2017 challenge – Let’s build a better Europe together!

Statement by ALDA President, Oriano Otočan

“Dear members, partners, friends,

As the New Year 2017 is approaching, I would like to seize the opportunity to highlight how important it will be for all of us.

This year, 2016 forced all of us Europeans to face the dramatic increase in refugees fleeing their homes in search of a safe haven. Not always has Europe proved to be effective in managing the situation, thus giving a voice to populist, xenophobic, and Euro-sceptical movements.
Brexit referendum last June was a cold shower for many of us. After our initial shock, we welcomed it as a potential trigger to reinvigorate the European project – which is far from being perfect, but stands as the only option to secure peace and wellbeing.

Aware of the historical challenges we are facing, we get ready to the year 2017. We will of course continue our activities promoting citizens’ participation and good local governance in the enlarged Europe, crucial to remind us why the European Union was created, and what it means concretely to be European citizens.
Our citizen journalists will keep roaming around their communities and reporting real-life stories, bringing with them the EU values, and sending us views and perspectives from locals we wouldn’t otherwise hear from; we’ll keep developing projects, such as the newly launched URGENT, putting together towns to tackle the fear of immigration; youth workers of the Balkan regional platform will keep telling young men and women that they can change their societies, and how.

At the same time, the size, operational capacity, and global recognition of our Association have considerably expanded. Not only do the number and diversity of members and projects constantly increase, but also we are invited to present our experience and best practices at events and fora all over the world, from France to Togo via Ukraine.

In 2017, both the network of ALDA and the European Union will need to scale up their abilities of proactivity, communication, and complexity management to a completely new level. I know the people who make ALDA – for this, I am positive we will rise to the challenge and seize the momentum. We will be supported by the programme Europe for Citizens – and together, we will make our best for Europe to do the same!
I thank all members and partners of ALDA for the fantastic work carried out together this year, and with the majority, for many years now.

I also thank the new members of the Governing Board, elected last May in Paris, and the previous Board; and of course the whole staff of ALDA, captained by our Secretary General Antonella Valmorbida.
Merry Christmas to you and your family, and a happy New Year 2017!”

Oriano Otočan
President of ALDA