Serbian Capital to Amend its Governing Statute

Changes to the city statute will allow it to buy and sell land and pave way for decentralisation of powers to municipalities.By the end of the year the City of Belgrade is to amend its statute in accordance with laws adopted after the statute was issued in 2008.

Danilo Basic, assistant to Mayor Dragan Djilas, said the amendments will align the statute with laws on Public Property and Public-Private Partnerships, both adopted in autumn 2011.

“The first phase of changes will allow the City to be the owner of land, which means it will have the right to sell land or buy it,” Basic explained on December 10th.

In the second stage, in the first quarter of 2013, the City will discuss and prepare amendments to allow wider decentralisation of power to Belgrade’s 17 municipalities.

The country’s ruling Serbian Progressive Party submitted a petition on December 10th, signed by 100,000 people, demanding decentralisation.

Milosav Milickovic, president of the municipality of Rakovica and vice president of the Progressive Party board in Belgrade, said that the city needed to hand more power to the municipalities.

“My impression is that our demand was well received. We agreed [with the city authorities] to consider all proposals relating to genuine decentralisation, from issues such as urban planning to funding, in the next two months,” he said on December 10th.

Planned amendments to the Belgrade Statute will change the way that municipalities are funded, regulate what assets they own and how they can manage them, as well as regulating the procedure for the formation of new municipalities.

“We will discuss what jurisdictions the City can transfer to municipalities in order for things to function better,” Basic said.

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