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Local authorities are a key part of the integration of Eastern neighbours

Apr 8, 2021 | Opinions

(08 April 2021) – From cultural exchange to capacity building, local players are a key part of the European integration of Western Balkan and Eastern European countries and need more support.

© European Commission

The Preili municipality in south-eastern Latvia has been developing their cooperation with partners in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood since 2014. From youth art competitions to online webinars on sustainable development, it continues to build ties with Nizhyn city in northern Ukraine and the Ozurgeti district in Western Georgia.

While Preili receives a lot of regional development support from the EU budget, as well as aid for cross-border projects in Belarus and Russia, the processes are long and complex.

In contrast, more support is needed for local authorities to cooperate with their counterparts in Eastern Partnership, both for regular physical visits and further development of cooperation, according to Elita Jermolajeva, head of development department at the municipality.

At the same time, the Latvian municipality sees cooperation as a way to reciprocate support Eastern Europe received from the West after the fall of the Soviet Union. (EurActiv)

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