French local authorities involved in the Balkan countries are relatively few but they are characterized by their qualification and their well-established historical presence. The Meetings of Sofia in July 2008 underlined the interest of Balkan and French actors in reinforcing the presence of French local authorities in the region in order to develop and strengthen the existing links and to create synergies. In this framework, French local authorities (with the Regional Council of Auvergne as leader) elaborated a multilateral decentralized cooperation programme that has been recently selected and granted by the
French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The objective of the programme is based on the idea that through a multi-countries approach and the creation of a platform for a long-lasting multilateral decentralized cooperation promoting good local governance, the stability of the region could be improved.
In 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Delegate for Decentralized Cooperation expressly opened the field of decentralized cooperation to multilateral programmes in order to create synergies and to build a solid platform that would grant European resources. The above-mentioned actions in favor of the reinforcement of good local governance in the Balkan countries are perfectly in line with the future EU membership of these countries.
The creation of a multilateral decentralized cooperation platform built on common themes to exchange experiences and plan future actions, will allow the bilateral relationships between French and Balkan local authorities to be completed. These exchanges organized through workshops will allow the actors at the end of the project to propose a triennial programme opened to European local authorities to promote trust and tolerance among populations.
The Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA) and the network of Local Democracy
Agencies (LDAs) will support the programme, sharing their experience of multilateral decentralized cooperation in order to multiply the effects of the actions of the project.
The communication plan of the project will be developed and implemented by the Association of Local
Democracy Agencies in cooperation with the different French local authorities. This communication plan will target the « institutional » actors (local authorities, governmental and European organizations) and actors of bilateral decentralized cooperation and ensure the accessibility of information to the public (via press or internet).
Objectives of the project
The project aims at promoting the development of good governance at regional and local level and improving capacities of local authorities in order to allow them to do their tasks in the best way possible and to provide good services to their citizens. This project proposes to achieve this objective by improving the mutual knowledge about activities and actors, by creating a network of French actors involved in the Balkan countries in order to work on a common plan which would open the programme to other partners in Europe. So the project aims at creating a platform for a long-lasting French- Balkan multilateral decentralized cooperation that will be opened to other European partners.
These actions have the following objectives:
- Strengthening and stabilizing the democratic process in the region
- Stabilizing and the pacifying of the region
- Supporting the European integration process
- On the French side, opening the French territories to the Balkan countries, EU member states to be
1) Information meeting, establishment of a steering committee and preparation of the launching
Conference (Paris, 18 June 2009) and preparation meeting (Paris, 26 August 2009)
2) Communication plan and lobbying to European Institutions (Council of Europe and European
Union) and multilateral organizations
3) Launching Conference (in Sarajevo, 23 September evening and 24 September)
4) Transnational thematic workshop on rural development and sustainable tourism (25 and 26
5) Transnational thematic workshop on "Francophonie", youth and active citizenship (Nevers,
Territoire de Belfort, support of Dijon, Epinal, Fraize and Region Auvergne; in Serbia, 26-27
6) Transnational thematic workshop on new technologies and communication (Region of Basse-
Normandie, support of Region Auvergne and Dijon; in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia early December 2009)
7) Final French-Balkans Conference: institutional support as a tool to develop good local governance, a key step for European integration (Brussels, 28-29 January 2010)
8) Final publication (January 2010)
9) Seminar on tourism Tetovo (MK) 10-11 May 2012
10) Travelling seminar "On Albert Londres' footsteps" for young journalists coming from France and Balkans Countries (from 5th to 24th August 2012)