ALDA’S SCHOLARSHIP REMEMBERING GIANFRANCO MARTINI'S COMMITMENT

The Governing Board of ALDA, which took place in Strasbourg, on the 17th of October, decided to dedicated an annual Scholarship remembering our Honorary President Gianfranco Martini. This action will give the possibility to those who are committed in their life to support the intercultural dialogue and peace, with local and concrete actions, to be further supported. His memory will be kept in our daily life and we hope that his commitment will guide and inspire the beneficiaries of the Scholarship.

The Governing Board of ALDA remembered with a minute of silence the Honorary President.
The initiative, which will be further defined, will be launched in 2013.

In the photo: Gianfranco Martini, Lucien Sergent, Lucien Martin and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing

The Governing Board of ALDA, which took place in Strasbourg, on the 17th of October, decided to dedicated an annual Scholarship remembering our Honorary President Gianfranco Martini. This action will give the possibility to those who are committed in their life to support the intercultural dialogue and peace, with local and concrete actions, to be further supported. His memory will be kept in our daily life and we hope that his commitment will guide and inspire the beneficiaries of the Scholarship.

The Governing Board of ALDA remembered with a minute of silence the Honorary President.
The initiative, which will be further defined, will be launched in 2013.

In the photo: Gianfranco Martini, Lucien Sergent, Lucien Martin and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing


ALDA AND THE CONGRESS : A PARTNERSHIP FOR FUTURE ACTIONS. MEETING OF ORIANO OTOČAN WITH HERWIG VAN STAA, NEWLY ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE CONGRESS

The President of ALDA, Oriano Otočan, met the newly elected (on Tuesday 16 October) President of the Congress, Herwig Van Staa. The meeting took place in the framework of the Governing Board of ALDA on the 17th of October, in Strasbourg.

During these days, the Autumn Congress Session also took place and it was a good occasion for the ALDA Governing Board members to meet with other important stakeholders for our work.
President Van Staa expressed its full support for the activities of ALDA and the Local Democracy Agencies. The issues discussed were also the future of ALDA activities in Armenia and in Azerbaijan. The issue of strengthening ALDA work in South Eastern Europe was also highlighted. The two Presidents discussed about the new Strategic Views 2012-2016 discussed by the ALDA Governing Board. The document will have its final version during the Governing Board in January 2013.
At the meeting took part also Mrs. Antonella Valmrobida, Director of ALDA, and Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress.

The President of ALDA, Oriano Otočan, met the newly elected (on Tuesday 16 October) President of the Congress, Herwig Van Staa. The meeting took place in the framework of the Governing Board of ALDA on the 17th of October, in Strasbourg.

During these days, the Autumn Congress Session also took place and it was a good occasion for the ALDA Governing Board members to meet with other important stakeholders for our work.
President Van Staa expressed its full support for the activities of ALDA and the Local Democracy Agencies. The issues discussed were also the future of ALDA activities in Armenia and in Azerbaijan. The issue of strengthening ALDA work in South Eastern Europe was also highlighted. The two Presidents discussed about the new Strategic Views 2012-2016 discussed by the ALDA Governing Board. The document will have its final version during the Governing Board in January 2013.
At the meeting took part also Mrs. Antonella Valmrobida, Director of ALDA, and Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress.


WTD – WORKING TOGETHER FOR DEVELOPMENT CREATIVE CAFFÉ SESSION AT THE EDD 2012 (Brussels, 16 October)

More than 70 participants attended the WTD-ALDA event organized, as project lab, in the framework of the European Development Days, promoted by the European Commission.
The European Development Days took place in Brussels (16-17 October 2012).

The WTD (Working Together for Development) event was a creative laboratory conceived as a learning café session aiming at brainstorming and proposing recommendations integrating the contributions of experts and practitioners on the advantages of creating synergies between LAs and CSOs in development cooperation.
The activity was structured in a dynamic and creative way, which allowed not only experts but also practitioners to have a tangible contribution to the formulations of recommendations.
WTD learning café led to the formulation of recommendations responding to 5 key themes identified as the main features characterizing the joint involvement of Las and CSOs in development cooperation processes.
There was high interest in the workshop, and it was a great success for ALDA and the WTD project.

More than 70 participants attended the WTD-ALDA event organized, as project lab, in the framework of the European Development Days, promoted by the European Commission.
The European Development Days took place in Brussels (16-17 October 2012).

The WTD (Working Together for Development) event was a creative laboratory conceived as a learning café session aiming at brainstorming and proposing recommendations integrating the contributions of experts and practitioners on the advantages of creating synergies between LAs and CSOs in development cooperation.
The activity was structured in a dynamic and creative way, which allowed not only experts but also practitioners to have a tangible contribution to the formulations of recommendations.
WTD learning café led to the formulation of recommendations responding to 5 key themes identified as the main features characterizing the joint involvement of Las and CSOs in development cooperation processes.
There was high interest in the workshop, and it was a great success for ALDA and the WTD project.


ALDA IN MOURNING FOR THE DEATH OF ITS HONORARY PRESIDENT GIANFRANCO MARTINI

ALDA Honorary President, Gianfranco Martini, passed away on 10 October.
“It is a great sorrow not only for ALDA this news” stated ALDA Director, Antonella Valmorbida. “Gianfranco was our friend and our mentor” she wrote in a message of condolence.
Gianfranco Martini was remembered on 18 October during “Passaggio a Sud Est”,  a transmission of Radio Radicale, an Italian  national radio, and on the Blog  of Roberto Spagnoli, Italian journalist.

“As ALDA and LDAs, we all owe him a lot. He was the one who inspired the programme and he supported us from the deep of his heart and with all his strengths. He has always been committed to the cause of Europe as an instrument for peace and common growth. Till the very end, we exchanged views about the future, which seemed to him not so promising because losing the true sense of being together. He always showed us the example of personal commitment to the cause and he never preached us what to do but rather did it! Being both real Europeans, we felt particular close one to each other, since he was from my land, Veneto, and we both shared a lot for common stories, a particular dialect and many common cultural references…
Gianfranco endured the difficulties of the Second World War. He was from Rovigo area, a very poor region of the Veneto Region (Italy). He studied Law in Venice and became a promising Lawyer in his home town, Lendinara. He was elected Mayor of this town for many mandates.  He has been a European Activist since after the end of the War and contributed to the development of the Congress (earlier Standing Conference) of the Council of Europe. Making a difficult decision at that time, he moved to Rome with his family (four small children) and he spent all his life at AICCRE and contributed to the strength of the CEMR. In the ’90, he started to work on the project of the LDAs and then with ALDA and was our President till 2008.
Like many us are doing, Gianfranco spent his life traveling around Europe and the globe for the cause of local democracy and human rights. He met and was friends with VIPs and with many “ordinary” citizens. Everybody that met him remembered him. He was able to listen to all of us with attention and care. The communication with him was inspiring and stimulating. I have thousands of images in my head. He was a real gentleman, so elegant and deeply educated.
Gianfranco made the difference for us all and certainly for a part of Europe.
We are just so grateful that we had the chance to be among his friends and those who benefitted from his knowledge and experience. We will all miss him”.

ALDA Honorary President, Gianfranco Martini, passed away on 10 October.
“It is a great sorrow not only for ALDA this news” stated ALDA Director, Antonella Valmorbida. “Gianfranco was our friend and our mentor” she wrote in a message of condolence.
Gianfranco Martini was remembered on 18 October during “Passaggio a Sud Est”,  a transmission of Radio Radicale, an Italian  national radio, and on the Blog  of Roberto Spagnoli, Italian journalist.

“As ALDA and LDAs, we all owe him a lot. He was the one who inspired the programme and he supported us from the deep of his heart and with all his strengths. He has always been committed to the cause of Europe as an instrument for peace and common growth. Till the very end, we exchanged views about the future, which seemed to him not so promising because losing the true sense of being together. He always showed us the example of personal commitment to the cause and he never preached us what to do but rather did it! Being both real Europeans, we felt particular close one to each other, since he was from my land, Veneto, and we both shared a lot for common stories, a particular dialect and many common cultural references…
Gianfranco endured the difficulties of the Second World War. He was from Rovigo area, a very poor region of the Veneto Region (Italy). He studied Law in Venice and became a promising Lawyer in his home town, Lendinara. He was elected Mayor of this town for many mandates.  He has been a European Activist since after the end of the War and contributed to the development of the Congress (earlier Standing Conference) of the Council of Europe. Making a difficult decision at that time, he moved to Rome with his family (four small children) and he spent all his life at AICCRE and contributed to the strength of the CEMR. In the ’90, he started to work on the project of the LDAs and then with ALDA and was our President till 2008.
Like many us are doing, Gianfranco spent his life traveling around Europe and the globe for the cause of local democracy and human rights. He met and was friends with VIPs and with many “ordinary” citizens. Everybody that met him remembered him. He was able to listen to all of us with attention and care. The communication with him was inspiring and stimulating. I have thousands of images in my head. He was a real gentleman, so elegant and deeply educated.
Gianfranco made the difference for us all and certainly for a part of Europe.
We are just so grateful that we had the chance to be among his friends and those who benefitted from his knowledge and experience. We will all miss him”.


LDA MOSTAR (BIH) ANNUAL REPORT 2011 IS NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE

LDA Mostar, active in Bosnia, as a locally registered nonprofit, non-governmental organisation,
exists for more than 7 years now and in that period it has implemented numerous projects in the local community, with the aim to support the development of local community and processes of
democratisation and European Union accession, with inclusion of stakeholders and responding to their needs and problems.
These are some of the conclusions of the “Annual Report 2011” of the LDA Mostar now available online on the LDA’s website in English И в Bosnian.

LDA Mostar has established good cooperation between different actors on different levels, which includes local and regional authorities, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and European institutions.
In 2011, LDA Mostar implemented about a dozen of projects, and participated in trainings, seminars, workshops, study visit and exchange of good practices.
In July 2011, LDA Mostar signed a new agreement with its host partner the City of Mostar, which
is related to utilisation of office premises and moved its office from Adema Buća 13, to the new address of Fra Ambre Miletića 30, 88 000 Mostar.

For more information contact Dzenana Dedic (LDA President), ldamostar@aldaintranet.org.

LDA Mostar, active in Bosnia, as a locally registered nonprofit, non-governmental organisation,
exists for more than 7 years now and in that period it has implemented numerous projects in the local community, with the aim to support the development of local community and processes of
democratisation and European Union accession, with inclusion of stakeholders and responding to their needs and problems.
These are some of the conclusions of the “Annual Report 2011” of the LDA Mostar now available online on the LDA’s website in English И в Bosnian.

LDA Mostar has established good cooperation between different actors on different levels, which includes local and regional authorities, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and European institutions.
In 2011, LDA Mostar implemented about a dozen of projects, and participated in trainings, seminars, workshops, study visit and exchange of good practices.
In July 2011, LDA Mostar signed a new agreement with its host partner the City of Mostar, which
is related to utilisation of office premises and moved its office from Adema Buća 13, to the new address of Fra Ambre Miletića 30, 88 000 Mostar.

For more information contact Dzenana Dedic (LDA President), ldamostar@aldaintranet.org.


ALDA WELCOME THE NOBEL PRICE TO THE EUROPEAN UNION: “A PRICE FOR ALL EUROPEAN CITIZENS”!

“For those who have been active for many years and all their strength to promote the role of Europe as an instrument for Peace and Democracy, as the Local Democracy Agencies and ALDA, this is a great achievement and recognition. I therefore welcome the Nobel price to the European Union!” said ALDA President, Oriano Otočan, in a statement ,commenting on the award of the Nobel to EU.

“As President of an organization of Local authoriites and civil society, we expect this Nobel Price will be given not to the States and Institutions composing the European Union but rather to all the European Citizens, which are truly contributing every day – and in their life – to make the dream come true” said also ALDA President.
ALDA, as stressed Mr. Oriano Otočan, also expect that the Nobel Price, such a symbolic and strong message, could put further energy and relaunch the accession process to Western Balkans. The word of peace and unity must be spread in this part of Europe too.
In view of the Year 2013, Year of Citizen, the Price would be delivered for an idea – our Europe – and for every citizen belonging to it!
“I believe strongly in Europe and participate actively and relentlessly to its strengthening, its ideas, for citizens and with” said ALDA Director, Antonella Valmorbida.
In her statement  she said also: “I value also the power of attraction of our values of peace and democracy that the EU also expresses, towards the countries near us. If the Nobel Prize is intended to European Citizens, I agree, otherwise, I struggle to understand it”.

“For those who have been active for many years and all their strength to promote the role of Europe as an instrument for Peace and Democracy, as the Local Democracy Agencies and ALDA, this is a great achievement and recognition. I therefore welcome the Nobel price to the European Union!” said ALDA President, Oriano Otočan, in a statement ,commenting on the award of the Nobel to EU.

“As President of an organization of Local authoriites and civil society, we expect this Nobel Price will be given not to the States and Institutions composing the European Union but rather to all the European Citizens, which are truly contributing every day – and in their life – to make the dream come true” said also ALDA President.
ALDA, as stressed Mr. Oriano Otočan, also expect that the Nobel Price, such a symbolic and strong message, could put further energy and relaunch the accession process to Western Balkans. The word of peace and unity must be spread in this part of Europe too.
In view of the Year 2013, Year of Citizen, the Price would be delivered for an idea – our Europe – and for every citizen belonging to it!
“I believe strongly in Europe and participate actively and relentlessly to its strengthening, its ideas, for citizens and with” said ALDA Director, Antonella Valmorbida.
In her statement  she said also: “I value also the power of attraction of our values of peace and democracy that the EU also expresses, towards the countries near us. If the Nobel Prize is intended to European Citizens, I agree, otherwise, I struggle to understand it”.


Nobel Prize for Peace in the European Union: I would have preferred the prize to European Citizens

Европейское Nobel Prize Committee has decided to give this great endorsement to the European Union this year!
Honestly, being a convinced European and thinking that the EU is a real instrument for peace and democracy, I feel uncomfortable about this choice. I understand the reasons and the strong symbolic value, especially now. However, perhaps because I know too well Europe and its system, I would have preferred something else, something stronger!

Европейское Nobel Prize Committee has decided to give this great endorsement to the European Union this year!
Honestly, being a convinced European and thinking that the EU is a real instrument for peace and democracy, I feel uncomfortable about this choice. I understand the reasons and the strong symbolic value, especially now. However, perhaps because I know too well Europe and its system, I would have preferred something else, something stronger!


„EU INTEGRATION, A DIALOGUE FOR THE FUTURE“ OPENING CONFERENCE OF THE PROJECT THE EUROPEAN AND OUR AFFAIRS (Zavidovici, BIH, 10 October 2012)

A conference on „EU integration, a dialogue for the future“, launch event for the one year long project: The European and Our Affairs“ took place in Zavidovici, Town Hall, on 10 October 2012.
The Conference gathered forty representatives of local governments, local/regional development agencies, NGO-s and youth groups.
ALDA, in cooperation with LDA Zavidovici, last September started the implementation of this project, funded by the European Union, as a part of  IPA 2011 – Information and Communication Programme.

The project will be implemented in Zenica region, and local communities Zavidovici and Zepce aimed to help raise citizens’ awareness on EU enlargement and pre-accession assistance with particular emphasis on the role of local self-goverments and civil society in the reform process.
The overall project activities and objectives were presented by Stanka Parac Damjanovic, ALDA Regional Programme Coordinator and Sladjan Ilic, Delegate of LDA Zavidovici who were jointly moderating the sessions.
The conference participants were greeted by the mayors of Zavidovici and Zepce, Mr. Hakija Osmic and Mr. Mato Zovko, while the guest speakers were the representatives of the EU Integration Office Bosnia and Herzegovina: Ms. Sandra Memisevic, Project Coordinator in the Unit for EU integration strategy and Ms. Nermina Saracevic, Project Coordinator in the Unit for EU Assistance coordination. They presented the key activities of the EU Integration Office and its role in EU integration strategy planning in different public policy areas. Ms. Saracevic emphasised the need for improved co-operation and co-ordination between different tiers of government in BH with particular focus on local government units lacking both information and adequate administrative capacity for collaborative and partnership based EU project development. Lack of knowledge of advanatages of EU accession among the policy and decision makers as well as insufficient general public awareness in local communities about the benefits of EU membership still and to large extent hampers the pace of embracing of the EU standards and values.
Experiences of good practice in local partnership building for collaborative project development were presented by  Ms. Branka Janko from Development Agency and Ms. Mira Jovic, from the Association of entrepreneurs in Zepce. They both reiterated the need for more proactive approach of the local stakeholders in public policy development and implementation so as to contribute more effectively to greater involvement of different sections of local community. Developing the administrative capacity of both civil society and public sector at this stage is more than relevant for any foreseeable progress that BH would make on the way to furthering the EU integration.
Ms. Slavica Draskovic, TACSO Resident Advisor in Bosnia and Herzegovina presented the technical assistance programme aimed to help strengthen CSO capacities with specific view to local NGO-s and their issue based networks. She also invited the representatives of local NGO-s to approach TACSO for any support they might need in implementing their activities since the range of capacity building and training seminars offered suit their needs.
During the debate,  a number of participants expressed their doubts as regards the progress of BH on the way to further EU integration considering the criteria that have not been fullfilled so far. There were also remarks and comments that there are no guarantees that some new criteria for EU integration will be imposed. However, most of the participants expressed their concern that the complex government structure in the country often leaves (out) the local tier of government without adequate knowledge, competencies and skills for engaging more actively in the European integration affairs. This is why, CSO initiatives may become a valuable tool for promoting both the European and local affairs thus contributing to reduce the gap between them.

The next activity in Zavidovici is scheduled for mid November 2012– The training seminar for cross-sectoral partnership building and EU project cycle management skills.
The project activities include capacity building, public promotion campaigns, knowledge share involving diverse sections of local society, while the local policy/decision makers, business sector,  NGO-s, local media and young people are among our prioirty target groups. The proposed contents and expertise engaged serve both as a learning opportunity for the actors involved, but also to help bust some myths and stereotypes related with the EU integration.

For any further information please contact:
Sladjan Ilic, LDA Zavidovici, +387 32 877 008, LDAZavidovici@aldaintranet.org
Stanka Parac Damjanovic, ALDA, stanka.parac@aldaintranet.org

 This project is funded by the European Union

“This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of ALDA and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.”

A conference on „EU integration, a dialogue for the future“, launch event for the one year long project: The European and Our Affairs“ took place in Zavidovici, Town Hall, on 10 October 2012.
The Conference gathered forty representatives of local governments, local/regional development agencies, NGO-s and youth groups.
ALDA, in cooperation with LDA Zavidovici, last September started the implementation of this project, funded by the European Union, as a part of  IPA 2011 – Information and Communication Programme.

The project will be implemented in Zenica region, and local communities Zavidovici and Zepce aimed to help raise citizens’ awareness on EU enlargement and pre-accession assistance with particular emphasis on the role of local self-goverments and civil society in the reform process.
The overall project activities and objectives were presented by Stanka Parac Damjanovic, ALDA Regional Programme Coordinator and Sladjan Ilic, Delegate of LDA Zavidovici who were jointly moderating the sessions.
The conference participants were greeted by the mayors of Zavidovici and Zepce, Mr. Hakija Osmic and Mr. Mato Zovko, while the guest speakers were the representatives of the EU Integration Office Bosnia and Herzegovina: Ms. Sandra Memisevic, Project Coordinator in the Unit for EU integration strategy and Ms. Nermina Saracevic, Project Coordinator in the Unit for EU Assistance coordination. They presented the key activities of the EU Integration Office and its role in EU integration strategy planning in different public policy areas. Ms. Saracevic emphasised the need for improved co-operation and co-ordination between different tiers of government in BH with particular focus on local government units lacking both information and adequate administrative capacity for collaborative and partnership based EU project development. Lack of knowledge of advanatages of EU accession among the policy and decision makers as well as insufficient general public awareness in local communities about the benefits of EU membership still and to large extent hampers the pace of embracing of the EU standards and values.
Experiences of good practice in local partnership building for collaborative project development were presented by  Ms. Branka Janko from Development Agency and Ms. Mira Jovic, from the Association of entrepreneurs in Zepce. They both reiterated the need for more proactive approach of the local stakeholders in public policy development and implementation so as to contribute more effectively to greater involvement of different sections of local community. Developing the administrative capacity of both civil society and public sector at this stage is more than relevant for any foreseeable progress that BH would make on the way to furthering the EU integration.
Ms. Slavica Draskovic, TACSO Resident Advisor in Bosnia and Herzegovina presented the technical assistance programme aimed to help strengthen CSO capacities with specific view to local NGO-s and their issue based networks. She also invited the representatives of local NGO-s to approach TACSO for any support they might need in implementing their activities since the range of capacity building and training seminars offered suit their needs.
During the debate,  a number of participants expressed their doubts as regards the progress of BH on the way to further EU integration considering the criteria that have not been fullfilled so far. There were also remarks and comments that there are no guarantees that some new criteria for EU integration will be imposed. However, most of the participants expressed their concern that the complex government structure in the country often leaves (out) the local tier of government without adequate knowledge, competencies and skills for engaging more actively in the European integration affairs. This is why, CSO initiatives may become a valuable tool for promoting both the European and local affairs thus contributing to reduce the gap between them.

The next activity in Zavidovici is scheduled for mid November 2012– The training seminar for cross-sectoral partnership building and EU project cycle management skills.
The project activities include capacity building, public promotion campaigns, knowledge share involving diverse sections of local society, while the local policy/decision makers, business sector,  NGO-s, local media and young people are among our prioirty target groups. The proposed contents and expertise engaged serve both as a learning opportunity for the actors involved, but also to help bust some myths and stereotypes related with the EU integration.

For any further information please contact:
Sladjan Ilic, LDA Zavidovici, +387 32 877 008, LDAZavidovici@aldaintranet.org
Stanka Parac Damjanovic, ALDA, stanka.parac@aldaintranet.org

 This project is funded by the European Union

“This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of ALDA and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.”


Statement on the Nobel prize to the European Union By Oriano Otočan, President of ALDA

For those who have been active for many years and all their strength to promote the role of Europe as an instrument for Peace and Democracy, as the Local Democracy Agencies and ALDA, this is a great achievement and recognition. I therefore welcome the Nobel price to the European Union!

For those who have been active for many years and all their strength to promote the role of Europe as an instrument for Peace and Democracy, as the Local Democracy Agencies and ALDA, this is a great achievement and recognition. I therefore welcome the Nobel price to the European Union!


ALDA PRESIDENT ORIANO OTOČAN AT THE WORLD FORUM FOR DEMOCRACY WORKSHOP ON “REGIONALISATION AND DEMOCRATISATION” (Strasbourg, 10 October 2012)

“In Southeast Europe regionalism and decentralization are not sufficiently developed” said in his speech ALDA President, Oriano Otočan, tooking  part in the debate “Regionalisation and Democracy” organised by the Alsace Regional Council (10 October) in the framework of the Strasbourg World Forum for Democracy.
In partnership with the Assembly of European Regions (AER) and the Congress for Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, the event gave the opportunity to discuss how regions can contribute to the democracy.

Talking about the experiences of European regionalism and the different models of state organization in Europe,  Otočan also highlighted that this situation applies even to Croatia, where the state is still too centralized, and there does not exist a clear picture of how the Croatian regions should look like.

The debate offered the occasion to Mr Otočan to provide a local insight about Istria Region experience (Croatia) in addition to contributions made by Mr Leen Verbeek, Representative of CoE Chamber of Regions, and Ms Hande Özsan Bozatli (TR), AER Vice-president.

“The question of the formation of regions is very important for the local democracy – said ALDA President – because regional governments are important in the transmission of citizens’ desires and needs towards national and European authorities. Beneficial role of regions is reflected in their participation in those decisions that concern citizens at the European level. Along the criteria of economic efficiency, and very important financial rationality, in the consideration of the creation of regions it is also necessary to take into account the criteria of the common identity in a particular area, cultural and geographical features, and the question of local democracy, where the citizens have the ability to be sufficiently “close” to the decision making”, he said.

“In Southeast Europe regionalism and decentralization are not sufficiently developed” said in his speech ALDA President, Oriano Otočan, tooking  part in the debate “Regionalisation and Democracy” organised by the Alsace Regional Council (10 October) in the framework of the Strasbourg World Forum for Democracy.
In partnership with the Assembly of European Regions (AER) and the Congress for Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, the event gave the opportunity to discuss how regions can contribute to the democracy.

Talking about the experiences of European regionalism and the different models of state organization in Europe,  Otočan also highlighted that this situation applies even to Croatia, where the state is still too centralized, and there does not exist a clear picture of how the Croatian regions should look like.

The debate offered the occasion to Mr Otočan to provide a local insight about Istria Region experience (Croatia) in addition to contributions made by Mr Leen Verbeek, Representative of CoE Chamber of Regions, and Ms Hande Özsan Bozatli (TR), AER Vice-president.

“The question of the formation of regions is very important for the local democracy – said ALDA President – because regional governments are important in the transmission of citizens’ desires and needs towards national and European authorities. Beneficial role of regions is reflected in their participation in those decisions that concern citizens at the European level. Along the criteria of economic efficiency, and very important financial rationality, in the consideration of the creation of regions it is also necessary to take into account the criteria of the common identity in a particular area, cultural and geographical features, and the question of local democracy, where the citizens have the ability to be sufficiently “close” to the decision making”, he said.