The pandemic-related expenses of municipalities hit RON 240 million in 2020, out of which the government has already refunded RON 40 million. The difference is expected to be recovered this year from European Union funds, the mayor of Kolozsvár, Emil Boc, announced on Tuesday, after the leadership of the National Association of Municipalities (Romanian acronym AMR) met with Prime Minister Florin Cîţu. The discussion was partly focused on the organization and financing of coronavirus vaccination centers and delivery of vaccines to cities, but some other major municipal issues were also negotiated. Following the meeting, Boc, who is also the president of AMR, outlined some of the important conclusions in a press statement.
According to Boc, regarding the issue of financing social services, “a very good” solution has been reached: 90 percent of the expenditures in this field will be covered by the government, with the remaining 10 percent being supported from local budgets.
“The state budget will meet the funding needs of local authorities,” Prime Minister Cîţu declared after the meeting. “Representatives of local administrations will be actively involved in the work of parliamentary committees that decide on social assistance rights; furthermore, we will regularly consult with local authorities on matters related to the allocation of European funds,” wrote government press in a Facebook post. Moreover, the Cîţu government believes the ownership of certain properties can be transferred from central to local authorities in order to “develop and modernize” settlements.
The parties present at the meeting also agreed that a law regarding metropolitan areas needs to be adopted soon by parliament.
As Emil Boc said, they have agreed that such a law would give large municipalities the chance to decide together with the mayors of the neighboring localities about issues related to urban development, public transport, healthcare and quality of life. “Today, we have administrative competencies just within the borders of our municipality. We do not have a say on anything happening beyond our administrative boundaries, yet everything that happens in the metropolitan area [of Kolozsvár, Cluj-Napoca – editor’s note] directly affects the quality of life in the municipality. A draft law will be worked out, in consultation with AMR, and submitted to the parliament,” said Boc.
Attila Cseke, Minister of Public Administration and Development delegated by the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (known by its Hungarian acronym RMDSZ), also attended the meeting with the leaders of AMR.
Title image: Mayor of Kolozsvár Emil Boc and the president of the National Association of Municipalities (in the photo’s foreground) pushes for a law regarding the administration of metropolitan areas to increase overall quality of life. The image is an illustration.
Source: Emil Boc/Facebook