Youth employment and social-inclusion for Azeri youth - Project YES, TODAY kicking off

During the European project FUNNY – Fighting UNemployment through Networking for Youth, from 2-7 December in Baku, Azerbaijan, the launching conference of the project “YES, TODAY!” was organised by ALDA. Several seminars and workshops took place during the week, which targeted young Azeri people (students, youth workers, unemployed), to promote debate and increase their knowledge on the topics of youth employment, and to increase their participation in the local community.

Through these activities, young Azeri participants were informed about the upcoming launch of the youth centre, which is the core of the project YES, TODAY!, and of its objectives. Furthermore, they developed skills and knowledge on their country job market and employment. Thanks to the interaction with the international participants from other 16 states in the enlarged Europe, they also got in touch with a variety of youth workers, setting the basis for international cooperation and joint activities.

The Youth Centre will provide a wide range of activities. First of all, it will provide information, training, workshops and professional assistance in the employment field to young Azeri people. At the same time, its activities will enhance social commitment and fight exclusion. The centre will also function as an incubator of innovative ideas and initiatives and develop international projects, thus ensuring its internationalization and financial sustainability.

The project YES, TODAY! is co-founded by the Waldensian Evangelical Church. For more information and upcoming news, follow ALDA’s website and social networks.

During the European project FUNNY – Fighting UNemployment through Networking for Youth, from 2-7 December in Baku, Azerbaijan, the launching conference of the project “YES, TODAY!” was organised by ALDA. Several seminars and workshops took place during the week, which targeted young Azeri people (students, youth workers, unemployed), to promote debate and increase their knowledge on the topics of youth employment, and to increase their participation in the local community.

Through these activities, young Azeri participants were informed about the upcoming launch of the youth centre, which is the core of the project YES, TODAY!, and of its objectives. Furthermore, they developed skills and knowledge on their country job market and employment. Thanks to the interaction with the international participants from other 16 states in the enlarged Europe, they also got in touch with a variety of youth workers, setting the basis for international cooperation and joint activities.

The Youth Centre will provide a wide range of activities. First of all, it will provide information, training, workshops and professional assistance in the employment field to young Azeri people. At the same time, its activities will enhance social commitment and fight exclusion. The centre will also function as an incubator of innovative ideas and initiatives and develop international projects, thus ensuring its internationalization and financial sustainability.

The project YES, TODAY! is co-founded by the Waldensian Evangelical Church. For more information and upcoming news, follow ALDA’s website and social networks.


Conference "Populisms and Democracy in Europe" - Friday 31 January, Vicenza

ALDA, together with the Permanent Representation of the European Commission in Italy and the European Federalist Movement, Vicenza Section, is organizing the conference “Populisms and Democracies in Europe”, sponsored by the Regional Council of Veneto and the Municipality of Vicenza. The event will be held Friday, January 31, starting at 17.00, at the headquarters of the Municipality of Vicenza, Palazzo Trissino – Sala degli Stucchi, in Corso Palladio 98.

The conference will be attended as speakers by Antonella Valmorbida (Director of ALDA – the European Association of Local Democracy), Federico Formisano (President of the City Council of Vicenza), Lucio Battistotti (Director of the Permanent Representation of the European Commission in Italy), Prof. Alessandro Cavalli (University of Pavia), Prof. Lucio Levi (President of the European Federalist Movement), Giorgio Anselmi (Director of the European Unit) and Fabio Pietribiasi (Secretary MFE – Section of Vicenza).

The event aims to promote a structured reflection on the risks of anti-European positions, bringing attention to the federalist approach to European integration, understood as a path of democratic revitalization and institutional reorganization of our continent.

To participate in the event, please confirm your presence to Mattia Brazzale, by sending a confirmation email to mattia.brazzale@aldaintranet.org, or by calling 0444 540146.

For more information about the event, please consult the agenda.

ALDA, together with the Permanent Representation of the European Commission in Italy and the European Federalist Movement, Vicenza Section, is organizing the conference “Populisms and Democracies in Europe”, sponsored by the Regional Council of Veneto and the Municipality of Vicenza. The event will be held Friday, January 31, starting at 17.00, at the headquarters of the Municipality of Vicenza, Palazzo Trissino – Sala degli Stucchi, in Corso Palladio 98.

The conference will be attended as speakers by Antonella Valmorbida (Director of ALDA – the European Association of Local Democracy), Federico Formisano (President of the City Council of Vicenza), Lucio Battistotti (Director of the Permanent Representation of the European Commission in Italy), Prof. Alessandro Cavalli (University of Pavia), Prof. Lucio Levi (President of the European Federalist Movement), Giorgio Anselmi (Director of the European Unit) and Fabio Pietribiasi (Secretary MFE – Section of Vicenza).

The event aims to promote a structured reflection on the risks of anti-European positions, bringing attention to the federalist approach to European integration, understood as a path of democratic revitalization and institutional reorganization of our continent.

To participate in the event, please confirm your presence to Mattia Brazzale, by sending a confirmation email to mattia.brazzale@aldaintranet.org, or by calling 0444 540146.

For more information about the event, please consult the agenda.


ALDA at the Europe for Citizens Forum

Today, 28 January 2014, the Europe for Citizens Forum is tacking place in Brussels and Marco Boaria, Resource and Development Unit Coordinator, is attending the event representing ALDA.

The event brings together key organisations which participated in the Europe for Citizens programme in the past to reflect on the most important conceptual issues facing the European citizenship, European memory and remembrance.
The Forum is an opportunity to demonstrate the achievements of the programme so far, share good projects examples and best practices. The new programme Europe for Citizens 2014-2020 is almost finalized, and it will be launched in the next weeks.

ALDA is part of the Structured Dialogue with the European Commission for the programme Europe for Citizens, thanks to its 15 years experience in promoting citizens’ participation in Europe and its Neighborhood. Together with our members and partners, we are looking forward to start developing projects in the new programming period 2014-2020.

Today, 28 January 2014, the Europe for Citizens Forum is tacking place in Brussels and Marco Boaria, Resource and Development Unit Coordinator, is attending the event representing ALDA.

The event brings together key organisations which participated in the Europe for Citizens programme in the past to reflect on the most important conceptual issues facing the European citizenship, European memory and remembrance.
The Forum is an opportunity to demonstrate the achievements of the programme so far, share good projects examples and best practices. The new programme Europe for Citizens 2014-2020 is almost finalized, and it will be launched in the next weeks.

ALDA is part of the Structured Dialogue with the European Commission for the programme Europe for Citizens, thanks to its 15 years experience in promoting citizens’ participation in Europe and its Neighborhood. Together with our members and partners, we are looking forward to start developing projects in the new programming period 2014-2020.


CIVICUS is looking for an intern for the Brussels Office

CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation, is looking for an intern for its office in Brussels who will work together with CIVICUS and ALDA staff.

The intern will be supervised by CIVICUS’ Head of Strategy (based in London) and will work closely on a daily basis with CIVICUS’ Membership Officer (based in Johannesburg). The intern will be based at the Brussels office of CIVICUS member the Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA) and, as the only CIVICUS staff located in Brussels, will be expected to work both remotely with CIVICUS staff and in Brussels with ALDA staff.

Main task and responsibilities:

– Increasing CIVICUS’ physical presence and impact in Europe

– Engaging and recruiting CIVICUS members

– Contributing to the development and implementation of CIVICUS projects

The internship is unpaid.

The internship is located formally and legally with ALDA, so we will reimburse the intern for lunch and travel expenses up to a maximum of 150 Euros per month. To apply, please send your CV and a short cover letter outlining your aspirations, availability and suitability for the role and the contact details of three current referees to humanresources@civicus.org by Wednesday, 12 February 2014.

For other information please see the page of the vacancy on CIVICUS website

CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation, is looking for an intern for its office in Brussels who will work together with CIVICUS and ALDA staff.

The intern will be supervised by CIVICUS’ Head of Strategy (based in London) and will work closely on a daily basis with CIVICUS’ Membership Officer (based in Johannesburg). The intern will be based at the Brussels office of CIVICUS member the Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA) and, as the only CIVICUS staff located in Brussels, will be expected to work both remotely with CIVICUS staff and in Brussels with ALDA staff.

Main task and responsibilities:

– Increasing CIVICUS’ physical presence and impact in Europe

– Engaging and recruiting CIVICUS members

– Contributing to the development and implementation of CIVICUS projects

The internship is unpaid.

The internship is located formally and legally with ALDA, so we will reimburse the intern for lunch and travel expenses up to a maximum of 150 Euros per month. To apply, please send your CV and a short cover letter outlining your aspirations, availability and suitability for the role and the contact details of three current referees to humanresources@civicus.org by Wednesday, 12 February 2014.

For other information please see the page of the vacancy on CIVICUS website


Become Euro-Designers in Vicenza, course of Euro-Design of ALDA

ALDA organizes a course of Euro-Design on the new European programming 2014-2020. The course will provide participants with the necessary information and tools to take their first steps and orient themselves in the field of European planning.

Through the proposed training course, participants will learn to:

– know the community programs

– Find the necessary information

– set up a project proposal

The course is particularly suitable for students, social and cultural workers and for those who work for associations or local authorities. Among the trainers there will be Marco Boaria, Head of the Resources and Development Department of ALDA, Anna Ditta, Project Manager of ALDA, as well as ad hoc experts.

The course will take place in 7 meetings (one day a week) for a total of 20 hours of training and will be held every Monday, at ALDA headquarters in Vicenza, Viale Milano 66. The time will be agreed according to the needs of participants. The beginning of the course is scheduled for the end of February. At the end of the course will be issued a certificate of attendance.

For more information see the detailed program and the information flyer.

To enroll you must fill out the formulaire de candidature and send it, by February 15, to Anna Ditta, who is also available for more information: anna.ditta@aldaintranet.org – tel 0444 54 01 46

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

ALDA organizes a course of Euro-Design on the new European programming 2014-2020. The course will provide participants with the necessary information and tools to take their first steps and orient themselves in the field of European planning.

Through the proposed training course, participants will learn to:

– know the community programs

– Find the necessary information

– set up a project proposal

The course is particularly suitable for students, social and cultural workers and for those who work for associations or local authorities. Among the trainers there will be Marco Boaria, Head of the Resources and Development Department of ALDA, Anna Ditta, Project Manager of ALDA, as well as ad hoc experts.

The course will take place in 7 meetings (one day a week) for a total of 20 hours of training and will be held every Monday, at ALDA headquarters in Vicenza, Viale Milano 66. The time will be agreed according to the needs of participants. The beginning of the course is scheduled for the end of February. At the end of the course will be issued a certificate of attendance.

For more information see the detailed program and the information flyer.

To enroll you must fill out the formulaire de candidature and send it, by February 15, to Anna Ditta, who is also available for more information: anna.ditta@aldaintranet.org – tel 0444 54 01 46

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)


Adoption of the Citizens Manifesto for Health and Environment - project COHEIRS

The project COHEIRS – one of the most significant of ALDA in 2013 and 2014 – adopted the Citizens Manifesto for Health and Environment in Rome on the 24th of January 2014, during a national event at the Seat of the European Parliament in Rome.

At the presence of the most important and relevant stakeholders dealing with protection of health in Italy (from the institutions and from the civil society groups), the partners of the projects presented their recent studies dealing mostly with the diffusion of cancer and the extremely high levels seen in some areas of the country. In particular, the project Coheirs works on the preparation and development of civil environmental observers who can share – in a preventive way – information about possible risks for health for the population. Indeed, they refer to the art 191 of the European Treaty which underlines this Prevention Principle, which should alert and bring the institution to react in case of “expected” risks even if – not yet- fully supported by scientific data. The principle of prevention and the possibility for citizens to be active at the early stage of the environmental risks is a fundamental element that needs to be recognised for decreasing the causes of cancer – widespreading all over Europe and in particular in Italy.

“The cooperation with ALDA has been a fantastic instrument to give practical tools and means to our ideas and needs”, said the prof. Alessandro Distante, Chairman of ISBEM, the main partner and scientific support of the programme Coheirs. The link between active citizenship, protection of health and identification of possible environmental risks are particularly evident is some areas critical in Europe like in the area around Naples, where – for non regulated toxic waste – the population is highly at risk. Many associations of citizens coming from Campania (the region where Naples is the capital), where present at the Conference and brought a great contribution. ALDA team was represented by the Director, Antonella Valmorbida, who confirmed her full support – and the one coming from all ALDA – to this important project and for its future steps.

The project COHEIRS – one of the most significant of ALDA in 2013 and 2014 – adopted the Citizens Manifesto for Health and Environment in Rome on the 24th of January 2014, during a national event at the Seat of the European Parliament in Rome.

At the presence of the most important and relevant stakeholders dealing with protection of health in Italy (from the institutions and from the civil society groups), the partners of the projects presented their recent studies dealing mostly with the diffusion of cancer and the extremely high levels seen in some areas of the country. In particular, the project Coheirs works on the preparation and development of civil environmental observers who can share – in a preventive way – information about possible risks for health for the population. Indeed, they refer to the art 191 of the European Treaty which underlines this Prevention Principle, which should alert and bring the institution to react in case of “expected” risks even if – not yet- fully supported by scientific data. The principle of prevention and the possibility for citizens to be active at the early stage of the environmental risks is a fundamental element that needs to be recognised for decreasing the causes of cancer – widespreading all over Europe and in particular in Italy.

“The cooperation with ALDA has been a fantastic instrument to give practical tools and means to our ideas and needs”, said the prof. Alessandro Distante, Chairman of ISBEM, the main partner and scientific support of the programme Coheirs. The link between active citizenship, protection of health and identification of possible environmental risks are particularly evident is some areas critical in Europe like in the area around Naples, where – for non regulated toxic waste – the population is highly at risk. Many associations of citizens coming from Campania (the region where Naples is the capital), where present at the Conference and brought a great contribution. ALDA team was represented by the Director, Antonella Valmorbida, who confirmed her full support – and the one coming from all ALDA – to this important project and for its future steps.


Protection of health and identification of possible risks in the environment - Europe gives us the possibility to live safer

Alessandro Distante is a famous cardiovascular doctor in Italy and in Europe. He had the merit of working and making public the ecography cardiovasocolare in Italy. He is now giving time and energy to support the work of ISBEM, member of ALDA and main partner of COHEIRS. During the national event in Rome, the importance of the European context has been highlighted to all the attendees as well as the “Manifesto for citizens” involved in protection of health and environment.

“Europe is for us a fundamental support, both for our scientific work and for giving us the operational context in the field of prevention”, mentioned Prof. Distante. He referred to art 191 of the Unione Treaty which is underlining the concept of Prevention in the protection of health.

On 24 and 25t May, let’s vote for the European Parliament, let’s vote for Europe to protect our rights to healthy environment.

Alessandro Distante is a famous cardiovascular doctor in Italy and in Europe. He had the merit of working and making public the ecography cardiovasocolare in Italy. He is now giving time and energy to support the work of ISBEM, member of ALDA and main partner of COHEIRS. During the national event in Rome, the importance of the European context has been highlighted to all the attendees as well as the “Manifesto for citizens” involved in protection of health and environment.

“Europe is for us a fundamental support, both for our scientific work and for giving us the operational context in the field of prevention”, mentioned Prof. Distante. He referred to art 191 of the Unione Treaty which is underlining the concept of Prevention in the protection of health.

On 24 and 25t May, let’s vote for the European Parliament, let’s vote for Europe to protect our rights to healthy environment.


The Italian Alliance for the European Year of Citizens will continue in 2014!

From Recommendations to Implementation

The Italian Alliance for the European Year of Citizens, established in 2013, will continue its activities in 2014. It follows the suggestion of the European Alliance which, during it last plenary meeting in December 2013, decided to go on with tis activities.

The EU did not decid a new Priority in 2014 and there are now negotiations for having a full recognition for the year 2014 being recognised the YEAR OF THE IMPLEMENTATION.

The Italian Alliance had its first meeting on 24 January 2014 in Rome, at the headquarter of the CIME. The first priorities will be to disseminate widely the IT and EU recommendations of the EYCA 2013. It will also strongly support the campaign of awareness for the European Parliament elections in May. Italy will also chair the European Council from 1st of July 2014. The Alliance will request a specific meeting with the team preparing the priorities of the Presidency. 2013 is over but there are still plenty of things to do!

See the website of the Italian Alliance for the European Year of Citizens

From Recommendations to Implementation

The Italian Alliance for the European Year of Citizens, established in 2013, will continue its activities in 2014. It follows the suggestion of the European Alliance which, during it last plenary meeting in December 2013, decided to go on with tis activities.

The EU did not decid a new Priority in 2014 and there are now negotiations for having a full recognition for the year 2014 being recognised the YEAR OF THE IMPLEMENTATION.

The Italian Alliance had its first meeting on 24 January 2014 in Rome, at the headquarter of the CIME. The first priorities will be to disseminate widely the IT and EU recommendations of the EYCA 2013. It will also strongly support the campaign of awareness for the European Parliament elections in May. Italy will also chair the European Council from 1st of July 2014. The Alliance will request a specific meeting with the team preparing the priorities of the Presidency. 2013 is over but there are still plenty of things to do!

See the website of the Italian Alliance for the European Year of Citizens


ALDA calls upon the European institution to support democracy in Ukraine and Azerbaijan

The Association of Local Democracy Agencies has been working for many years to support the democratic and European path of Ukraine.

We are extremely worried by the authoritarian new laws passed on 16th January, and we call upon the European Institutions and the Council of Europe to immediately take position and insist on an end to all violence, and to support the start of a dialogue involving also the whole civil society.

Read our call(.pdf) and see the list of our members who signed it

ALDA Governing Board

Oriano Otočan, Istria Region, Croatia

Imislawa Gorska, International School of Bydgoszcz, Poland

Alessandro Perelli, Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Italy

Roger Lawrence, Wolverhampton City Council, United Kingdom

Paula Rauzan, Local Democracy Agency of Sisak, Croatia

Per Vinther

Annie Anne, Lower Normandy Region, France

Mircea Cosma, Prahova County, Romania

Lucio Gregoretti, City of Monfalcone, Italy

Dobrica Milovanovic, City of Kragujevac, Serbia

Ruggiero Mennea, Apulia Region, Italy

Valery Deschamps, Association “Maison de l’Europe”, Caen, France

Dragan Dosen, LDA Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina
ALDA members signatorees

Prahova County, Romania

STUDIO PROGETTO, Italy

Consortium EUROBELARUS, Lithuania

Association for Developing Voluntary Work Novo Mesto, Slovenia

Villes apprenantes, Italie

Agora Central Europe, Czech Republic

ISBEM – Istituo Sientifico Biomedico Euro Mediterraneo, Apulia, Italy

***

ALDA has also been actively involved in furthering the democratic and European path undertaken by Azerbaijan. We are extremely concerned by the restrictive amendments to the NGO Act passed by the Azeri Parliament on 17th December 2013 to control the activities of NGOs.

We join the 60 national NGOs’ appeal to the Head of State not to sign those amendments. We therefore call  upon the European Institutions and the Council of Europe to immediately and clearly oppose the above-mentioned amendments to the NGO Act.

Read our call (.pdf) and see the list of our members who signed it

ALDA Governing Board

Oriano Otočan, Istria Region, Croatia

Imislawa Gorska, International School of Bydgoszcz, Poland

Alessandro Perelli, Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Italy

Roger Lawrence, Wolverhampton City Council, United Kingdom

Paula Rauzan, Local Democracy Agency of Sisak, Croatia

Per Vinther

Annie Anne, Lower Normandy Region, France

Mircea Cosma, Prahova County, Romania

Lucio Gregoretti, City of Monfalcone, Italy

Dobrica Milovanovic, City of Kragujevac, Serbia

Ruggiero Mennea, Apulia Region, Italy

Valery Deschamps, Association “Maison de l’Europe”, Caen, France

Dragan Dosen, LDA Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina
ALDA members signatorees

Prahova County, Romania

STUDIO PROGETTO, Italy

Consortium EUROBELARUS, Lithuania

Association for Developing Voluntary Work Novo Mesto, Slovenia

Villes apprenantes, Italie

Agora Central Europe, Czech Republic

ISBEM – Istituo Sientifico Biomedico Euro Mediterraneo, Apulia, Italy

The Association of Local Democracy Agencies has been working for many years to support the democratic and European path of Ukraine.

We are extremely worried by the authoritarian new laws passed on 16th January, and we call upon the European Institutions and the Council of Europe to immediately take position and insist on an end to all violence, and to support the start of a dialogue involving also the whole civil society.

Read our call(.pdf) and see the list of our members who signed it

ALDA Governing Board

Oriano Otočan, Istria Region, Croatia

Imislawa Gorska, International School of Bydgoszcz, Poland

Alessandro Perelli, Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Italy

Roger Lawrence, Wolverhampton City Council, United Kingdom

Paula Rauzan, Local Democracy Agency of Sisak, Croatia

Per Vinther

Annie Anne, Lower Normandy Region, France

Mircea Cosma, Prahova County, Romania

Lucio Gregoretti, City of Monfalcone, Italy

Dobrica Milovanovic, City of Kragujevac, Serbia

Ruggiero Mennea, Apulia Region, Italy

Valery Deschamps, Association “Maison de l’Europe”, Caen, France

Dragan Dosen, LDA Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina
ALDA members signatorees

Prahova County, Romania

STUDIO PROGETTO, Italy

Consortium EUROBELARUS, Lithuania

Association for Developing Voluntary Work Novo Mesto, Slovenia

Villes apprenantes, Italie

Agora Central Europe, Czech Republic

ISBEM – Istituo Sientifico Biomedico Euro Mediterraneo, Apulia, Italy

***

ALDA has also been actively involved in furthering the democratic and European path undertaken by Azerbaijan. We are extremely concerned by the restrictive amendments to the NGO Act passed by the Azeri Parliament on 17th December 2013 to control the activities of NGOs.

We join the 60 national NGOs’ appeal to the Head of State not to sign those amendments. We therefore call  upon the European Institutions and the Council of Europe to immediately and clearly oppose the above-mentioned amendments to the NGO Act.

Read our call (.pdf) and see the list of our members who signed it

ALDA Governing Board

Oriano Otočan, Istria Region, Croatia

Imislawa Gorska, International School of Bydgoszcz, Poland

Alessandro Perelli, Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Italy

Roger Lawrence, Wolverhampton City Council, United Kingdom

Paula Rauzan, Local Democracy Agency of Sisak, Croatia

Per Vinther

Annie Anne, Lower Normandy Region, France

Mircea Cosma, Prahova County, Romania

Lucio Gregoretti, City of Monfalcone, Italy

Dobrica Milovanovic, City of Kragujevac, Serbia

Ruggiero Mennea, Apulia Region, Italy

Valery Deschamps, Association “Maison de l’Europe”, Caen, France

Dragan Dosen, LDA Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina
ALDA members signatorees

Prahova County, Romania

STUDIO PROGETTO, Italy

Consortium EUROBELARUS, Lithuania

Association for Developing Voluntary Work Novo Mesto, Slovenia

Villes apprenantes, Italie

Agora Central Europe, Czech Republic

ISBEM – Istituo Sientifico Biomedico Euro Mediterraneo, Apulia, Italy


Serbia officially starts the accession negotiation with the EU - History of the EU integration in making

After Montenegro started the negotiations in 2012, and Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, the sequence of EU integration in the Western Balkan continues with Serbia, starting the official accession negotiation with the EU on 21 January 2014.

The accession negotiations have become a more complex challenge with new rules in the enlargement process for the aspiring countries in the region.  The so called enlargement fatigue, the economic crisis deeply affecting also the candidate countries have led to new conditionality approaches, more demanding monitoring of the progress made for countries in post-conflict transition to democracy. Lessons learnt from the process of Croatia’s accession are an important heritage for Montenegro and Serbia sharing the common historic, cultural, linguistic background. In this way, the experience gained throughout opening and closing the negotiation chapters in one country has become a valuable incentive for bilateral/regional institutional co-operation for two more countries in the Western Balkans.

The ongoing intensive visits including the exchange of the parliamentarian commissions for EU integration of Montenegro and Serbia with the Croatian counterparts, an increasing use in public of the EU integration related vocabulary pertaining to the 35 negotiation chapters (what are we negotiating about?) are an evident signal of the political will to accelerate the reforms needed so much after the years of “postponed transition” in Serbia in particular.

Twenty-first January 2014 is therefore even more a historic event, since the start of official negotiation process leaves behind the phase in which the EU integration was largely located within the government institutions. The compulsory screening process within each of the chapters indicates a need for introducing a wide consultation with all the relevant stakeholders of EU integration process – local authorities and civil society in particular, since some 70% of the implementation of evolving acquis is taking place at the local tier of government. The development of sufficient administrative capacity at local level, full implementation of key reforms and legislation in the areas of the rule of law, reform of the judiciary, effective implementation of legislation on the protection of minorities, the non-discriminatory treatment of national minorities, tackling discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity are some of the key challenges of the IPA 2014-2020 Programming phase requiring much more effective planning and coordination with the local authorities and civil society sector.

This is exactly the area for further actions planning for both ALDA and LDAs in Serbia and Montenegro is extremely important, as already included in the SECO network (Sectoral CSO coordination process) of NGOs involved in public administration reform and CSOs development. Participating in continued dialogue between the EU and civil society in these two countries is more than necessary so as to contribute to realization of the basic mission of ALDA and LDAs in the region: bringing people in local communities together to help ensure the support of citizens for the accession process.

Stanka Parac Damjanovic
ALDA regional Programme Coordinator

After Montenegro started the negotiations in 2012, and Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, the sequence of EU integration in the Western Balkan continues with Serbia, starting the official accession negotiation with the EU on 21 January 2014.

The accession negotiations have become a more complex challenge with new rules in the enlargement process for the aspiring countries in the region.  The so called enlargement fatigue, the economic crisis deeply affecting also the candidate countries have led to new conditionality approaches, more demanding monitoring of the progress made for countries in post-conflict transition to democracy. Lessons learnt from the process of Croatia’s accession are an important heritage for Montenegro and Serbia sharing the common historic, cultural, linguistic background. In this way, the experience gained throughout opening and closing the negotiation chapters in one country has become a valuable incentive for bilateral/regional institutional co-operation for two more countries in the Western Balkans.

The ongoing intensive visits including the exchange of the parliamentarian commissions for EU integration of Montenegro and Serbia with the Croatian counterparts, an increasing use in public of the EU integration related vocabulary pertaining to the 35 negotiation chapters (what are we negotiating about?) are an evident signal of the political will to accelerate the reforms needed so much after the years of “postponed transition” in Serbia in particular.

Twenty-first January 2014 is therefore even more a historic event, since the start of official negotiation process leaves behind the phase in which the EU integration was largely located within the government institutions. The compulsory screening process within each of the chapters indicates a need for introducing a wide consultation with all the relevant stakeholders of EU integration process – local authorities and civil society in particular, since some 70% of the implementation of evolving acquis is taking place at the local tier of government. The development of sufficient administrative capacity at local level, full implementation of key reforms and legislation in the areas of the rule of law, reform of the judiciary, effective implementation of legislation on the protection of minorities, the non-discriminatory treatment of national minorities, tackling discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity are some of the key challenges of the IPA 2014-2020 Programming phase requiring much more effective planning and coordination with the local authorities and civil society sector.

This is exactly the area for further actions planning for both ALDA and LDAs in Serbia and Montenegro is extremely important, as already included in the SECO network (Sectoral CSO coordination process) of NGOs involved in public administration reform and CSOs development. Participating in continued dialogue between the EU and civil society in these two countries is more than necessary so as to contribute to realization of the basic mission of ALDA and LDAs in the region: bringing people in local communities together to help ensure the support of citizens for the accession process.

Stanka Parac Damjanovic
ALDA regional Programme Coordinator