ALDA joins the Eurozone Watchdog Network, to improve and reform governance in the Eurozone

On December the 6th, 18 organisations – including ALDA – undersigned the Eurozone Watchdog Network Manifesto proposed by Transparency International EU, to foster reforms in the governance of the European Union
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On the same date, the European Commission proposed a series of long overdue reforms on how the Eurozone is governed, including changes to the European Stability Mechanism, a new EU Finance Minister and a dedicated budget.

These proposals coincide with the launch of a new Eurozone Watchdog Network of 18 organisations dedicated to monitoring the transparency, accountability and democratic standards of the Eurozone. Amongst them, ALDA is present as a signatory, bringing our expertise and long-standing history as a bastion in the promotion of good governance at the local level.

The Watchdog Network welcomes the Commission’s focus on more democratic legitimacy and institutional reforms. In the Network Manifesto, the undersigned organisations call on the Commission to begin negotiations on a legal agreement to make the Eurogroup accountable to the European Parliament, ahead of the 2019 EU elections.

“Major decisions affecting us all have been taken behind the closed doors of the Eurogroup for far too long”, said Leo Hoffmann-Axthelm of Transparency International EU. “Member States must stop hiding behind this lack of transparency and take full responsibility for their actions. The Euro must be governed in the interests of European citizens,” continued Hoffmann-Axthelm.

“We have always supported a stronger, more transparent and accountable Eurozone governance”, added Petros Fassoulas, Secretary General of the European Movement International. “We are happy to be part of this initiative, and will continue to advocate for this, including a bigger role for the European Parliament.”

 

Signatory organisations:
• Access Info Europe
• Better Europe
• European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA)
• European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI)
• European Democracy Lab
• European Movement International
• European Women’s Lobby
• Fair Finance Institute
• Finance Watch
• Positive Money
• QE for People
• Social Platform
• Solidar
• Talous Demokratia
• Union of European Federalists
• UNI Europa

Useful Resources
Network Manifesto (.pdf)
European Commission Proposal

On December the 6th, 18 organisations – including ALDA – undersigned the Eurozone Watchdog Network Manifesto proposed by Transparency International EU, to foster reforms in the governance of the European Union
***

 

On the same date, the European Commission proposed a series of long overdue reforms on how the Eurozone is governed, including changes to the European Stability Mechanism, a new EU Finance Minister and a dedicated budget.

These proposals coincide with the launch of a new Eurozone Watchdog Network of 18 organisations dedicated to monitoring the transparency, accountability and democratic standards of the Eurozone. Amongst them, ALDA is present as a signatory, bringing our expertise and long-standing history as a bastion in the promotion of good governance at the local level.

The Watchdog Network welcomes the Commission’s focus on more democratic legitimacy and institutional reforms. In the Network Manifesto, the undersigned organisations call on the Commission to begin negotiations on a legal agreement to make the Eurogroup accountable to the European Parliament, ahead of the 2019 EU elections.

“Major decisions affecting us all have been taken behind the closed doors of the Eurogroup for far too long”, said Leo Hoffmann-Axthelm of Transparency International EU. “Member States must stop hiding behind this lack of transparency and take full responsibility for their actions. The Euro must be governed in the interests of European citizens,” continued Hoffmann-Axthelm.

“We have always supported a stronger, more transparent and accountable Eurozone governance”, added Petros Fassoulas, Secretary General of the European Movement International. “We are happy to be part of this initiative, and will continue to advocate for this, including a bigger role for the European Parliament.”

 

Signatory organisations:
• Access Info Europe
• Better Europe
• European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA)
• European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI)
• European Democracy Lab
• European Movement International
• European Women’s Lobby
• Fair Finance Institute
• Finance Watch
• Positive Money
• QE for People
• Social Platform
• Solidar
• Talous Demokratia
• Union of European Federalists
• UNI Europa

Useful Resources
Network Manifesto (.pdf)
European Commission Proposal


Empowering Local Democracy Agencies with a Partnership Support Scheme

On 5 December the proposal for a Partnership Support Scheme supporting the network of Local Democracy Agencies (LDAs) was discussed in Brussels, Belgium, in a meeting gathering over 40 representatives from all over the enlarged Europe

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Delegates and partners of the LDAs were present, as well as representatives from the European Commission, DG NEAR and the Committee of Regions. The event was introduced by Mr Oriano Otočan – President of ALDA – who greeted the audience and explained the necessity to find a more structured way to carry out our activities.

Following this initial speech, Mrs Antonella Valmorbida – Secretary-General of ALDA – played a short clip sent to ALDA by Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, in which the Commissioner congratulated and thanked ALDA and the LDAs for their work and achievements.

Mrs Valmorbida then presented a proposal for a Partnership Support Scheme for LDAs. The Local Democracy Agency programme began in 1992 in the Western Balkans on the initiative Congress of the Council of Europe with the aim of strengthening local democracy, foster respect for human rights and promote sustainable development in the region. Today, the number of LDAs is up to 13 and they are present not only in the Western Balkans, but also in the Eastern Partnership area, in Southern Caucasus and in Northern Africa. The most recent one was established on 9th December in Mariupol (Ukraine), a region close to the troublesome region of Donbass.

While all LDAs work toward the same values, their actions are further tailored accordingly to their local needs and priorities. In the Balkans, they work on the promotion of good neighbourly relations and inclusive regional co-operation among divided communities and countries, while also fostering the establishment and improvement of democratic practices at the local level. In the Eastern Partnership Area, LDAs focus more on developing multi-stakeholder local decentralised cooperation, on fostering citizen participation in local decision-making process and development, as well as decentralisation and local democracy, while in the Maghreb (MED) area, the recently established LDA Tunisia (and, soon, LDA Morocco) focus on supporting the democratization process, with a particular eye on promoting social equality and women rights.

The unique feature of LDAs is their focus on improving cooperation and partnership between local and international partners and between local authorities and NGOs, giving added values to the process of designing projects and implementing local activities. All these factors combined make LDAs efficient multipliers of partners’ investments, whose impact on local communities is often estimated to be increased by a factor of 20! The presented proposal aims at exploiting LDAs efficiency with the support of European partners.

Participants were then divided in regional working groups (Western Balkans, Eastern Partnership, and Med area) and proceeded in discussing best practices and strategies with the delegates from the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions.

Useful Resources

Commissioner Hahn video-message
LADDER project website

On 5 December the proposal for a Partnership Support Scheme supporting the network of Local Democracy Agencies (LDAs) was discussed in Brussels, Belgium, in a meeting gathering over 40 representatives from all over the enlarged Europe

***
Delegates and partners of the LDAs were present, as well as representatives from the European Commission, DG NEAR and the Committee of Regions. The event was introduced by Mr Oriano Otočan – President of ALDA – who greeted the audience and explained the necessity to find a more structured way to carry out our activities.

Following this initial speech, Mrs Antonella Valmorbida – Secretary-General of ALDA – played a short clip sent to ALDA by Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, in which the Commissioner congratulated and thanked ALDA and the LDAs for their work and achievements.

Mrs Valmorbida then presented a proposal for a Partnership Support Scheme for LDAs. The Local Democracy Agency programme began in 1992 in the Western Balkans on the initiative Congress of the Council of Europe with the aim of strengthening local democracy, foster respect for human rights and promote sustainable development in the region. Today, the number of LDAs is up to 13 and they are present not only in the Western Balkans, but also in the Eastern Partnership area, in Southern Caucasus and in Northern Africa. The most recent one was established on 9th December in Mariupol (Ukraine), a region close to the troublesome region of Donbass.

While all LDAs work toward the same values, their actions are further tailored accordingly to their local needs and priorities. In the Balkans, they work on the promotion of good neighbourly relations and inclusive regional co-operation among divided communities and countries, while also fostering the establishment and improvement of democratic practices at the local level. In the Eastern Partnership Area, LDAs focus more on developing multi-stakeholder local decentralised cooperation, on fostering citizen participation in local decision-making process and development, as well as decentralisation and local democracy, while in the Maghreb (MED) area, the recently established LDA Tunisia (and, soon, LDA Morocco) focus on supporting the democratization process, with a particular eye on promoting social equality and women rights.

The unique feature of LDAs is their focus on improving cooperation and partnership between local and international partners and between local authorities and NGOs, giving added values to the process of designing projects and implementing local activities. All these factors combined make LDAs efficient multipliers of partners’ investments, whose impact on local communities is often estimated to be increased by a factor of 20! The presented proposal aims at exploiting LDAs efficiency with the support of European partners.

Participants were then divided in regional working groups (Western Balkans, Eastern Partnership, and Med area) and proceeded in discussing best practices and strategies with the delegates from the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions.

Useful Resources

Commissioner Hahn video-message
LADDER project website


LDA Mostar signed a Charter on Cooperation with Bosnia & Herzegovina's Council of Ministers

Local Democracy Agency Mostar (LDA) was the first of 74 civil society organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina to sign a Charter on Cooperation with the BiH Council of Ministers. LDA Mostar actively participated in the consultations, and hope to be even more active in the implementation. This is definitely one instrument effectively building democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Within the project «Capacity Building of Government Institutions to Engage in Policy Dialogue with Civil Society in BiH (CBGI) – Phase II» funded by the European Union and aimed at improving dialogue between representatives of governmental institutions in BiH with citizens and representatives of civil society, a Charter on Cooperation was signed by the Chair of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Denis Zvizdić and representatives of more than 70 non-governmental organisations in BiH in a ceremony held on 30 November at the Parliamentary Assembly, in Sarajevo, BiH.

In the presence of the Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark and US Ambassador to BiH Maureen Cormack, the signatories of the Charter committed themselves to use all available resources to build a prosperous, just, and democratic society in BiH. In this process, civil society organizations will support the efforts of the BiH institutions in meeting the requirements for EU membership and bringing different stages of this process closer to the citizens.

In his address, Ambassador Wigemark underscored that the European Union gives great importance to the contribution of civil society in the EU integration processes, and said that this agreement might become a mechanism that civil society organisations and citizens will use to create a better common future. Ambassador Wigemark expressed hope that a similar agreement will be signed at other levels of the government, involving other non-governmental organizations, taking into account the importance of civil society participation in democracy and the European integration process: “This agreement will provide an important connection between citizens and government, and hopefully ensure that the voice of citizens is heard.”

The Project “Capacity Building of Government Institutions to Engage in Policy Dialogue with Civil Society in BiH (CBGI) – Phase II” is funded by the EU. The goal of the project is to focus on capacity building of governmental institutions in BiH, as well as on training civil servants to actively and effectively engage in political dialogue with civil society representatives in BiH. Capacity building refers to the further improvement of the dialogue on key issues related to the development and implementation of public policies.

More information about LDA Mostar.

Local Democracy Agency Mostar (LDA) was the first of 74 civil society organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina to sign a Charter on Cooperation with the BiH Council of Ministers. LDA Mostar actively participated in the consultations, and hope to be even more active in the implementation. This is definitely one instrument effectively building democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Within the project «Capacity Building of Government Institutions to Engage in Policy Dialogue with Civil Society in BiH (CBGI) – Phase II» funded by the European Union and aimed at improving dialogue between representatives of governmental institutions in BiH with citizens and representatives of civil society, a Charter on Cooperation was signed by the Chair of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Denis Zvizdić and representatives of more than 70 non-governmental organisations in BiH in a ceremony held on 30 November at the Parliamentary Assembly, in Sarajevo, BiH.

In the presence of the Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark and US Ambassador to BiH Maureen Cormack, the signatories of the Charter committed themselves to use all available resources to build a prosperous, just, and democratic society in BiH. In this process, civil society organizations will support the efforts of the BiH institutions in meeting the requirements for EU membership and bringing different stages of this process closer to the citizens.

In his address, Ambassador Wigemark underscored that the European Union gives great importance to the contribution of civil society in the EU integration processes, and said that this agreement might become a mechanism that civil society organisations and citizens will use to create a better common future. Ambassador Wigemark expressed hope that a similar agreement will be signed at other levels of the government, involving other non-governmental organizations, taking into account the importance of civil society participation in democracy and the European integration process: “This agreement will provide an important connection between citizens and government, and hopefully ensure that the voice of citizens is heard.”

The Project “Capacity Building of Government Institutions to Engage in Policy Dialogue with Civil Society in BiH (CBGI) – Phase II” is funded by the EU. The goal of the project is to focus on capacity building of governmental institutions in BiH, as well as on training civil servants to actively and effectively engage in political dialogue with civil society representatives in BiH. Capacity building refers to the further improvement of the dialogue on key issues related to the development and implementation of public policies.

More information about LDA Mostar.


SOLIDEuropa, a solidarity project - among women - in times of crisis

On 9 October 2017, the European project SOLIDEuropa, Solidarity between Women (co-financed by the European Europe for Citizens Program) has been concluded. This was implemented by the Municipality of Gazzo (PD) – one of ALDA’s members – in partnership with four other European cities: Varna (Bulgaria), Bacsalmas (Hungary), Agia (Greece) and Mioveni (Romania).

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After discussing social gender disparities, foreign delegations and citizens from Gazzo participated in the charity event attended by MEP Elisabetta Gardini, where a photo exhibition had been set up on the theme of Earth. The following day, the Gazzo secondary school hosted a meeting between students and delegations on the meaning of European citizenship, accompanied by the video “Gioca Europa” with the aim of bringing young students closer to the values of the Union.

At the Fiera Franca, the delegations set up stands to distribute flyers on European events and to dialogue with the public who could taste the typical products of the countries involved. The delegations greeted each other with a renewed commitment to enhancing opportunities for youth and gender equality.

Useful resources
Link to the project (in Italian)

On 9 October 2017, the European project SOLIDEuropa, Solidarity between Women (co-financed by the European Europe for Citizens Program) has been concluded. This was implemented by the Municipality of Gazzo (PD) – one of ALDA’s members – in partnership with four other European cities: Varna (Bulgaria), Bacsalmas (Hungary), Agia (Greece) and Mioveni (Romania).

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After discussing social gender disparities, foreign delegations and citizens from Gazzo participated in the charity event attended by MEP Elisabetta Gardini, where a photo exhibition had been set up on the theme of Earth. The following day, the Gazzo secondary school hosted a meeting between students and delegations on the meaning of European citizenship, accompanied by the video “Gioca Europa” with the aim of bringing young students closer to the values of the Union.

At the Fiera Franca, the delegations set up stands to distribute flyers on European events and to dialogue with the public who could taste the typical products of the countries involved. The delegations greeted each other with a renewed commitment to enhancing opportunities for youth and gender equality.

Useful resources
Link to the project (in Italian)


Pushing employment opportunities for Roma people

Two local events of the project PAL (Fighting discrimination and anti-Gypsyism in education and employment in EU) took place in Strasbourg on 15th and 29th November. The events were an occasion for Roma people living in Strasbourg to enhance their knowledge about job opportunities or trainings available.

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PAL project (Fighting discrimination and anti-Gypsyism in education and employment in EU) aims to provide equal access to employment by raising awareness between young Roma and trainers working with Roma and by identifying new employment and vocational training opportunities.

As partner of this project, ALDA implemented local events for young Roma in Strasbourg to improve these employment opportunities for this population, which faces discrimination. The first day was dedicated to the improvement of their networking skills, linguistic knowledge (including professional vocabulary) and an initiation to the digital-control machines for the creation of wooden toys.

The second event was planned as an exchange of professional and educational experiences of young Roma who shared with the others their carrier paths. Thanks to the presence of the professionals working in the field of training or professional integration, the group had also the possibility to extend their knowledge about different employment and training opportunities and take contacts with some of the integration enterprises. It was also the occasion to highlight manual work through wood sculpture machines and the creation of paper toys.

One of the participants, a young Roma woman, shared her life story and encouraged the other young Roma not to give up and to be active in their professional path. After many struggles, she finally found stability in her life and she wishes to keep this educational path and to pass a diploma in higher education. She wants to become a chef and maybe in the future open her own restaurant. The main difficulty she had to go through was the language barrier especially because of the accent and people did not understand what she was saying. “But I was really lucky and the teachers helped me all along my learning”- she said. “I really encourage people to get information because even if we are far from our country there is a lot of things to do there. The main thing is to know how to overcome the difficulties but foremost what we want to do. I did not know what will happen in the future and it is not easy to think about it but it is worth it”.

Useful resources:
Photo-gallery of the event
Lire en plus project PAL

Two local events of the project PAL (Fighting discrimination and anti-Gypsyism in education and employment in EU) took place in Strasbourg on 15th and 29th November. The events were an occasion for Roma people living in Strasbourg to enhance their knowledge about job opportunities or trainings available.

***
PAL project (Fighting discrimination and anti-Gypsyism in education and employment in EU) aims to provide equal access to employment by raising awareness between young Roma and trainers working with Roma and by identifying new employment and vocational training opportunities.

As partner of this project, ALDA implemented local events for young Roma in Strasbourg to improve these employment opportunities for this population, which faces discrimination. The first day was dedicated to the improvement of their networking skills, linguistic knowledge (including professional vocabulary) and an initiation to the digital-control machines for the creation of wooden toys.

The second event was planned as an exchange of professional and educational experiences of young Roma who shared with the others their carrier paths. Thanks to the presence of the professionals working in the field of training or professional integration, the group had also the possibility to extend their knowledge about different employment and training opportunities and take contacts with some of the integration enterprises. It was also the occasion to highlight manual work through wood sculpture machines and the creation of paper toys.

One of the participants, a young Roma woman, shared her life story and encouraged the other young Roma not to give up and to be active in their professional path. After many struggles, she finally found stability in her life and she wishes to keep this educational path and to pass a diploma in higher education. She wants to become a chef and maybe in the future open her own restaurant. The main difficulty she had to go through was the language barrier especially because of the accent and people did not understand what she was saying. “But I was really lucky and the teachers helped me all along my learning”- she said. “I really encourage people to get information because even if we are far from our country there is a lot of things to do there. The main thing is to know how to overcome the difficulties but foremost what we want to do. I did not know what will happen in the future and it is not easy to think about it but it is worth it”.

Useful resources:
Photo-gallery of the event
Lire en plus project PAL