective measures of integration and harmonious coexistence.
2. To urge their respective governments to provide them with a more effective legal framework, delegated powers and financial means to facilitate coexistence.
3. To stress that facilitating the coexistence of different ethnic groups is a horizontal policy issue and therefore all other policies, such as urban planning, trade, education and culture, should be compatible and enhance the objective of coexistence.
4. To express its firm commitment to establish bridges of communication with all interested parties (ethnic group representatives, non governmental organisations, social partners and state authorities).
5. To underline that the first decisive step in dealing with these problems must be the recognition of the existence of the problem by the State and the society at large.
6. To generate public awareness of the problems associated with the coexistence of different ethnic groups and to work to improve the prevailing climate.
7. To organise practical actions ranging from festivals to information days, celebrating multiculturalism and disseminating information about ethnic groups, to create respect and tolerance.
In line with Paragraphs 8,21 & 22 of the Conclusions of the 8th Conference of the Union of Central and South-Eastern European Capitals, the General Assembly resolves to seek cooperation between its member cities in concrete projects to be executed through the participation in EU programmes in the field of the coexistence of different ethnic groups.
The member cities from countries of the EU are encouraged to take the lead in this initiative to form networks with capital cities from non-EU countries.

B. On historic center regeneration and preservation
Recognising the economic, social and cultural importance of the historic centers of the capital cities, and that careful management of these assets can result in income generation, development of skilled employment and further investment,
Acknowledging that historic centers are not independent entities but form integral parts of the city as a whole and that their integration into the life pattern of the modern society is of fundamental importance within the framework of a strategic vision for the wider urban area,
Appreciating the contribution that appropriately planned regeneration of historic centers can have for the economically, socially and environmentally sustainable development of cities,
Appreciating the requirement to achieve a balance between preserving our heritage and meeting modern demands and needs,
Having identified that the problems faced by the historic centers of all the capital cities members of the Union are similar as are their causes,
Taking note of the fact that historic centers have been in decline, endangering the existence of many elements of the heritage and identity of the cities,
Believing in the great potential and social, economic and cultural benefits to be enjoyed from the regeneration and preservation of the historic centers,
Having considered how different modalities and approaches could apply to different cities depending on their particularities,
The General Assembly has concluded that the cornerstone of any successful regeneration and preservation process of a historic city center should include :

- The setting of appropriate goals defined by the circumstances and needs of the city;
- Proper strategy and planning after careful evaluation of alternative approaches such as through a business or social or culture led regeneration;
- Adoption and implementation of the best suited measures;
- Strict Monitoring

Accordingly it has adopted the following guidelines :
- Any measures must take into account the character of the specific historic environment and its distinctiveness, understand the importance of the historic urban tissue and of its architecture and accept the context within which sensitive intervention is required;
- The role of the local authorities should be to define innovative regeneration delivery mechanisms, legal instruments as well as appropriate institutional structures including various forms of partnerships;
- The strategy formulation and the delivery processes must be participatory and inclusive involving the local community and all interested parties;
- The local authority should cease to act as the sole provider of services and projects and should seek to enrich its resources and capacity for delivery by assuming the role of the enabler and “city manager”. In this context the local authority must identify needs, guide and promote opportunities for local partnerships and enable them to take joint strategic decisions and actions.

Moreover, the participants of the 8th Conference of the Union of Central and South-Eastern European Capitals expressed their willingness to promote public awareness within their cities regarding these issues.

The General Assembly resolves to continue its efforts for cooperation, exchanging experiences and good practices.

It expresses its commitment to the relevant EU policies regarding the principles and mechanisms of delivery in this fiels.

In line with Paragraphs 8 & 28 of the Conclusions of the 8th Conference of the Union of Central and South-Eastern European Capitals it resolves to seek cooperation between its member cities in concrete projects to be executed through the participation in EU programmes in the field of historic center regeneration and preservation.

The member cities from countries of the EU are encouraged to take the lead in this initiative to form networks with capital cities from non-EU countries.
Nicosia, 22nd October 2004

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9th CONFERENCE
OF THE UNION OF CENTRAL & SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPEAN CAPITALS
Athens, December 4-5, 2006

CONCLUSIONS

1.The General Assembly expressed its appreciation to City of Athens initiative to establish ten years ago, in 1995, the “Conference of the Mayors of the Capitals of the Southeastern Europe”.

2. The General Assembly acknowledged that over the past ten years this regional institution successfully promoted collaboration between the cities and created an environment of understanding in the area.

3. The General Assembly recognized that the significant cultural and historical links throughout the entire area of Central and Southeastern Europe can lead to overall changes for a better future for the cities and their citizens that are the first victims of local and regional conflicts.

4. The General Assembly expresses its intention to continue the operation of a sustainable network of collaboration in order to promote the economic, social, cultural and political achievements of the cities and promote the tourism and cultural activities of the member cities of the Union.

5. The General Assembly will encourage the cooperation between the capital cities and European Organizations in order to promote the process of political stability, democratization and harmonization of relations between peoples of diverse ethnic groups, culture, language and religious traditions.

6. The General Assembly will support a just and viable solution for the Kosovo issue according to the European standards and values, respecting the international legality as guaranteed by the United Nations and protecting the regional stability.

7. The General Assembly debated at length the issue of fiscal decentralization that has recently gained momentum in many of local economies in Eastern and Central Europe. Actually many EU member states are currently subject to a trend of fiscal decentralization. This increases the importance of arrangements and rules for all levels of government in order to coordinate the overall fiscal position and ensure compliance with EU fiscal rules.

8. The General Assembly acknowledged that fiscal decentralization could promote more flexible politics, more innovation, as well as improvement and more efficient provision of public services.

9. The General Assembly discussed extensively on a number of ways in promoting the issue of fiscal decentralization and agreed on a framework of measures to this end.

10. The General Assembly acknowledged that adequate financial resources must be put at the disposal of local authorities that should be given progressively full responsibility on local tax administration and collection, municipal property management, urban planning and land use.

11. The General Assembly also underlined that effective budget management, financial supervision, auditing and adequate training of local stuff and elected representatives enhances legitimacy and accountability of public authorities as well as citizen participation and consequently increases local authorities trustworthiness and local borrowing capacity.

12. The General Assembly concluded that it is crucial that local authorities are more actively involved to urge their respective governments to provide them with a more effective legal framework and delegated powers to facilitate fiscal decentralization.

13. The General Assembly welcomed the creation of the website of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals by the Cities of Athens and Podgorica. The website would accommodate both links to touristic information for member cities and information regarding their participation in EU programmes.

14. The General Assembly has unanimously adopted the attached Declaration on the 10th Anniversary of the Union and on Fiscal Decentralization for the better services for the citizens.

15. The General Assembly acknowledges that the City of Sarajevo has declared the willingness to host the General Assembly Meeting in 2006. In case of unforeseeable impediments the City of Kiev has declared the willingness to host the General Assembly meeting in 2006.

16. The General Assembly has unanimously adopted Mayor of Athens’ proposal to establish a technical Committee of Experts composed by members appointed by the member cities of the Union. Its purpose would be, first to review past decisions and discover the reasons for their non-implementation and, second, to suggest either ways for their final implementation or reasons for discontinuing them.

17. The General Assembly agreed that experts appointed by the cities of Belgrade, Budapest, Sofia, Tirana and Vienna would compose said Committee of Experts. Said cities undertook the obligation to notify the Permanent Secretariat of the Union of the names of the appointed experts the latest up to January 15, 2005.

18. The General Assembly agreed that the Committee of Experts would proceed, first to the clearing of the records of the Union, so that decisions could be taken during the next General Assembly meeting as to what can be implemented or not and, second to the proposal of new ideas. The Committee should report its findings to the next Standing Committee meeting to be held in Athens.

19. The General Assembly expressed its high appreciation to the City of Athens for the excellent organization of the General Assembly meeting and the warm reception they had received.

20. The General Assembly also thanked the Mayor of Athens, Dora Bakoyannis for all her efforts to prepare a successful and fruitful meeting that has accomplished essential groundwork for the future activities of the Union.

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DECLARATION
On the 10th anniversary of the Union of Central and Southeastern
European Capitals

And
On Fiscal decentralization for the better services for the citizens

The participants of the 9th Conference of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals in Athens, on 5 December 2005,

Have adopted the following declaration:

On the 10th anniversary of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals

We the Mayors and representatives of Central and Southeastern European Capitals,

Have assembled in Athens to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals,

Recognizing:

- The important role of this regional institution that successfully succeeded to build bridges of cooperation between the administrations of the capital cities, promoted collaboration between cities and local authorities and created an environment of understanding in the area,

- That the significant historical, cultural and historical links throughout the entire area can lead to overall changes for a better future for the cities and their citizens,

- That cities and citizens being the first victims of local and regional conflicts and of phenomena of violence and terrorism can become the driving force towards internal and international peace and security,

We confirm our determination to:

- Continue the operation of a sustainable network of collaboration in order to promote the economic, social, cultural and political achievements of the cities,

- Support the promotion of tourism and cultural activities and putting forward the historic and cultural values of the cities,

- Create better living conditions and quality of life for the citizens of the capitals cities in order to create a better social environment and preserve regional stability,

- Reinforce and encourage the cooperation between the capital cities and European organizations in order to promote the process of political stability, democratization and the harmonization of relations between peoples of diverse ethnic groups, culture, language and religious traditions,

- Support and welcome a just and viable solution for the Kosovo issue according to the European standards and values, thus respecting the international legality as guaranteed by the United Nations and protecting the regional stability.

On the issue of fiscal decentralization for the better services for the citizens

We, the Mayors and representatives of Central and Southeastern European Capitals,

Having identified that:

- Local authorities face new responsibilities without being equipped with the necessary resources,
- Higher level actors are not strong enough to perform their coordination functions properly,

- Participation mechanisms are insufficient for the citizens to control or influence the political decision makers

Recognizing that the promotion of decentralization and local self-government aims at:

- Greater efficiency and higher quality in public service delivery,

- More transparent public administration,

- Promotion of democracy through opportunities for participation in local democratic structures,

- Local economic growth and reduction of the risk of social conflict by facilitating the participation of various interest groups

Acknowledging that a fiscally decentralized state has the following advantages:

- More flexible politics. In all societies, citizens differ in their demand for services provided by the state. These differences are the result of heterogeneous tastes, as well as the result of unequal economic conditions. Such differences must be met by differentiated supply policies if citizens’ preferences are to be fulfilled.

- More innovation. In a decentralized system, innovations in public goods supply or taxation can be implemented first in those local units where the conditions are ideal for success. Moreover, a particular local unit finds it less risky to undertake innovations in public goods supply or taxation because the effects are limited and can be better observed and controlled. If the innovation is unsuccessful, not much is lost. If it proves to be successful, others will quickly adopt it.

- More efficient provision of public services. The public sector’s efficiency is extremely important due to the large size of today’s public sectors regarding the share of government in national income, the proportion of public officials in total employment, the dependence of part of the population on income distributed by the government and the resources that go into tax collection.

- Improvement of the delivery of services as citizen participation and accountability tend to increase the responsiveness of public policies, especially in the social sector.

Declare that:

- Fiscal decentralization is crucial for a successful devolution process that will entrench democratic institutions, reinforce their credibility, strengthen and maintain high level of citizen participation and support for democracy.

- Adequate financial resources must be put at the disposal of local authorities to fulfill their role in maintaining cohesion, promoting economic well being and fostering sustainable development.

- Local authorities should be given progressively full responsibility on local tax administration and collection, rights over and management of municipal property, urban planning and land use.

- A more active involvement of local authorities and to encourage the establishment of bridges of communication between cities and governments.

- State and local authorities should cooperate on budget matters. Fiscal decentralization calls for the establishment of appropriate institutional dialogue and implies the necessity to reinforce the capability of local authorities to engage effectively such a dialogue through national associations capable to represent and safeguard the interest of all local authorities in their respective countries.

- Their respective governments to provide them with a more effective legal framework and delegated powers to facilitate fiscal decentralization.

- Effective budget management, financial supervision and auditing should be construed as means of improving the effectiveness of local government, transparency and political accountability and promote sound finance strategies.

- Budgetary capabilities, transparency in financial accounts, credibility in managing own affairs and openness in the policy making process at local level could lead to the increase of local borrowing capacity.

- Adequate training of local stuff and elected representatives to enhance effectiveness, efficiency and quality of the management of public affairs and service delivery to the citizens reinforces the trustworthiness of local authorities and implies that the legitimacy and accountability of public authorities and institutions is enhanced and that citizen participation at local level is actively promoted.

Moreover, the participants of the 9th Conference of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals expressed their willingness to promote public awareness within their cities regarding this issue.

The General Assembly resolves to continue its efforts for cooperation, exchanging experiences and good practices.

The General Assembly expresses its commitments to the relevant EU Policies and agreed that the Executive Secretary would inform the Committee of the Regions and the European Commission of the present declaration.

Athens, December 5, 2005

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Meeting of the committee of experts
Athens, 31-8 / 1-9-2006

Report

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10th CONFERENCE
OF THE UNION OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHEASTERN EUROPEAN CAPITALS
Sarajevo, October 5-7, 2006

CONCLUSIONS

Taking into acount the fact that capitals as well as states are stronlgy impacted by regional and global changes in the modern world and that because of that, their roles need to adapt to new demands and challenges, and with the expectation that capitals can be the principal sources of positive influence on the overall democratic and other processes of transition, participants of the Conference hereby adopt the following conclusions :

  1. We invite governments of the states participating in the UCSEEC to continue working to create conditions that would allow the capitals’ democratic bodies to act independently, in unison, swiftly and effectively, in the way required by the pace of modern economic, social and any other development, for the purpose of providing quality service to their citizens.
  1. We invite governments of states in the process of accession to the European Union to utilise and apply all the positive experiences in the area of status, functioning and financing of capitals of the states already in the European Union.
  1. We invite governments of states in the process of accession of the European Union to intensify their efforts towards increasing the competences of capitals, through faster and more efficient harmonisation of legislation in compliance with applicable regulations and standards of the European Union.
  1. We invite governments of the states participating in the UCSEEC to ensure an effective system of financing of their capitals and to strengthen their role in the process of local economic developments.
  1. Members of the UCSEEC invite the European Union and other international organizations to participate in the financing of joint strategic projects by the capitals, in order to improve regional cooperation, economic prosperity and stabiblity of the region.
  1. Capitals of members of the UCSEEC are invited to define common interests and stategic projects leading towards greater freedom of movement of persons, goods, capitals and ideas.
  1. Capitals of the UCSEEC undertake to continue supporting environmentally sustainable economic development, under conditions of global networking, underscoring their European focus in the process of designing what the region has to offer.
  1. For the purpose of securing quality preparation for fulfilment of numerous conditions arising from EU membership, capitals of states in the process of accesion to the EU are invited to establish a common coordination body, tasked with managing and coordinating the EU accesssion campaign.
  2. In its future work the Union will pay attention to, in addition to the events intended for youth, events referring to the promotion of tourism resources and economy, promotion and protection of historical cultural heritage and cultural activities of the cities. Union’s permanent committee will form working groups consisting of those representatives of Union city members, which will propose and lead projects in respective areas within their framework.
  1. During 2007 the city of Sarajevo will host following event : meeting of the Youth of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals called : “Youth building the bridges of friendship”. Representatives from Belgrade, Budapest and Zagreb will assist in preparation of this project in accordance with the needs of Organiser. Secretariat Headquarters will be in Athens, while Sarajevo will act as host for this event.
  1. The City of Skopje will be the host of the 11th Conference of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals

DECLARATION

Participants of the 10th Conference of the Union of Central and South-eastern European Capitals express their shared desire to determine principles of organisation of capitals, which are to be treated and respected as the right of all the citizens to live in a harmonious urban environment, in an environment where culture, spirituality, tradition and solidarity are free to develop, and to thus preserve and protect municipal civic dignity and principles of local democracy.
As modern metropolitan centres, capitals play an important role in developing and strengthening democratic societies, protecting human rights, preserving and developing cultural and religious identities, education, political though, national affiliation and social security.
In modern times, capitals are the link in the process of developing cooperation between regions and cities and are an important factor in international relations, with a special role and rensponsibility effected by the capitals in this process.
Wishing to improve and advance the organisation and functioning of capitals of Central and South-eastern Europe, and on the basis of views presented, participants of the 10th Conference of the Union of Central and South-eastern European Capitals have adopted the

DECLARATION
On Principles of Organisation of Central & South-eastern European Capitals

  1. Capitals indicate the necessity of constitutional and legislative amendment of regulations relevant for defining the status, position and character of capitals, particularly in states in an ongoing and intense transition.

Capitals should secure the highest level of local self-governance and autonomy, typical of territorial units which hold special powers in the field of political, administrative and normative regulations, as well as the need for domestic regulation on local self-governance to be harmonised whith the European Charter on Local Self-Governance and the European City Charter.

  1. Capitals indicate the need for the status of capitals to be regulated through adoption of laws on the capital, thus allowing for more rapid and more effective harmonisation of local legislation with standards and regulations of the European Union.
  1. Capitals indicate the need for precise regulation of competences between different levels of governance, as well as the relationship between city governments and central, regional and local governments. At that, due regard should be afforded to the needs of modern capitals, as well as those of the state, and the existence of intense interdependence and conditionality between the functioning of a capital and that of a modern state. This close connection between the functions of capitals and states arises from identical fundamental democratic aims.
  1. Capitals indicate the need to improve the quality of administrative services in terms of faster, simpler and more effective response to different request by citizens and the society.

Capitals must have efficient administrations and creative management capable of responding to specific requirements of economic integration, regional cooperation, market economy and the ever growing demands by the citizens and their associations.

  1. Capitals indicate the need for rational organisation, based on highest level of institutional autonomy, allowing for more open articulation of development policies and development decision-making.

Successful organisation and functioning of city administrations is a necessary precondition for cooperation between capitals and respective states and the need for synchronisation of actions shared by the capital, the region and the state.

  1. Capitals indicate the need to decentralise and transfer certain powers and rights from higher levels of governance to the capitals and to develop the capacities of local governments.

In discharging their regular functions, capitals shall provide support and incentives for the role of central and regional bodies of governance, strengthening and developing, at the same time, competences at the local level.

  1. Capitals indicate the need to develop an efficient financing system, through the establishment of their own sources of revenues.

It is necessary for capitals to dispose of adequate financial resources, in order to fulfil their role in efficient provision of public services and in ensuring sustainable economic development. Capitals are the key areas of economic transformation and that is why they need to establish good infrastracture and administrative conditions for foreign investments, particularly in countries in transition.

Sarajevo, October 5-7, 2006

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11th CONFERENCE
OF THE UNION OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHEASTERN EUROPEAN CAPITALS

During their Conference held in Skopje on 19 October 2007, the Mayors and
representatives of Central and Southeastern European capitals came to the
following conclusions:

CONCLUSIONS


1. The capital cities of the UCSEEC invite their governments to assist
them in creating better conditions and therefore allow them to play an
important role in the realisation of the Lisbon Agenda.

2. The capitals also invite the EU institutions to acknowledge their
importance and to provide transparent dialogue between the European
Commission and the local authorities.

3. The capital cities of the UCSEEC invite their governments to facilitate
the access of local authorities in the decision-making processes,
especially when it comes to setting priorities for urban issues.

4. The capital cities of the UCSEEC invite their governments to guarantee
a more effective system for financing them in order to promote good
conditions for economic development.

5. For the purpose of prosperity, security and peaceful coexistence in
Central and Southeastern European countries, it is important to put
special emphasis on regional cooperation.

6. The capital cities support the initiatives for joint projects and agree to
enhance the possibilities for future regional cooperation.

7. The General Assembly of the UCSEEC appointed Dr. Kalliopi (Kelly)
A. Bourdara as Executive Secretary for the period 2007 - 2010.

8. The General Assembly acknowledges the willingness of the City of
Sofia to host the 12th Conference of the Union of Central and
Southeastern European Capitals.

9. The 1st Meeting of the Youth of Central and Southeastern European
Capitals which was successfully held in July. 2007 in Sarajevo, has
been considered as a very positive experience. The General Assembly
agrees that decisions regarding the 2nd Youth Meeting will be taken by
the Standing Committee, in Athens, in March 2008.

10. The General Assembly also thanked the Mayor of Skopje, Mr. Trifun
Kostovski, for all his efforts to prepare a successful and fruitful meeting
that has accomplished essential groundwork for the future activities of
the Union.

In Skopje, October 19, 2007

11th Conference
of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals
Skopje, 18-20 October 2007

Participants of the 11th Conference of the Union of Central and South-Eastern European Capitals hereby adopt the following:

DECLARATION
On the principles of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals

The Capitals of Central and South Eastern Europe reaffirm the motto of the 11th Conference, to imrove their role of important partners of the EU.

The participants agree that the capital cities are committed to delivering higher social and environmental standards and to ensuring that everyone is able to enjoy a good quality of life. They have a major role to play in helping to deliver the objectives of European policies and strategies in favor of cohesion, employment, economic growth and sustainable development. The national governments have much to gain from the knowledge and expertise which exists in capital cities.

The participants highlighted the EU goal of becoming the world’s most competitive economic area and scientific community by the year 2010. They have agreed that this goal cannot be reached, however, without further consolidating the potential for development in the old and the new member states. This is particularly true for the major cities and the capital cities with their roles as multiplicators for the regions surrounding them and their states in general. Capital cities are of great importance for the economic strength of and social cohesion and sustainable development in their respective states. Strengthening this potential will automatically have an effect on the overall competitiveness of the EU.

Therefore, they call on the European Union institutions to:

  1. acknowledge the importance of the capital cities, and
  2. provide a systematic and transparent dialogue between the European Commission and the representatives of local authorities

Having in mind that Cities generate 75-85% of the EU's GDP, creating a high-quality urban environment is a priority of the renewed Lisbon Strategy – to "make Europe a more attractive place to invest and work" – in order to enhance its potential for economic growth and job creation. However, capital cities in Europe are suffering heavily from congestion, pollution, high noise levels and social exclusion.

Therefore, the participants agree that capital cities as well as other big cities play a decisive role as engines of development for the regions surrounding them. In that sense, the national governments should recognize the role of capital cities as development engines for national and regional development, consider them as key partners, give priority to linkages between urban and regional development as well as potential areas within a city.

Also, they consider that it is crucial that,in addition to the national governments, the capital cities should also be involved in the decision-making processes when it comes to setting priorities for urban programs.  In this process it is very important to bear in mind that  Southeastern European cities face many difficulties after years of transition.

Capitals should secure the highest level of local self-governance and autonomy, typical of territorial units which hold special powers in the field of political, administrative and normative regulations. We should bear in mind the need for domestic legislation on local self-governance to be harmonized with the European Charter on Local Self-governance and the European City Charter.

Capitals are the key areas of economic transformation. Therefore, they need to establish good infrastructure and administrative conditions for foreign investments, particularly in transition countries. It is necessary for capitals to have adequate financial resources at their disposal, in order to fulfill their role in efficient provision of public services and in ensuring sustainable economic development.

Therefore, the participants call for fair redistribution of the assets collected from the citizens by the state, at national or local level.

The representatives of capital cities strongly believe that regional cooperation is of primary importance for prosperity, security and peaceful coexistence in Central and Southeastern  Europe. The regional cooperation also has a very important role to play in the development of economy. 

  1. They declare their common desire for commitment to better understanding of their role in the regional context and the global market and to identifying the synergy potential and the main areas of joint actions.

With their potential, especially their human resource potential, capital cities play a central role for the competitiveness of European economy and European social and cultural development. In this context, city networking and projects, based on partnership are particularly beneficial.

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12th Conference
of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals
Tirana, October 28-30, 2009

CONCLUSIONS
the Union may be amended by the General Assembly with a majority of three quarters of its members
During the Conference held in Tirana on the 28th and 29th October 2008, the Mayors and representatives of Central and Southeastern European capitals came to the following conclusions:

  1. The General Assembly acknowledged that Local Self-Governance intends the right and effective ability of the local authorities to regulate and manage, according to the law, under their responsibilities and to the benefit of their citizens a considerable part of public affairs and that public responsibilities should be exercised preferably by the authorities closest to the citizens.
  2. Local authorities should be ensured the free execution of their competencies, within the limits of the law and in accordance with the Constitution or the domestic legislation,
  3. The Capital Cities of the UCSEEC have agreed that the principle of the decentralization of power should in its essence entail the assignment to the local government authorities of the administration of the territory under their jurisdiction.
  4. The urban planning and land management should be within the competencies of the local authorities which should be, through the freedom and authority to take decisions, responsible for their implementation.
  5. The Capital Cities of the UCSEEC expressed their willingness to develop the needed framework for the local authorities to have wide range responsibilities achievable at local level.
  6. The Capital Cities of the UCSEEC expressed their commitment to support the promotion of decentralization and local self-government.
  7. The General Assembly acknowledges the willingness of the City of Vienna to host the 13th Conference of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals.
  8. The 1st Meeting of the Youth of Central and Southeastern European Capitals which was successfully held in July 2007 in Sarajevo, has been considered as a very positive experience. The General Assembly recognizing the significance of such meetings have agreed on the following guidelines:

Youth Meetings shall be held once a year, in a different Capital, at the invitation of this Capital. Precedence shall be given by alphabetical order.
The number of participants should be limited to 3 to 5 youngsters, between the ages of 16 to 25, with a fluent capacity in english, and additionally 1 or 2 accompanying persons.
The host capital of the Meeting shall decide on the budget and on the expenses it shall bear on each occasion. If needed, participation fees shall be requested.

    • The General Assembly expressed its high appreciation to the City of Tirana for the excellent organization of the General Assembly meeting and the warm reception they had received.
    • The General Assembly also thanked the Mayor of Tirana, Mr. Edi Rama for all his efforts to prepare a successful and fruitful meeting that has accomplished essential groundwork for the future activities of the Union.

    DECLARATION
    OF THE MAYORS OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHEASTERN EUROPEAN CAPITALS 
    On territory planning and management by local government authorities
    The participants of the 12th Conference of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals in Tirana, on 29 October 2008, hereby adopt the following:
    Based on the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Governance,
     They recognize:

    1. The citizens’ right to be involved in public affairs management, which is a fundamental democratic principle,
    2. That this right can be exercised more directly at local level,
    3. That the existence of local government authorities empowered with effective responsibilities, can enable a management that is efficient and close to the citizens,
    4. That this entails the existence of local authorities endowed with democratically constituted decision-making bodies, which have a wide degree of autonomy regarding the competencies, ways of executing, and resources required for the fulfilment of their mission,

    Acknowledging that:

    1. The basic competencies of the local authorities should be determined by the constitution or law,
    2. Local authorities, according to the law, should have full right to exercise their initiative on any matter that is within their competency and not assigned to another authority,
    3. This right is exercised by councils or assemblies composed of members elected through free, equal, secret, direct and universal voting, which may have executive bodies responsible to them,
    4. The administrative supervision of local authorities should be exercised in such a way as to ensure that the intervention of the controlling authority is kept in proportion to the importance of the interests which it is intended to protect,

    Having identified:

    1. The importance of the right of local government authorities to exercise their initiatives in fields of action applied at a local level, to the benefit of the local population,
    2. That matters of territory planning and management are of great significance to the achievement of the local population’s welfare and sustainable urban development,
    3. That planning, territory and urban management matters would be more effectively exercised under the local government authorities jurisdiction,
    4. The significance of the decentralisation of power for the safeguarding and reinforcement of local self-government,

    Declare that:

    1. Local Self-Governance intends the right and effective ability of the local authorities to regulate and manage, according to the law, under their responsibilities and to the benefit of their citizens a considerable part of public affairs and that public responsibilities should be exercised preferably by the authorities closest to the citizens.
    2. Local authorities should be ensured the free execution of their competencies, within the limits of the law and in accordance with the Constitution or the domestic legislation,



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    13th Conference
    of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals
    Vienna, November 11-13,2009

    CONCLUSIONS

    • During the panels of the conference the following conclusions were made:
    • The current global financial and economic crisis shows once again that regional and local markets are interwoven and depend on each other. Cities do not act in an isolated context but within a framework that is considerably influenced by national politics, transnational structures such as the European Union, and international (economic) development. However, the room for manoeuvre and scope of action of cities should not be underestimated: Cities are the motors of national economies, and they are the centres of innovation and development.

    Moreover, the participants of the 13th Conference of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals in Vienna express their willingness to promote public awareness within their cities regarding these issues.

    The General Assembly of the UCSEEC resolves to continue its efforts for cooperation, exchanging experiences and good practices.

    • In view of the room for manoeuvre and scope of action of cities and their role in national economies, the members of UCSEEC call for national and international policies that provide an adequate framework of action for cities. In times of financial and economic crisis, national and international bodies are more than ever asked to provide for structures that support cities in implementing their objectives for the wellbeing of the citizens.

     

    In the closed session of the conference the following conclusions were made:
    Host city of the next  UCSEEC conference:
    The city of Zagreb which already had offered to host the next UCSEEC Conference in 2010 now confirmed that the 2010 conference is to take place in Zagreb.
    The Deputy Mayor of Kiev proposed extraordinarily to host the UCSEEC Conference in 2011, a final decision about that is to be taken at the Standing Committee in Athens in spring 2010.

    Future of Youth Issues and Youth Meetings of the UCSEEC:
    The members agreed that a youth meeting of the UCSEEC should take place annually. There was consensus that a host city of UCSEEC Conference would host a UCSEEC Youth Meeting in the second following year after hosting the conference. It is up to the cities to decide about the style, length and number of participants of such a youth meeting.
    The Deputy Mayor of Tirana confirmed that the City of Tirana which hosted the UCSEEC conference in 2008 will be hosting the next Youth Meeting of the UCSEEC in summer 2010.
    The City of Vienna confirmed its willingness to host the following UCSEEC Youth Meeting in summer 2011.

     

    DECLARATION

    THE MAYORS
    OF THE UNION OF CENTRAL AND SOUTHEASTERN EUROPEAN CAPITAL

    • The current global financial and economic crisis shows once again that regional and local markets are interwoven and depend on each other. Cities do not act in an isolated context but within a framework that is considerably influenced by national politics, transnational structures such as the European Union, and international (economic) development. However, the room for manoeuvre and scope of action of cities should not be underestimated: Cities are the motors of national economies, and they are the centres of innovation and development.
    • The participants of the 13th Conference of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals in Vienna, on 12 November 2009, hereby adopt the following:

    They declare regarding urban tourism :

    • That in a time of a slow-down in urban tourism, marketing efforts are a key to attract more visitors.
    • That cities have to focus on strategies to enhance the quality in urban tourism.
    • That cities should consider “branding” as a strategy in their marketing efforts.
    • That innovative tourism strategies have to combine cultural heritage with modern lifestyle.
    • That tourism has to fulfil the individual needs of different target groups.
    • That customer relations have to be established and serviced.
    • That urban tourism interacts with municipal and local services, e.g. mobility of public transport.
    • That urban tourism needs a framework of safety, service and cleanliness.
    • That tourism has to be balanced between economic interests on the one hand and ecological needs and social responsibility for actions and the sustainable use of resources on the other hand.

    Moreover, the participants of the 13th Conference of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals in Vienna express their willingness to promote public awareness within their cities regarding these issues.

    The General Assembly of the UCSEEC resolves to continue its efforts for cooperation, exchanging experiences and good practices.

    In view of the room for manoeuvre and scope of action of cities and their role in national economies, the members of UCSEEC call for national and international policies that provide an adequate framework of action for cities. In times of financial and economic crisis, national and international bodies are more than ever asked to provide for structures that support cities in implementing their objectives for the wellbeing of the citizens.

    They recognize :

    • That urban tourism and municipal services are of general interest especially in times of financial crisis.

    They declare :

    • That cities must be able to ensure the supply of services and goods of general interest even in times of shrinking revenues and rising energy prices.
    • That an efficient public transport system needs a legal framework and transparency to guarantee mobility and ecological sustainability.
    • That public transport plays a vital role in urban mobility but also in the regional transport of goods, services and people and therefore has a much broader role on a regional basis.
    • That governments have to decide carefully between liberalisation and state owned providers, if they want to ensure fair access to municipal services.
    • That access to municipal services can play a positive role regarding social sustainability and social cohesion.
    • That municipal services of general interest are not limited to certain sectors. Every aspect of life can be affected by it. In addition to key-sectors such as water management or waste management, it can also include health, education and culture.

    TOP

     

    14th Conference
    of the Union of Central and Southeastern European Capitals
    Zagreb, October 21-23, 2010


    WORKSHOP 1:
    Vulnerable social groups in the process of poverty and social exclusion

    C O N C L U S I O N S

    1. Poverty and social exclusion impact upon the most sensitive and vulnerable parts of the society particularly hard, therefore demanding permanent attention and support of the society.
    High-risk groups include the following: the unemployed; persons with disabilities; single parents; women; senior citizens; victims of domestic violence; the employed with low income and the employed without salary; former convicts; migrants; homeless persons and others. 
    2.  Senior citizens without pension (most frequently women) are in a particularly unfavorable position. Higher attention must be paid to migrants and members of their families, for the purpose of their integration into labor, education, cultural and social life.
    3. Social policies of the cities of the Union need to be focused on the development of social services, but it is also necessary to ensure special state- and city-level financial programs for the purpose of improving the material position of the most sensitive groups.
    4. Active labor market policy measures need to contribute to labor activation, but also to social inclusion of vulnerable groups in the local community and society.
    For all groups outside of the labor market, or on its margins, it is necessary to develop measures that can improve the possibility of their employment, with an emphasis on education and life-long learning.
    5. The cooperation of cities of the Union is particularly important in the exchange of mutual experiences and in joint projects.

    WORKSHOP 2:
    ECONOMIC POLICIES AND EMPLOYMENT MEASURES IN THE FULFILLMENT OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES
    ROLE OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY IN COMBATING POVERTY

    C O N C L U S I O N S

    1. UCSEEC capitals support local partnerships, as a measure of decentralization and cooperation of all stakeholders at the local level in the creation of measures aimed at economic development and employment, with a particular emphasis on education and life-long learning.
    2. UCSEEC capitals propose that the examples of best practice of all the members should be exchanged in the area of economic development and employment, and that such examples should be presented on the website of the Union, per relevant areas and target groups.
    3. UCSEEC capitals support the regional cooperation of all UCSEEC capitals through projects in the sphere of economic development and employment, on the basis of equal opportunities for all.
    4. The emphasis needs to be placed on social policy programs and measures pertaining to employment and inclusion into the labor market, given the fact that unemployment has been recognized as the main generator of poverty and social exclusion.
    1. In the context of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, and given the primary goal of creating the capacities for society that includes all groups, civil society organizations must also be included in the fulfillment of this goal.
    2. It is particularly important to recognize the possibilities of civil society in the provision of social services to citizens exposed to the risk of poverty and social exclusion, but also the possibilities of partnerships with civil society in terms of decentralization, coordination, as well as the division of tasks and assets in the provision of social services.
    3. Strong support should be given to experts, activists and volunteers in civil society organizations whose programs aimed at combating poverty provide added value, while covering the needs of citizens in a given area in the most effective manner.

     

    C O N C L U S I O N S
    1. In accordance to the Decision of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe on declaring 2010 as the Year of Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, and bearing in mind in particular the need to mitigate the consequences of the global economic crisis in regard to the increase of poverty among populations in urban areas, the participants of the 14th Conference of the Union of Central and South-Eastern European Capitals adopt the following conclusions:
    1.1. The fight against poverty and social exclusion can not be limited only to the local and regional level, and it requires coordinated and systematic measures at the national and international level.
     1.2. The most sensitive parts of the society require particular and permanent attention. High-risk groups are the unemployed; the elderly; persons with disabilities; families with a higher number of children; members of minority groups; etc. In the least favorable position are the elderly who do not have a pension (these are mostly women senior citizens). Special attention needs to be paid to the migrants and members of their families, in order to integrate them into labor, education, cultural and social life.
    The policies of the cities of the Union should continue to be based on the development of social services, although it is also necessary to ensure special state- and city-level financial programs for the purpose of improving the financial status of the most sensitive groups.
    1.3. In terms of the social security of citizens, the decisive factor is the situation in the labor market. For those groups that are outside of the labor market, or on its margins (long-term unemployed; older workers; persons with disabilities; persons without qualifications...) it is necessary to create measures that would improve the possibilities of their employment, with a particular emphasis on education and life-long learning.
    Cities, in cooperation with state institutions and civil society organizations, participate in the creation and implementation of active employment policy measures, for the purpose of mitigating the consequences of growing unemployment and ensuring fairer distribution of the burden of economic and financial crisis.
    Measures of active unemployment policy need to contribute to labor activation, but also to the social inclusion of vulnerable groups into the local community and society.
    Cities need to invest more effort in the development of public networks of child care services, in order to ensure their availability to all parents, which is extraordinarily important in terms of the employment of women.
    1.4. Particular importance should be attached to the regional cooperation of all the cities of the Union, through projects in the area of economic development and employment, in accordance to the competences of the cities and in accordance to the principle of equal opportunities for all.
    International exchange of experiences, in particular the examples of practical approaches in the area of economic development and employment, constitute the basis of good cooperation. That is the reason why such examples should be available on the website of the Union, per area and target group.
     1.5. The cooperation of city authorities and civil society organizations is extraordinarily important, in particular in the provision of social services for certain groups (homeless persons; victims of violence; persons with disabilities; and others). Therefore, it is necessary for the cities of the Union to provide constant financial and expert support for the strengthening of their capacities.
     2.  The General Assembly took note of the Report of the City of Tirana in regard to the 2nd Youth Meeting of the Union of Central and South-Eastern European Capitals, held in Tirana July 27-30, 2010.
     3.  The host of the 3rd Youth Meeting of the Union of Central and South-Eastern European Capitals, to be held in 2011, will be the City of Vienna.
     4.  The host of the 15th Conference of the Union of Central and South-Eastern European Capitals, to be held in 2011, will be the City of Kiev.

    D E C L A R A T I O N
    on urban poverty and city policies in the promotion of social inclusion

    The European Union dedicates major attention to the combat poverty and social exclusion, with a general consensus that the extent of these phenomena is unacceptable. Declaring 2010 the Year of Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion can also be understood as an invitation and an obligation to undertake social interventions in order to eradicate poverty and mitigate its consequences in all the areas involved. The improvement of social cohesion is impossible without a clear strategy for combating poverty and social exclusion of citizens. At the same time, the global economic and financial crisis, intensive social changes (in particular those impacting upon the structure of work and family), as well as financial difficulties in the financing of social security systems, lead to the increase of poverty and population in urban areas. The current economic crisis has changed the very profile of poverty: the crisis is affecting the working-age population particularly hard, due to the growing unemployment and loss of jobs.
     In accordance to the Decision of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union of 22 October 2008 on the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010), and based on the discussion and the conclusions reached, the participants of the 14th conference of the Union of Central and South-Eastern European Capitals, on October 22, 2010, decide to accept the following:

    1. Despite the technological development and the achieved level of human rights protection, certain parts of the population in the cities of the Union still suffer due to poverty, limited and unequal access to services, or their exclusion from society.

    The social exclusion weakens their financial standing and their capacity to participate in the social life of their environment.

    1. Poverty and social exclusion are affecting the most sensitive and most vulnerable parts of the society particularly hard: children; children and youth who dropped out of the educational system; single parents; women; persons with disabilities; the elderly; the unemployed; victims of domestic violence; prisoners; migrants; and others.

     

    1. The problems of urban poverty and social exclusion are complex and multidimensional; they are dependant on the connected with a number of factors, such as, for example: income and the standard of living; housing care; access to jobs; as well as to health and social services; availability of education; and other.
    1. Losing one’s job and lack of available jobs directly leads to poverty and social exclusion. Although having a job significantly decreases the risk of poverty and social exclusion, what is particularly worrying is the poverty of the employed. It is linked with low salaries, gender salary discrimination, inappropriate qualification structure, insecure jobs, unfavorable working or living conditions. Lack of harmony between work and family life is hurting women to a higher degree.

     

    1. Going to retirement leads to poverty and social isolation for a significant number of retired persons and without social or family interventions these retired persons are forced to permanently remain in that status.
    1. Fast and demanding changes on the labor market represent obstacles for a certain number of people in terms of their inclusion in society, mostly due to lack of qualifications and lack of additional knowledge and skills; they can also face exclusion due to various forms of discrimination (disabled persons, women).

     

    1. Unavailability of information-communication technology (ICT) for a certain part of the population, or information illiteracy, lead to isolation from the labor market. Persons with disabilities are frequently faced with not being able to use technology, due to the lack of adjustments and due to inaccessibility.

    Aware of the seriousness and gravity of the noted problems, the cities of the Union commit in accordance to their competences:

    1. to accept the strengthening of social cohesion and the eradication of poverty and social exclusion as a political priority;
    2. to implement the program of combating poverty and social exclusion that takes into consideration the multidimensional nature and multiple layers of the problem, while ensuring a balanced and harmonized economic and social policy, as well as the availability of social and health services, together with educational, cultural and other types of services;
    3. to develop social services and provisions, in order to mitigate the consequences of poverty and social exclusion for vulnerable groups (multiple-member families, retired persons, families of single parents, persons with disabilities…);
    4. to implement targeted strategies for particularly vulnerable and sensitive groups, taking into consideration the standards of human rights and equal opportunities for all;
    5. to include all participants and available resources in the implementation of activities aimed at combating poverty and social exclusion;
    6. to develop partnership with civil society organizations, in particular those that bring together the citizens with the experience of poverty and social exclusion on the one hand and representatives of these citizens on the other;
    7. to promote social dimensions of economic growth and comprehensive labor markets, and problem-solving at the workplace;
    8. to use employment-related support measures in order to secure access to the labor market for groups with lower employability;
    9. to ensure the possibility of retraining and the availability of additional knowledge and social skills for easier entry or survival on the labor market;
    10. to undertake timely interventions in cases of gender-related or other forms of discrimination in the labor or employment process;
    11. to ensure wide availability, accessibility and application of ICT systems, including adjustments for certain specific groups (persons with disabilities and other);
    12. to develop the strategy of available and affordable housing, including the development of various forms of social housing for groups with the lowest financial standing;
    13. to ensure the accessibility of infrastructure services for all citizens of a given city;
    14. to continue to develop affordable and accessible public transportation, as a tool for ensuring spatial and labor mobility;
    15. to prevent the creation of physical and social segregation, and to eliminate the zones of concentrated poverty;
    16. to increase the capacities for the reception of homeless persons, to prevent homelessness and to develop a comprehensive system of measures aimed at the social and labor integration of homeless persons; and
    17. to dedicate particular attention to the development of a healthy and clean environment, as well as the improvement of security of city inhabitants.

    The participants of the 14th Conference of the Union of Central and South-Eastern European Capitals confirm their desire and readiness for cooperation in the exchange of knowledge and experience aimed at combating urban poverty and promoting social inclusion.