The ‘Enlargement Day’ organised by the Committee of the Regions in cooperation with DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), and the European Commission took place on 4 and 5 May 2023 in Brussel, Belgium.
This year’s ‘Enlargement Day’ faces a changed political reality, with Ukraine, Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina being granted candidate status and Kosovo* as potential candidate for EU accession. Therefore, the EU’s enlargement policy is now at a moment of particular political focus.
The presentations and debates of the working groups and joint consultative committees held during the ‘Enlargement Day’ were dedicated to raising awareness of the local and regional dimension of the enlargement process. Its members exchanged experiences and best practices with the invited guest speaker on how to involve local and regional authorities in EU enlargement policy.
Local and regional authorities play a key role in EU accession
This year’s event also celebrates 2023 as the European Year of Skills, all the seven sub-events of ‘Enlargement Day’ also addressed this topic. The ‘Enlargement Day’ represented the opportunity to explore the needs and priorities in terms of what skills are needed by local and regional stakeholders and the way to operate in line with EU rules and procedures. Particular focus was put on the current issues such as brain-drain to the EU countries.
ALDA’s regional coordinator for Western Balkans and Director of the Skopje office, Ms. Katica Janeva, followed the event in Brussels and shared the experience of ALDA especially in the part empowering skills of public administration and the issue of brain-drain. ALDA’s work in the Western Balkans focuses on the EU perspective and capacity building of local authorities.
The ‘Enlargement Day’ is the CoR’s annual flagship event on EU enlargement policy, first held in 2015. Its raison d’être is the growing realisation among the EU institutions and partner countries alike that a country joining the EU needs to prepare not only its central government and administration for accession, but also its local and regional authorities.