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Activities

"2011"

 

Local government representatives met with the Minister of the Interior, Radek John, and representatives of other ministries on January 12 in Břevnov, Prague, to discuss governmental strategy in fighting corruption for the period of 2010-2012, with a focus on difficult points, which significantly affects local government activities. As the hottest issue, the Union representatives indicated the proposed introduction of stricter rules for the disposal of municipal property and accountability for damage caused.

During one of its regular meeting on January 21, the Union’s Executive Board expressed its disfavor for canceling building authorities in municipalities with basic competence, which the Ministry of Regional Development repeatedly seeks to get past since 2003. Chamber of Statutory Cities also spoke out against unsystematic reforms without prior analysis at its session on February 11 in Kladno.

Discussions of the Union representatives with the ministers, which started after the government formation in 2010, continued in the first months of 2011. Meetings were held with the Minister of Education, Josef Dobeš, Minister of the Environment, Tomáš Chalupa, Minister of Culture, Jiří Besser, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karel Schwarzenberg.

The Chamber of Municipalities reunited with the Czech Post. On February 8 on the grounds of the Union, the Chief Executive for Postal Operations and Logistics, Petr Zatloukal, apologized some of the Post employees’ bad behavior in negotiations regarding a new way of delivering postal services in small municipalities. Representatives of the Czech Post committed at the meeting, that the municipalities will be informed about their own intention at least six months ahead and shall also notify them of information on the operations costs of thebranch, as well as its workload. Two days later, the President of the Union, Oldřich Vlasák, together with the Czech Post signed a Memorandum on the branch network project. The text contains the conditions under which the Union will support the Post’s operations. Another joint meeting took place on February 24. Petr Zatloukal stated there that the local government is a natural partner for the Post, but should the capacity to support such postal services in certain cases be insufficient, the Post will look for other solutions, e.g. cooperation with the Association of Consumer Cooperatives. Oldřich Vlasák met on March 7 with the Minister of Interior, Radek John, as the representative of the founder of the Czech Post, who stressed that quality, mutual communication of the Post’s intentions is a prerequisite for the completion of its transformation into a joint stock company. On March 24 a special working group met about this issue to negotiate a specific procedure for evaluating the pilot project Partner, which ended on March 31.

Two roundtables were devoted to the still topical issue of gambling, organized by the Union on March 9 and 29, 2011. For the first time mayors, deputies and senators of different political parties, representatives of the Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic, and also representatives of the gaming industry gathered and shared a negotiating table. Individual proposals to amend legislation regulating gambling and the manner and extent of its charges were discussed. The aim was to find  a solution that would be satisfactory not only for municipalities, but also for the operators of gambling institutions. Participants agreed to support the government draft of an amendment to the Lottery Act, shorten the transition period of the validity of permits issued to a maximum of three years and the necessity to maintain a correlation between levies or tax payment and the territories where gambling establishments are operated.

The traditional events included regional meetings of local government representatives, which took place during February and March. As always, current legislation was discussed the most - thus topics that stood at the forefront in 2011 were the resorts’ reforms and their impact on the municipalities, gaming law, optimizing the branch network of the Czech Post, budgetary determination of taxes, etc. Information in the presentations included the drawing of European funds and preparations for the next programming period after 2013. The meeting was attended by a total of 1025 participants.

18th Annual Congress of Mayors was held on April 14. Discussed topics reflected discussions from the regional meetings. The biggest attention was paid to the direct election of mayors.

Approximately eighty mayors gathered on April 22 in Klenčí pod Čerchovem for the 9th Council meeting to discuss preparations for the 12th Union Assembly. The Council at its meeting also opposed the changes in the Green Savings Programme and criticized the proposed social reform.

Five hundred and sixty delegates decided with 1537 votes at the 12th Assembly on the future direction of the Union. The Assembly was held on May 26 and 27 in Zlín and resolved number of subresolutions relating to the centralization of public administration, budgetary determination of taxes, social reform, direct election of mayors, etc. The Union President Oldřich Vlasák welcomed many guests; however, disappointingly the Prime Minister, President of the Chamber of the Deputies and President of the Republic were not in attendance, which was perceived very negatively by the delegates. In his closing speech, Oldřich Vlasák thanked all the mayors for their existing cooperation and announced that, after 10 years tenure as the President of the Union, he has decided not to run for the office anymore.

At the Waste and Municipalities 2011 conference, which took place in Hradec Králové on June 8 and 9, an updated Waste Strategy in towns and municipalities in the Czech Republic was officially introduced. By this, the Union completed its longstanding efforts to set up a functioning and, in the long term, sustainable waste management system at the level of districts and individual towns and municipalities in the Czech Republic.

At the first Union Council meeting, held in the Prague City Hall on June 10, the new Council members were elected among members of the Executive Board. Vice-Presidents of individual chambers, Vice President for European Affairs and, of course, the President, who became the Mayor of Kladno, Dan Jiránek, were also elected.

On June 23 and 24 another meeting of Executive Boards of the Czech and Slovak Unions was held, this time in the South Moravian town, Skalka. Since the last meeting, many changes have taken place in both unions as both municipal elections and union elections have taken place. Michal Sýkora left the position of ZMOS President after 18 years and was replaced by Jozef Dvonč, Mayor of Nitra. Topics discussed included budgetary determination of taxes, the centralization of public administration in both countries, the advantages and disadvantages of the direct election of mayors, as well as the implementation of the joint project of “Support of Town Twinning”.

In June, the Union established the Institute for Sustainable Development of Towns and Municipalities (IURMO), whose mission is to create conditions for cooperation between local administration and the private sector. It provides beneficial services in a form of preparation of expert analysis, reports or studies in the field of public administration and focuses on educational and awareness activities.

Negotiations with the Czech Post also continued throughout the year. At the Municipalities and Services of the Czech Post conference, organized on June 2 by the Senate President, Milan Štěch, in cooperation with the Union, it was agreed by the representatives of municipalities, the Interior Ministry, the Chamber of Deputies and the state-owned enterprise itself that the Czech Post must change its approach to local government at all levels of its management and become a real partner. In June, the evaluation interviews were held in all fifty municipalities where the project Partner was tested. The interviews, where the Union representatives acted as impartial observers, illustrated a weak point of the project – a lack of communication in terms of aims and benefits.

Dan Jiránek together with Minister Tomáš Chalupa signed a cooperation agreement between the Union and the Ministry of the Environment on July 15. The agreement commits both parties to cooperate in the areas of sustainable protection, management and planning of landscape and environmental factors such as water, air, rocks, soil, organisms, ecosystems and energy.

On September 2, Union representatives attended a meeting in Rumburk regarding the steadily increasing tensions in Šluknov foreland. Šluknov’s mayors here formulated the so-called ten demands to the government, Parliament and the Police of the Czech Republic.

On September 9, Union leaders met with Prime Minister Petr Nečas. The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs and Ministers of Finance, Environment and Culture were also present. Among topics discussed were the plight in Šluknov foreland, an amendment to the Budgetary Determination of Taxes Act and restitution of church or urban and rural development in the context of future funding from the Structural Funds. The Union President also emphasized to the Prime Minister the need to complete the reform of public administration at a central level.

Preparation of the national budget and its connection to the municipal budgets, re-amendment of the Budgetary Determination of Taxes Act, Treasury project, but also gambling taxation, European funds after 2013, the financial aspects of waste management, tax laws and pervasive management control: all these were themes of the 14th national Financial Conference, held on November 10 and 11, in Prague again in the National Museum’s new building. The Conference showed that the degree of uncertainty of the revenues of municipalities increases in connection with the inestimable development of total tax collection. Still more difficult is estimating the final form of all proposed reforms or changes in laws and other regulations that have a major impact on municipalities’ funding.

On November 15, Union leaders met with Archbishop Dominik Duka and other prominent church leaders. Together they discussed the act on the state property settlement with churches and religious organizations. The churches and local administrations consider the currently proposed legislation as an acceptable compromise. Approximately five hundred municipalities are limited in their development by the blocking of church property; the Union therefore fully supports the adoption of the Act. 

The Union Council met in Prague on November 25. On this occasion the Scissors for State Initiative was announced. Scissors became a symbolic of a still widening gap between the national budget and municipal budgets. Dan Jiránek urged mayors to send scissors with a tag of their municipality to the Bureau. Roughly 300 pairs of scissors were gathered and handed over to the Prime Minster Petr Nečas in the end.

A series of seminars and conferences, either organized by the Union or where the Union participated in their preparation, took place during the year. The Union also organized roundtables on the future of the countryside, the proposal for Social reform I and on road safety.  

Important activities of the past year include the active promotion of the needs of towns and municipalities in discussions on the future use of financial resources from European and other funds after 2013. The analysis of towns’ needs was processed by the Union in 2010 and newly in-preparation analysis of rural needs served this purpose very well. Both analyses have focused on indentifying the real needs of towns and municipalities and promoting their future funding. They confirmed that the local self-governments still consider infrastructure renovation and ensuring availability of services for residents as their primary concerns. Throughout the year, the Union also supported town-twinning and got involved in project “Slovak-Czech support of the National Association of Local Governments to town twinning cooperation”. At the turn of September and October, a ten member

Union delegation attended a congress aimed at town twinning in Rybnik, Poland. The mutual cooperation was primarily perceived as an activity of the citizens, who participate in joint activities of towns, and thus has a right to appropriate funding. Therefore, claims for sufficient financial means under the Europe for Citizens Programme in the period of 2012-2020 were laid in the congress final declaration.

The Union has also prepared a special program for a number of foreign delegations in 2011. Local self-government representatives of Romania, Russia, Tajikistan, Norway, Germany, but also Turkey or Serbia were welcomed on the Union’s premises. Participants of international delegations were provided with information, according to their area of interests, varying from structure of public administration in the Czech Republic, activities of local self-government associations in favor of defending municipalities’ interests, financial matters, providing various services to citizens to international activities.

Union members were kept informed continuously about all the Union’s activities through its website and electronic bulletin; summaries of the previous month’s activities were regularly provided by the periodical Information Service.

 
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Calendar

9. January 2018 10:00-12:00

Předsednictvo Komory obcí

Praha, Kancelář Svazu
 
11. January 2018

Seminář "Obecné nařízení o ochraně osobních údajů neboli GDPR" v Brně

Brno
12. January 2018 10:00-12:00

Komise pro zahraniční spolupráci Předsednictva Svazu

Praha, Kancelář Svazu
 
16. January 2018 09:30-11:30

Kontrolní výbor

Praha, Kancelář Svazu
 
22. January 2018 10:00-12:00

Předsednictvo Svazu

Brno, vila Tugendhat
 

Address

Union of Towns and Municipalities of the Czech Republic 
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140 00 Prague 4
Czech Republic

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