The accession of Croatia to the EU marks a turning point for my country, torn by conflict only two decades ago. I think that Croatia is now a stable democracy, capable of taking on the obligations of EU membership and eager to help other acceding countries during their process. Ahead of us we have a challenging time and we need to be able to grasp as good as possible the opportunities offered in this period, both political and economical. This is a chance that comes only once!
The work carried out by the Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA) in Croatia during the past years has strongly supported the integration of the country in Europe. The activities of ALDA and of the three Local Democracy Agencies, based in Verteneglio/Brtonigla, Sisak and Osijek, were important to build trust, promote citizen participation and European values, and strengthen local authorities. They will become now Operational Partners of the Association of the Local Democracy Agencies and fundamental parts of our activities in South Eastern Europe.
The main values of Istria, my region, have always been multiculturalism, multiethnicity, tolerance and antifascism, and since the 1990s it has been particularly active in promoting the integration of Croatia in the EU. I am therefore confident that my country and region will concretely reinvigorate the democratic spirit of the European Union.
President of the Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA)
Head of Department for International Cooperation and European Integration, Region Istria