Central-local government relations
SKL International welcomed a delegation from Serbia on March 30 for a four-day study visit to Stockholm and Sigtuna. Delegates from the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities and the Ministry of Public Affairs and Local Self-Government met counterparts from the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) and the Ministry of Finance. They also heard about the origins of the so-called funding principle (whereby transfers of responsibility from the state to municipalities must be accompanied by additional resources), and how SALAR safeguards local autonomy in a system built largely on mutual trust.
In Sigtuna, Mayor Lars Bryntesson and local officials explained how municipal powers, finances and accountability are determined in practice in areas such as planning, environment, education and elderly care. The visit was crowned with a tour of the Riksdagen (Swedish parliament) courtesy of Erik Ottoson MP, and a debriefing with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), which finances the ‘Support to Local Self-Governments in Serbia in the EU integration process’ programme.