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The European Union is the answer for Western Balkans’ society

ALDA, together with the LDAs, have been working with a great commitment for the accession of the Western Balkans in the European Union, also through the project “Regional Youth Compact for Europe”
Within this framework, the First Regional Thematic Network Forum and the Annual Conference of the ALDA - Western Balkans Network for Local Democracy were organised in Tirana, on 26th and 27th February 2019.
The event was attended by more than 70 people, representatives of civil society, youth stakeholders and young citizens from the Western Balkans and gave the opportunity to exchange new ways to cooperate in the region on the organisation of activities promoting the EU integration.
The Forum was opened by Mr. Arbjan Mazniku, Deputy Mayor of Tirana, Mr. Sokol Dedja, Deputy Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania and Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA. Mr. Mazniku claimed that EU integration process does not regard only technical aspects but, on the contrary, reform chapters imply European values, which people recognise and share together. Mr. Dedja highlighted that negotiation chapters concern the transformation of our societies and youth is the most important stakeholder in this process because they are the future. Mrs. Valmorbida asserted that: “with the project “Regional Youth Compact for Europe” we are trying to show to the EU that the way to move forward for the Wester Balkans is their accession and youth has a key-role. We need an answer for the conditions in the Western Balkans societies and the answer is the EU and the moment is now.” 
Other topics discussed during the Forum were the European and Regional policies for cooperation and the panellists were Mr. Djuro Blanusa, Secretary General of RYCO, and Mr. Gjergj Murra, Executive Director of the Western Balkans Fund. Furthermore, positive practices on making the EU agenda more youth friendly were shared from representatives of public bodies and civil society from the Western Balkan countries. 
The Forum was followed by the Annual Conference of the ALDA – Western Balkans Network for Local Democracy, which involved local stakeholders from civil society, both public and business sector from the Western Balkans. 
The Regional Thematic Network Forum and the Annual Conference were organised by Youth Act Albania, in the framework of the project “Regional youth compact for Europe”, implemented by the Center for Democracy Foundation, Balkan Network for Local Democracy, CRTA, Youth Act and Sodem. This project is funded by the European Union and the Balkan Trust for Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

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