On February 28th 2018 ALDA was presented in Torres Novas, Portugal, in the frame of the SMUG EU project (Small Municipalities Against Euroscepticism), co-funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union, with 15 partner organizations from 9 countries (Portugal, Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Romania, Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).
There are 3 partners that are also ALDA members: the Municipality of Novo Mesto, the Association for Developing Voluntary Work Novo Mesto and the Serbian organization DUNAV 1245. ALDA was presented by Carlos Ribeira, ALDA ambassador for Portugal and Mitja Bukovec, ALDA ambassador for Slovenia and Hungary.
In addition to participants and distinguished guests there was also a presentation by Margarida Marques, European Commission official (1994/2005); Head of the European Commission Representation in Portugal (2005/2011); Secretary of State for European Affairs (2015/2017); Member of the National Parliament in the present legislature.
"The central theme of the meeting, European integration at local level, is particularly relevant in providing a model of reflection and definition of perspectives at a much more practical and operational level for all citizens. In fact, a close look on the part of local people about this Europe whose dynamics are not always perceived is very useful and can be the key to an effective fight against Euroscepticism.
Margarida Marques, the keynote speaker for the morning session, a militant, Europeanist, was very clear in noting the recent experience of the Portuguese people in their relationship with the European Union, which had a critical attitude and even some withdrawal during the period of deep austerity in the four years between 2011 and 2015 has returned to an optimistic attitude towards Europe when recently the more social perspectives of the Portuguese government were also supported by the European Commission and gave a new horizon to the collective European sense.
This matter of the proximity look on European issues is also a central question from the perspective of ALDA that should integrate this dimension in its research and work with partners related to good local governance. The Torres Novas event opened a collaborative platform on European issues that should be appreciated, congratulating the organizers and the Torres Novas City Hall in partcular."
Carlos Ribeira and Mitja Bukovec