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The road ahead for ALDA members in Kosovo – Priorities and disappointment for postponement of visa-free regime



The Kosovan city of Gjilan has just hosted a general meeting of members of ALDA in the country. The delegation included representatives of ALDA, the Local Democracy Agency of Kosovo, the association “Trentino con i Balcani”, and four mayors from the south-east region of Kosovo, whose capital city is Gjilan. Particularly interesting is to underline that three of the four municipalities attending the reunion have a majority of Serbian population.
 
The meeting gave all participants the chance to discuss the priorities of each municipality represented, supporting cities and communities being one of ALDA’s prerogatives. Among all the topics covered during the session we underline participative local democracy, environment protection, network of twinned towns also through the “Europe for Citizens” Programme, youth unemployment, and economic development. An interesting path of cooperation has been put forward by ATB, who invited the Mayor of Gjilan to visit Trento (Italy) to further explore possible cooperation paths.
 
Furthermore, the meeting has been marked by the news concerning the postponement of the VISA liberalization to 2020, which left everybody rather disappointed. The announcement was made on the occasion of the visit of the Commissioner Hahn to Kosovo, and was perceived a great blow to the efforts made by the country to meet all required criteria. The VISA liberalization, considering the social and political framework, would have been a big achievement for Kosovo and for the EU as well. The efforts made by Kosovo and the role of the EU in the relations between Serbia and Kosovo would have found their natural follow up in the agreement for visa liberalization, and would have given to Kosovan citizens a step forward to the European dimension. Once again, this situation shows how much European policies have an impact not only inside European borders, and how important is for us, as European civil society, to advocate for actions taking into consideration their impact at a broader level.
 
Our youth can only see Europe on television” said one of the participants, giving voice to the disappointment of the whole country. 
 
 


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