ALDA Festival and General Assembly 2023, which took place in Brussels (Belgium), offered space for strategic discussions on the importance of local democracy in the EU integration processes of the Eastern Neighbourhood candidate countries. Several roundtables and debates were held as part of the ALDA Festival 2023 from 6 to 9 June, 2023.
In recent years, the Eastern Partnership region has faced several new challenges related to migration, defence and security, enlargement and international threats from Russia. This topic has been the focus of the panel discussion moderated by Mr. Alexandru Coica, Head of ALDA’s Eastern Partnership Unit, which took place on June 9, 2023.
The panel was opened by ALDA Secretary General, Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida; “Local democracy will save democracy, and the Eastern Partnership is not just a region, it is much more. It is important that we extend democratic values over a wider area.” – stated Mrs. Valmorbida, introducing the topic.
The discussion continued with an intervention of Mr. H.E. Dirk Schübel, EU Special Representative for the Eastern Partnership, who stated: “The EaP was designed to help each country achieve its goals and, first and foremost, to prepare Moldova and Ukraine for the start of negotiations with the EU and, hopefully, for the not too distant future for Georgia and the other countries.” – stated Mr. Schübel.
“We want to maintain the Eastern Partnership and, just to tell you, we are working closely with Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan.” Mr. Schübel concluded, adding that the European Union is moving fast and counts on a number of wonderful programs to support the cooperation process, local policies, EU for Integrity and anti-corruption programs, for EaP countries.
The panel discussion highlighted the importance of local democracy in EU integration processes and the promotion of European values at the local level
Ms. Tania Marocchi, Policy and Advocacy Manager, EaP Civil Society Forum followed “The involvement of civil society remains highly dependent on the willingness of the government to commit to inclusive transparency – Moldova and Georgia are good examples of inclusive and exclusive ways, but we saw another way in Belarus, and Azerbaijan, where civil society does not function. I think the Eastern Partnership multilateral policy is a great opportunity to engage in particular Belarus and civil society with democratic forces.” – stated Ms. Marocchi.
The “Local Democracy in the context of a renewed geopolitical framework in the Eastern Partnership Countries” panel follows a similar exercise held in November 2022 in Wroclaw (Poland) and updates on the state of the 3 countries: Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, discussing the implications for the region and emphasising the crucial importance of good governance and stakeholders in addressing future challenges.
In this context, the panel discussion highlighted the importance of local democracy in EU integration processes and the promotion of European values at the local level. The Local Democracy Agencies of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, who were present at the panel, brought their testimonies, presenting their expertise, needs and challenges.
The event also focused on the role of participatory mechanisms and citizen involvement in making communities more resilient and strong to overcome multiple crises.