Municipalities enter into cooperation with other municipalities in the function of a faster local economic development, efficiency and effectiveness in providing services to citizens and various interest groups. The international municipal cooperation is limited only to the administrative and technical aspect.
International practices speak about the unlimited rights in terms of international cooperation of municipalities for the competencies they have by law. The law gives to municipalities the right to form associations of municipalities to protect and promote their common interests. Associations of municipalities shall not have the right to exercise any kind of power. The association would create the environment and build its capacities to assist to municipalities in exercisising their competencies in a professional manner.
According to Law no. 04/L-010 on Inter-Municipal Cooperation, municipalities shall have the right to cooperate in the accomplishment of common goals and interests related to the exercise of their own and enhanced competencies.
Inter-municipal cooperation is based on the free will of municipalities to establish cooperative relationships by creating division of roles and municipal resources for the needs of co-operation. Inter-municipal cooperation is very important to provide efficient services that increase the quality of life of citizens and collective wellbeing.
There are two categories of inter-municipal cooperation:
- Inter-municipal cooperation between municipalities of the same country
- International cooperation between municipalities of different countries
Such cooperation could take the form of joint provision of public utilities/services such as water supply, waste collection and public transport, joint administration, sale/purchase of services, joint planning on development as well as joint financing and investment for the benefit of all.
Such types of cooperations are very useful for municipalities due to the exchange of information and experiences with each other. Moreover, providing of services can be more efficient and professional considering the common market. Such co-operations provide more growth, development and opportunities. At the same time, these co-operations enable municipalities to reduce spending and greater opportunities in approving guarantees for investments in tourist areas, schools, health, recreational services and businesses.
How does inter-municipal cooperation take place?
Local inter-municipal cooperation refers to all relations established between two or more municipalities of the Republic of Kosovo based on an agreement to implement its own and enhanced competencies for common goals and interests in the field of municipal public services and local development.
The inter-municipal cooperation process is submitted in writing by the mayor, 1/3 of the members of the Municipal Assembly and at least 5% of the citizens of the Municipality with the right to vote.
This cooperation initiative should contain the purpose of cooperation, co-operation related competencies, municipalities involved in co-operation, the form of cooperation, expected benefits, possible financial implications from co-operation, and other important issues of establishment of inter-municipal cooperation. It is very important to know that municipalities can not delegate the exercise of its powers to a municipality or association or to allow to the same exercising of any decision-making, executive and administrative authority in the territory of the Republic of Kosovo, as well as any cooperation that is established cannot exercise horizontal competencies with those of the central government.
How to proceed with an initiative for cooperation:
Forms of cooperation
Based on the Law on Inter-Municipal Cooperation, municipalities in Kosovo may conduct the following forms of cooperation:
- Establishment of joint temporary and permanent working groups and committees for reviewing certain issues within their competencies. Responsibilities, obligations and obligations of these groups/committees are regulated based on the agreements they are established thereof.
- Establishment of joint administrative bodies to exercise their competences set out by the Law on Local Self-Government based on the agreement through which it was established
- Establishment of joint public enterprises to provide local public services in accordance with the Law on Public Enterprises
- Establishment of joint public institutions for the purpose of conducting certain activities of public interest and of local importance in these areas such as: education, culture, health, social protection as well as other areas within own competencies of the municipalities.
- Inter-municipal cooperation with public-private partnerships for the purpose of developing projects of municipal importance, as defined by the relevant law on public-private partnerships.
Examples of cooperation between municipalities in Kosovo
Municipality of Podujevë/Podujevo has cooperated in the field of urban planning for which officials from Podujeva have held frequent meetings and telephone consultations with their counterparts from the Municipality of Prishtina. Moreover, the water supply system of the Municipality of Prishtina is located in the territory Municipality of Podujevë/Podujevo, which maintains the environment and the park around it, however not having the right to water management.
Important and common issues are water and solid waste management such as Batllava water supply, waste disposal in Dumnica and the issue of cleaning and maintenance of regional roads.
The Municipality of Obiliq/Obilic conducts various cooperations with all neighboring municipalities. Initially, this municipality has inter-municipal cooperation in terms of water supply with the Municipality of Vushtrri and villages of Breznica, Plemetin and Priluzje.
The issue of waste and cleaning is a shared issue from all the surrounding municipalities, but the landfill (Mirash village) is used by Prishtina, Podujeva, Drenas/Gllogovac, Fushë Kosova/Kosovo Polje and Lipjan/Lipljane. The landfill is in Mirash.
The main cooperation is with the Municipality of Prishtina and Podujevë/Podujevo for the Obiliq/Obilic-Breznica-Podujevë/Podujevë road, where each municipality has invested its own funds for this joint activity. In particular, the most inter-related cooperation is between the Municipality of Obiliq/Obilic and Prishtina, due to development of the capital city towards the cadastral territory of this municipality. Cooperation opportunities do exist between these municipalities focusing on national interest issues such as power plants and other projects being very important for the economy of Obiliq/Obilic and Prishtina.
International Municipal Cooperation refers to cooperation relations between the municipalities of the Republic of Kosovo with municipalities or other institutions of local self-government outside the Republic of Kosovo for twinning needs or other forms of cooperation within its own and enhanced municipal competencies. These collaborations may be of an administrative and technical nature, regulated as per instructions of the Ministry in charge of local governance and according to the legislation in force. It is very important to know that municipalities can not delegate to a municipality or a foreign public authority exercising of its powers, or allow to the same to the exercise of any decision-making, executive and administrative powers in the territory of the Republic of Kosovo, as well as any cooperation that is established, may not exercise horizontal competencies with those of the central government.
Municipality of Prizren, a success story is that of the inter-municipal cooperation between the Municipality of Prizren and Uzunkopru Municipality in Turkey. The twinning between Prizren and Uzunkopru is an example for building a united Europe of countries, cities and citizens through the Europe 2020 strategy.
Uzunkopru Municipality in Turkey has offered the possibility and support in the education plan for Kosovo students studying at the University of Thrace. This municipality has expressed that there is great potential for exchange of experiencies and economic, cultural, educational cooperation, especially with the Municipality of Prizren.