CONFERENCE ON COMPARATIVE LAW BETWEEN THE FRENCH AND MACEDONIAN LEGAL SYSTEMS

The French Embassy in Macedonia, the International Institute for Human Rights and Peace, the Faculty of Law in Skopje and the Faculty of Law in Caen along with the decentralised cooperation between the Lower Normandy Region and Macedonia organised a study day with a view to compare the Macedonian and French labour law. The event took place on February 21st at the Faculty of Law in Skopje.

The employment agreement, the relationship between employer and employee, the legal proceedings in contentious cases, and the discrimination were among the issues that were addressed during the conference. The fruitful discussions between the experts, students and other participants contributed to deepening the mutual knowledge.

There were only positive impressions of the study day. The participants and the public consider that this is an important step forward towards harmonisation of the Macedonian legal system with the Europeans standards and they acknowledge this initiative and structured exchange that will further develop. The documents from the seminar will be published in French and Macedonian language in order to constitute the first volume of the future collection of the French and Macedonian comparative law that the Institute wishes to produce.

The International Institute for Human Rights and Peace is a partner to several Macedonian organisations within the framework of the decentralised cooperation between the Lower Normandy Region and Macedonia with which it actively cooperates on the topic of human rights.

For more information on the decentralised cooperation between Lower Normandy and Macedonia which is coordinated by ALDA, please contact Katica Janeva at katica.janeva@aldaintranet.org.

The French Embassy in Macedonia, the International Institute for Human Rights and Peace, the Faculty of Law in Skopje and the Faculty of Law in Caen along with the decentralised cooperation between the Lower Normandy Region and Macedonia organised a study day with a view to compare the Macedonian and French labour law. The event took place on February 21st at the Faculty of Law in Skopje.

The employment agreement, the relationship between employer and employee, the legal proceedings in contentious cases, and the discrimination were among the issues that were addressed during the conference. The fruitful discussions between the experts, students and other participants contributed to deepening the mutual knowledge.

There were only positive impressions of the study day. The participants and the public consider that this is an important step forward towards harmonisation of the Macedonian legal system with the Europeans standards and they acknowledge this initiative and structured exchange that will further develop. The documents from the seminar will be published in French and Macedonian language in order to constitute the first volume of the future collection of the French and Macedonian comparative law that the Institute wishes to produce.

The International Institute for Human Rights and Peace is a partner to several Macedonian organisations within the framework of the decentralised cooperation between the Lower Normandy Region and Macedonia with which it actively cooperates on the topic of human rights.

For more information on the decentralised cooperation between Lower Normandy and Macedonia which is coordinated by ALDA, please contact Katica Janeva at katica.janeva@aldaintranet.org.


Recommendations in favour of youth employment drafted by participants of the project YEP

The project Youth Employment and Participation (YEP) gathered 42 young people coming from France, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Croatia. It aimed at linking young people unemployment challenge and the crucial role of their participation to make things move and find solutions.

From 18th to 22nd February, ALDA held a transnational seminar in Strasbourg about Youth Employment and Participation within the framework of its YEP project. This project was co-funded by the European Commission under the Youth in Action Programme.
The main subject of this seminar was the discussion of the situation of youth employment in participants’ countries and alternative ways to tackle this issue such as youth collective actions defending young people’s right to find a job. Therefore, the project also consisted in exchanges of good practices, transmission of tools enabling young people to become more active in public sphere and aimed at facilitating the creation of new contacts between participants for future cooperations. In addition, the project had as cross-cutting features the understanding of the importance of the main European values, such as promotion of multiculturalism and tolerance. As a result participants had the possibility to practice their intercultural skills, to extend their network and to acquire tools to develop a structured and efficient dialogue with stakeholders related to youth policy. Being active shapers of the future of their own communities and of Europe, the participants got all necessary tools to contribute to the development of their societies and struggle against unemployment. The whole project helped the participants to develop skills and competences that they would be able to use during all their life.

Icebreakers, energizers, intercultural activities, working groups (in-door activities) and excursions at the Council of Europe and in Strasbourg city center (out-door activities) allowed the active involvement of the participants during this week. In addition, daily inputs from participants and trainers, a presentation about the European programme Youth in Action and exercises in transnational group about ways to encourage young people to participate in the social and political life and to plan collective action to defend the right of youth to employment provided participants with necessary knowledge to draft recommendations and action plan for initiatives at local, national and European levels aiming at increasing the youth’ opportunities to find a job.

For more information, please contact Marine Henry, ALDA project manager, marine.henry@aldaintranet.org

The project Youth Employment and Participation (YEP) gathered 42 young people coming from France, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Croatia. It aimed at linking young people unemployment challenge and the crucial role of their participation to make things move and find solutions.

From 18th to 22nd February, ALDA held a transnational seminar in Strasbourg about Youth Employment and Participation within the framework of its YEP project. This project was co-funded by the European Commission under the Youth in Action Programme.
The main subject of this seminar was the discussion of the situation of youth employment in participants’ countries and alternative ways to tackle this issue such as youth collective actions defending young people’s right to find a job. Therefore, the project also consisted in exchanges of good practices, transmission of tools enabling young people to become more active in public sphere and aimed at facilitating the creation of new contacts between participants for future cooperations. In addition, the project had as cross-cutting features the understanding of the importance of the main European values, such as promotion of multiculturalism and tolerance. As a result participants had the possibility to practice their intercultural skills, to extend their network and to acquire tools to develop a structured and efficient dialogue with stakeholders related to youth policy. Being active shapers of the future of their own communities and of Europe, the participants got all necessary tools to contribute to the development of their societies and struggle against unemployment. The whole project helped the participants to develop skills and competences that they would be able to use during all their life.

Icebreakers, energizers, intercultural activities, working groups (in-door activities) and excursions at the Council of Europe and in Strasbourg city center (out-door activities) allowed the active involvement of the participants during this week. In addition, daily inputs from participants and trainers, a presentation about the European programme Youth in Action and exercises in transnational group about ways to encourage young people to participate in the social and political life and to plan collective action to defend the right of youth to employment provided participants with necessary knowledge to draft recommendations and action plan for initiatives at local, national and European levels aiming at increasing the youth’ opportunities to find a job.

For more information, please contact Marine Henry, ALDA project manager, marine.henry@aldaintranet.org


Workshop on a Concept for Local Self-Government Reform in Belarus

On 21 February 2013, the Swedish Association of local authorities and regions International (SKL International) and the NGO Lev Sapieha Foundation, ALDA’s main partner in Belarus, held a workshop in Vilnius gathering experts and actors in local democracy such as Stefan Ericsson, Former Swedish ambassador to Belarus.

This event provided the participants the possibility to discuss Lev Sapieha Foundation’s proposal for reform of the system of local self-government in Belarus. ALDA took part in the roundtable together with The Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova (CALM) and other experts. ALDA shared with the participants how this proposal can be linked to the work of the Civil Society Forum and could be further linked to CORLEAP and discussions in the Eastern Partnership process. The discussions went in to details of how the local self-government system in Belarus could be reformed, but also concerned the challenges triggered by political constraints in Belarus.
More information about ALDA’s TANDEM project in Belarus at ovaj link  and about ALDA’s SPREAD project in Belarus at ovaj link
More information about the Lev Sapieha Foundation at ovaj link.

On 21 February 2013, the Swedish Association of local authorities and regions International (SKL International) and the NGO Lev Sapieha Foundation, ALDA’s main partner in Belarus, held a workshop in Vilnius gathering experts and actors in local democracy such as Stefan Ericsson, Former Swedish ambassador to Belarus.

This event provided the participants the possibility to discuss Lev Sapieha Foundation’s proposal for reform of the system of local self-government in Belarus. ALDA took part in the roundtable together with The Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova (CALM) and other experts. ALDA shared with the participants how this proposal can be linked to the work of the Civil Society Forum and could be further linked to CORLEAP and discussions in the Eastern Partnership process. The discussions went in to details of how the local self-government system in Belarus could be reformed, but also concerned the challenges triggered by political constraints in Belarus.
More information about ALDA’s TANDEM project in Belarus at ovaj link  and about ALDA’s SPREAD project in Belarus at ovaj link
More information about the Lev Sapieha Foundation at ovaj link.


ARLEM’s plenary session for a promising cooperation in the Mediterranean

On 18 February, the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) plenary session took place in Brussels at the Committee of the Regions. ARLEM’s commitment is supported by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the European Investment Bank and the European Commission. Together with representatives of those bodies, the plenary gathered local and regional politicians. Peter Sondergaard, ALDA Senior Policy Officer, represented ALDA as observer.

The focus was put on regional cooperation and local democracy as keys to secure the transition process in the Mediterranean. Participants agreed that a pragmatic approach was necessary to launch concrete action in the perspective of the strengthening of the institutional capacity of local and regional actors.

ARLEM’s objectives for 2013 were approved by the plenary with the adoption of the report on the territorial dimension of the UfM, focusing on three priorities: consolidating decentralization and regionalization; acting to ensure that UfM’s priorities include a territorial dimension; and contributing to the development of a macro-regional strategy and cohesion policy in the Euromed area. All members expressed a clear interest in developing ARLEM’s objectives, and continued to highlight various further issues such as employment, human capital and labour mobility, notably in the context of the EU’s external relations policy.

The ARLEM plenary session confirmed that ALDA has a very relevant role to play in the Mediterranean area and ALDA will propose a closer cooperation with ARLEM in the future, especially with an aim to support the establishment of Local Democracy Agencies in the Mediterranean area at a later stage.

ARLEM’s fourth plenary session: a hopeful cooperation
To read ARLEM’s annual report, please see the document at the following link.
There is further information about ARLEM at ovaj link.

Photo by Thierry Monasse/ANSA

On 18 February, the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) plenary session took place in Brussels at the Committee of the Regions. ARLEM’s commitment is supported by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the European Investment Bank and the European Commission. Together with representatives of those bodies, the plenary gathered local and regional politicians. Peter Sondergaard, ALDA Senior Policy Officer, represented ALDA as observer.

The focus was put on regional cooperation and local democracy as keys to secure the transition process in the Mediterranean. Participants agreed that a pragmatic approach was necessary to launch concrete action in the perspective of the strengthening of the institutional capacity of local and regional actors.

ARLEM’s objectives for 2013 were approved by the plenary with the adoption of the report on the territorial dimension of the UfM, focusing on three priorities: consolidating decentralization and regionalization; acting to ensure that UfM’s priorities include a territorial dimension; and contributing to the development of a macro-regional strategy and cohesion policy in the Euromed area. All members expressed a clear interest in developing ARLEM’s objectives, and continued to highlight various further issues such as employment, human capital and labour mobility, notably in the context of the EU’s external relations policy.

The ARLEM plenary session confirmed that ALDA has a very relevant role to play in the Mediterranean area and ALDA will propose a closer cooperation with ARLEM in the future, especially with an aim to support the establishment of Local Democracy Agencies in the Mediterranean area at a later stage.

ARLEM’s fourth plenary session: a hopeful cooperation
To read ARLEM’s annual report, please see the document at the following link.
There is further information about ARLEM at ovaj link.

Photo by Thierry Monasse/ANSA


Exploring mission of the Conference of the INGOs of the CoE in Tunisia

The President of the Conference of the International Non Governmental Organizations of the Council of Europe, M. Jean Marie Heydt was accompanied also by the Director of ALDA, Antonella Valmorbida, in his mission to Tunisia this week. The delegation, completed by Mrs. Jutta Gutzwkow, from the Civil Society Departement of the CoE and from Alain Koskas, rapporteur of the Conference of the INGOs, met a number of NGOs of Tunisia to identify possible common activities on the field of human rights, women rights support and citizens participation. Mrs. Valmorbida was also taking part in the mission as one of the key referent in Europe for the dissemination of the Code of Good Practice for Civil Participation in the Decision-Making Process.
The Council of Europe includes Tunisia in its Neighbouring policies and it develops a programme supporting democratic rules, with the support of the Europska unija.
Tunisia is also a priority for ALDA as described in its Med Strategy  and in the Position Paper ( link a pdf in allegato) adopted in Udine .
The Delegation met also the Head of the Department of Human Rights and Transitional Justice, M. Abedelhamid Abdhallah

The President of the Conference of the International Non Governmental Organizations of the Council of Europe, M. Jean Marie Heydt was accompanied also by the Director of ALDA, Antonella Valmorbida, in his mission to Tunisia this week. The delegation, completed by Mrs. Jutta Gutzwkow, from the Civil Society Departement of the CoE and from Alain Koskas, rapporteur of the Conference of the INGOs, met a number of NGOs of Tunisia to identify possible common activities on the field of human rights, women rights support and citizens participation. Mrs. Valmorbida was also taking part in the mission as one of the key referent in Europe for the dissemination of the Code of Good Practice for Civil Participation in the Decision-Making Process.
The Council of Europe includes Tunisia in its Neighbouring policies and it develops a programme supporting democratic rules, with the support of the Europska unija.
Tunisia is also a priority for ALDA as described in its Med Strategy  and in the Position Paper ( link a pdf in allegato) adopted in Udine .
The Delegation met also the Head of the Department of Human Rights and Transitional Justice, M. Abedelhamid Abdhallah


ALDA concerned by the recent events in Azerbaijan

ALDA joins EU High Representative Ashton, EI Commissioner Füle and Council of Europe Secretary General Jagland in expressing our deep concern about the arrest on 4 February of Tofig Yagublu and Ilgar Mammadov.

ALDA knows and has worked with Ilgar Mammadov in his capacity as Director of the Council of Europe Baku School of Political Studies through the past many years and knows Ilgar Mammadov as a person with a high level of integrity and professional standards who works for the further development and democratisation of Azerbaijan.
For more information about the arrests and the current situation in Azerbaijan:

Statement from HR Ashton and Commissioner Füle

Press release from the Council of Europe

Statement from PACE

ALDA joins EU High Representative Ashton, EI Commissioner Füle and Council of Europe Secretary General Jagland in expressing our deep concern about the arrest on 4 February of Tofig Yagublu and Ilgar Mammadov.

ALDA knows and has worked with Ilgar Mammadov in his capacity as Director of the Council of Europe Baku School of Political Studies through the past many years and knows Ilgar Mammadov as a person with a high level of integrity and professional standards who works for the further development and democratisation of Azerbaijan.
For more information about the arrests and the current situation in Azerbaijan:

Statement from HR Ashton and Commissioner Füle

Press release from the Council of Europe

Statement from PACE


Seminar on Youth Employment in Strasbourg

From 18th to 22nd February, ALDA is holding a seminar about Youth Employment within the framework of its YEP project. Gathering 43 participants from 6 European countries, it will focus on collective actions that young people can resort to in order to fight against unemployment and have their say in public policies.

The participants will make recommendations about innovative ways to facilitate their insertion in professional life. The seminar will include a study visit of the Council of Europe and its youth policy as well outdoor activities in Strasbourg.

From 18th to 22nd February, ALDA is holding a seminar about Youth Employment within the framework of its YEP project. Gathering 43 participants from 6 European countries, it will focus on collective actions that young people can resort to in order to fight against unemployment and have their say in public policies.

The participants will make recommendations about innovative ways to facilitate their insertion in professional life. The seminar will include a study visit of the Council of Europe and its youth policy as well outdoor activities in Strasbourg.


Launch of the Gianfranco Martini Scholarship

The Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA) has decided to set up an annual scholarship in memory of its Honorary President, Gianfranco Martini, who passed away in October 2012. Gianfranco Martini was among the initiators of the concept of Local Democracy Agencies and became the first President of ALDA when it was founded in 1999.

Throughout his active life Gianfranco Martini remained passionate about the promotion of local democracy, the engagement of civil society and the encouragement of interethnic dialogue in Europe with a particular focus on the Western Balkans.

Following a widely disseminated call for applications within Europe, ALDA will once a year award a scholarship to a student or researcher proposing a study or work project dealing with the topics local democracy, engagement of civil society and/or interethnic dialogue.

The objective is to receive high-quality academic research and analysis for ALDA’s fields of activity in order to develop strategies on how to further promote local democracy, engage civil society and strengthen interethnic dialogue.

To know more about the scholarship please see the document at the following LINK .

Photo- Council of Europe

The Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA) has decided to set up an annual scholarship in memory of its Honorary President, Gianfranco Martini, who passed away in October 2012. Gianfranco Martini was among the initiators of the concept of Local Democracy Agencies and became the first President of ALDA when it was founded in 1999.

Throughout his active life Gianfranco Martini remained passionate about the promotion of local democracy, the engagement of civil society and the encouragement of interethnic dialogue in Europe with a particular focus on the Western Balkans.

Following a widely disseminated call for applications within Europe, ALDA will once a year award a scholarship to a student or researcher proposing a study or work project dealing with the topics local democracy, engagement of civil society and/or interethnic dialogue.

The objective is to receive high-quality academic research and analysis for ALDA’s fields of activity in order to develop strategies on how to further promote local democracy, engage civil society and strengthen interethnic dialogue.

To know more about the scholarship please see the document at the following LINK .

Photo- Council of Europe


ALDA Meeting to prepare the establishment of a Local Democracy in Ukraine

On 29 January, ALDA held a meeting at the Committee of the Regions together with the Region of Lower Silesia (PL) and the Region of Dnipropetrovsk (UA) to discuss the opening of a Local Democracy Agency (LDA) in Ukraine. An LDA in Ukraine would operate as a locally registered NGO and would function as a coordinating and stimulating agency for the local society with the support of civil society and local authorities from Europe.

The meeting opened with presentations from all three sides. Lower Silesia is one of the richest regions of Poland and has a twinning arrangement with among others the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast in Ukraine. Dnipropetrovsk Oblast is also one of the most developed, industrialised regions in Ukraine and is very interested in establishing an LDA in their region as this would fit to other initiatives they have taken to promote the development of local government and citizen participation in the region.

ALDA presented best practice examples of other Local Democracy Agencies and details of how an LDA operates. The Dnipropetrovsk region was identified as a good place to set up an LDA in order to boost the development of local communities, local democracy and citizen participation in the region.

All partners showed a very strong interest in the project and agreed to work further on it in order to aim at opening an LDA in Dnipropetrovsk before the end of 2013. Lower Silesia offered to be the lead partner of the LDA. Furthermore, the NGO Eastern Europe Foundation was identified as a good local partner.

A working group with ALDA, Lower Silesia and Dnipropetrovsk was set up to move on with the project and as a first step the group will be to actively search for more partners to ensure further support. The following meeting is expected to take place in April in Dnipropetrovsk.

For more information about the initiative please contact Peter Sondergaard, ALDA Senior Policy Officer, at peter.sondergaard@aldaintranet.org or +32 274 201 61.

On 29 January, ALDA held a meeting at the Committee of the Regions together with the Region of Lower Silesia (PL) and the Region of Dnipropetrovsk (UA) to discuss the opening of a Local Democracy Agency (LDA) in Ukraine. An LDA in Ukraine would operate as a locally registered NGO and would function as a coordinating and stimulating agency for the local society with the support of civil society and local authorities from Europe.

The meeting opened with presentations from all three sides. Lower Silesia is one of the richest regions of Poland and has a twinning arrangement with among others the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast in Ukraine. Dnipropetrovsk Oblast is also one of the most developed, industrialised regions in Ukraine and is very interested in establishing an LDA in their region as this would fit to other initiatives they have taken to promote the development of local government and citizen participation in the region.

ALDA presented best practice examples of other Local Democracy Agencies and details of how an LDA operates. The Dnipropetrovsk region was identified as a good place to set up an LDA in order to boost the development of local communities, local democracy and citizen participation in the region.

All partners showed a very strong interest in the project and agreed to work further on it in order to aim at opening an LDA in Dnipropetrovsk before the end of 2013. Lower Silesia offered to be the lead partner of the LDA. Furthermore, the NGO Eastern Europe Foundation was identified as a good local partner.

A working group with ALDA, Lower Silesia and Dnipropetrovsk was set up to move on with the project and as a first step the group will be to actively search for more partners to ensure further support. The following meeting is expected to take place in April in Dnipropetrovsk.

For more information about the initiative please contact Peter Sondergaard, ALDA Senior Policy Officer, at peter.sondergaard@aldaintranet.org or +32 274 201 61.


Final Conclusions of the Hearing on Local Democracy in Azerbaijan organised by ALDA in December 2012

On December 13, 2012 ALDA together with the Congress of the Council of Europe organised a hearing on Local democracy in Azerbaijan, held at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels. It was a follow-up to the monitoring report on local and regional democracy in Azerbaijan that was adopted by the Congress of the Council of Europe on October 17, 2012.

Key experts such as representatives from the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the Committee of the Regions and BINA – NGO Alliance for municipality development in Azerbaijan as well as one of the Rapporteurs of the Congress monitoring report contributed to the event together with Brussels based stakeholders.

At the hearing the main problems that limit the development of local democracy in Azerbaijan were identified as well as general recommendations and specific suggestions to the European institutions on how to develop local democracy in the country were given.

On December 13, 2012 ALDA together with the Congress of the Council of Europe organised a hearing on Local democracy in Azerbaijan, held at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels. It was a follow-up to the monitoring report on local and regional democracy in Azerbaijan that was adopted by the Congress of the Council of Europe on October 17, 2012.

Key experts such as representatives from the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the Committee of the Regions and BINA – NGO Alliance for municipality development in Azerbaijan as well as one of the Rapporteurs of the Congress monitoring report contributed to the event together with Brussels based stakeholders.

At the hearing, the main problems that limit the development of local democracy in Azerbaijan were identified as well as general recommendations and specific suggestions to the European institutions on how to develop local democracy in the country were given.