Future of ‘Europe for Citizens’ Programme: Open letter to EU Heads of States and Governments

The European Year of Citizens Alliance (EYCA), of which ALDA is a promoter, started the process of addressing an open letter t to EU Heads of States and Governments on the future of the ‘Europe for Citizens’ Programme.

The letter aims at publicising civil society organisations’ opinion on the Council’s proposal of severe budget cuts (a reduction of 23% over the next seven years) in the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme.

In a time when citizens are expressing a growing distrust in EU Institutions and policies, and while the EU celebrates the European Year of Citizens in 2013  – with the lowest ever dedicated budget for a European Year, we believe this proposal is a counterproductive response to budgetary challenges.

Only a properly funded ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme for the 2014 – 2020 timeframe would serve to properly recognise and support the role that civil society organisations play in the construction of the European project as envisaged in article 11 of the Lisbon Treaty.

See the open letter and all its signatories (.pdf)

Below are ALDA’s stakeholders who decided to support this initiative and sign the letter:

Prahova County Council – ROMANIA

Consorzio per lo Sviluppo del Polesine – ITALY

Consorzio di Cooperative sociali Onlus – ITALY

UNISCO Network per lo sviluppo locale – ITALY

City of Kragujevac – SERBIA

Zamenik generalnog sekretara SKGO – SERBIA

Horizont Ngo – ALBANIA

Forum Algérien pour la Citoyenneté et la Modernité (FACM)

International Platform For Citizen Participation (IPCP) – BULGARIA

Diego Bottacin – ITALY

Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governemnts – LATVIA

NGO “Terra-1530” – MOLDOVA

Lda Albania – ALBANIA

Lda Montenegro – MONTENEGRO

Lda Mostar – BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Coalition of youth organizations SEGA – REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA

CRCD-Center for Research Cooperation and Development – ALBANIA

Municipality of Vejle – DENMARK

The European Year of Citizens Alliance (EYCA), of which ALDA is a promoter, started the process of addressing an open letter t to EU Heads of States and Governments on the future of the ‘Europe for Citizens’ Programme.

The letter aims at publicising civil society organisations’ opinion on the Council’s proposal of severe budget cuts (a reduction of 23% over the next seven years) in the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme.

In a time when citizens are expressing a growing distrust in EU Institutions and policies, and while the EU celebrates the European Year of Citizens in 2013  – with the lowest ever dedicated budget for a European Year, we believe this proposal is a counterproductive response to budgetary challenges.

Only a properly funded ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme for the 2014 – 2020 timeframe would serve to properly recognise and support the role that civil society organisations play in the construction of the European project as envisaged in article 11 of the Lisbon Treaty.

See the open letter and all its signatories (.pdf)

Below are ALDA’s stakeholders who decided to support this initiative and sign the letter:

Prahova County Council – ROMANIA

Consorzio per lo Sviluppo del Polesine – ITALY

Consorzio di Cooperative sociali Onlus – ITALY

UNISCO Network per lo sviluppo locale – ITALY

City of Kragujevac – SERBIA

Zamenik generalnog sekretara SKGO – SERBIA

Horizont Ngo – ALBANIA

Forum Algérien pour la Citoyenneté et la Modernité (FACM)

International Platform For Citizen Participation (IPCP) – BULGARIA

Diego Bottacin – ITALY

Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governemnts – LATVIA

NGO “Terra-1530” – MOLDOVA

Lda Albania – ALBANIA

Lda Montenegro – MONTENEGRO

Lda Mostar – BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Coalition of youth organizations SEGA – REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA

CRCD-Center for Research Cooperation and Development – ALBANIA

Municipality of Vejle – DENMARK


Training of multipliers within the project COHEIRS

A ‘training of multipliers’ took place from 18 to 20 June 2013 in Brussels, within the project COHEIRS – Civic Observers for Health & Environment, Initiative for Responsibility and Sustainability. The event brought together 55 participants representing 31 organisations from 12 different countries in wider Europe.

The aim of the meeting was to train participants on how to locally implement ALDA’s methodology of citizens’ panels, and to provide them with scientific information and tools on environmental and health protection to empower them to act both as facilitators and knowledge-resourced persons.

The activity was a key step for setting up the citizens’ panels and kick-off the workshops on health and environment at local level.

The programme of the event was structured in four different sessions. During the first session, participants were split into smaller international groups, to make them bond while promoting intercultural dialogue and understanding. The second session defined the general framework of the project and the activity. Marco Boaria, ALDA Resource & Development Unit Coordinator, provided participants with detailed information on the Europe for Citizens’ programme, on the perspectives of the new programming period 2014-2020 as well as on ALDA’s methodology of citizens’ panels as applied in previous successful projects such as EUR-Action, ALL4EU, Bandiar, E-Panels and GOAL. The general framework was completed by Prisco Piscitelli, health expert from the International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE Italy), who introduced the prevention and precautionary principles as stated in the article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. A World Café session was held in order to fill in the general framework with detailed information on the multipliers’ role. By moving from one table to another every 15 minutes, participants contributed to discuss six topics: the values of multipliers, their skills, the tools they should be equipped with, the strategies and methodologies for engaging citizens, the involvement of local stakeholders and the political and social recognition of multipliers.

The third session focused on health and environmental challenges and brought in both local and European perspectives. Participants identified the main issues affecting their local communities, analyzed them in a national perspective and discussed them in a non-structured frame. The session was supported by scientific information provided by Mr Prisco Piscitelli and got an academic and scientific feedback from Prof. Dot. Dominique Belpomme, who stressed the importance of the link between environment and health and introduced the Paris Appeal to the audience.

As a final tool to set up the citizens’ panels at local level, participants were called in the fourth session to discuss and define common national guidelines and to coordinate with the dissemination partners to give visibility to the outcomes of their workshops.

The support of the European Commission was key for the success of the meeting. Mr John MacDonald from the Task Force of the European Year of Citizens 2013 informed participants on the tools put at citizens’ disposal for influencing the decision making process. As final step of their training, participants welcomed the visit to the DG Communication as an opportunity to exchange views on efficient means providing visibility to European policies as well as an occasion for presenting the outcomes of the training.

A special focus was given to the European Citizen Initiative (ECI). Mr Jerry Van Den Berge from the European Federation of Public Service presented the successful initiative “Water is a human right!” and answered the several questions by the audience.

A ‘training of multipliers’ took place from 18 to 20 June 2013 in Brussels, within the project COHEIRS – Civic Observers for Health & Environment, Initiative for Responsibility and Sustainability. The event brought together 55 participants representing 31 organisations from 12 different countries in wider Europe.

The aim of the meeting was to train participants on how to locally implement ALDA’s methodology of citizens’ panels, and to provide them with scientific information and tools on environmental and health protection to empower them to act both as facilitators and knowledge-resourced persons.

The activity was a key step for setting up the citizens’ panels and kick-off the workshops on health and environment at local level.

The programme of the event was structured in four different sessions. During the first session, participants were split into smaller international groups, to make them bond while promoting intercultural dialogue and understanding. The second session defined the general framework of the project and the activity. Marco Boaria, ALDA Resource & Development Unit Coordinator, provided participants with detailed information on the Europe for Citizens’ programme, on the perspectives of the new programming period 2014-2020 as well as on ALDA’s methodology of citizens’ panels as applied in previous successful projects such as EUR-Action, ALL4EU, Bandiar, E-Panels and GOAL. The general framework was completed by Prisco Piscitelli, health expert from the International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE Italy), who introduced the prevention and precautionary principles as stated in the article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. A World Café session was held in order to fill in the general framework with detailed information on the multipliers’ role. By moving from one table to another every 15 minutes, participants contributed to discuss six topics: the values of multipliers, their skills, the tools they should be equipped with, the strategies and methodologies for engaging citizens, the involvement of local stakeholders and the political and social recognition of multipliers.

The third session focused on health and environmental challenges and brought in both local and European perspectives. Participants identified the main issues affecting their local communities, analyzed them in a national perspective and discussed them in a non-structured frame. The session was supported by scientific information provided by Mr Prisco Piscitelli and got an academic and scientific feedback from Prof. Dot. Dominique Belpomme, who stressed the importance of the link between environment and health and introduced the Paris Appeal to the audience.

As a final tool to set up the citizens’ panels at local level, participants were called in the fourth session to discuss and define common national guidelines and to coordinate with the dissemination partners to give visibility to the outcomes of their workshops.

The support of the European Commission was key for the success of the meeting. Mr John MacDonald from the Task Force of the European Year of Citizens 2013 informed participants on the tools put at citizens’ disposal for influencing the decision making process. As final step of their training, participants welcomed the visit to the DG Communication as an opportunity to exchange views on efficient means providing visibility to European policies as well as an occasion for presenting the outcomes of the training.

A special focus was given to the European Citizen Initiative (ECI). Mr Jerry Van Den Berge from the European Federation of Public Service presented the successful initiative “Water is a human right!” and answered the several questions by the audience.


What does EU citizenship mean? 150 citizens debate this in Zagreb on 8 July

On 8 July in Zagreb, Croatia, 150 European citizens will exchange views and experiences on the meaning of EU citizenship in a conference entitled: “EU citizenship: Crossing perspectives”.

In the context of the European Year of Citizens 2013, the European Year of Citizens’ Alliance (EYCA), of which ALDA is a promoter, will gather 150 civil society representatives from all over Europe in the capital city of the European Union’s 28th Member State to debate on EU citizenship and to engage with the core question of citizens’ participation in Europe.

In Croatia, in the Balkans as much as in Europe, the current context urges us to reflect on the meaning of the European project and on our role, as citizens, in it. Speakers from the Balkans and other candidate countries will thus engage in discussion with more than 150 Europeans (civil society representatives and activists as well as political and institutional representatives) in order to exchange their views and share experiences on the notion of belonging to the European project and a European community.

The key issues and recommendations identified during this conference will be added to the final proposals of the EYCA, thus better involving civil society organisations from the Western Balkans in the current reflection on citizenship taking place in Europe.

Speakers at the conference include: Mr Igor Stiks – scholar, writer and activist; Ms Marina Blagojevic – sociologist and gender specialist; Ms Ylva Tiveus – Director–Citizens at the European Commission DG Communication; Mr Jean-Marc Roirant – President of the European Civic Forum and Chairman of the EYCA; Mr Igor Vidačak – Director of the Croatian Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs; Ms Zeynep Alemdar – scholar and vice-president of European Movement – Turkey.

Find the full programme in English, Croatian and French.

On 8 July in Zagreb, Croatia, 150 European citizens will exchange views and experiences on the meaning of EU citizenship in a conference entitled: “EU citizenship: Crossing perspectives”.

In the context of the European Year of Citizens 2013, the European Year of Citizens’ Alliance (EYCA), of which ALDA is a promoter, will gather 150 civil society representatives from all over Europe in the capital city of the European Union’s 28th Member State to debate on EU citizenship and to engage with the core question of citizens’ participation in Europe.

In Croatia, in the Balkans as much as in Europe, the current context urges us to reflect on the meaning of the European project and on our role, as citizens, in it. Speakers from the Balkans and other candidate countries will thus engage in discussion with more than 150 Europeans (civil society representatives and activists as well as political and institutional representatives) in order to exchange their views and share experiences on the notion of belonging to the European project and a European community.

The key issues and recommendations identified during this conference will be added to the final proposals of the EYCA, thus better involving civil society organisations from the Western Balkans in the current reflection on citizenship taking place in Europe.

Speakers at the conference include: Mr Igor Stiks – scholar, writer and activist; Ms Marina Blagojevic – sociologist and gender specialist; Ms Ylva Tiveus – Director–Citizens at the European Commission DG Communication; Mr Jean-Marc Roirant – President of the European Civic Forum and Chairman of the EYCA; Mr Igor Vidačak – Director of the Croatian Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs; Ms Zeynep Alemdar – scholar and vice-president of European Movement – Turkey.

Find the full programme in English, Croatian and French.


Citizen participation in the spotlight in Strasbourg – in collaboration with the Conference of INGOs

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe will meet in Strasbourg on 26 June to discuss several key topics, including ‘Local authorities and citizen participation: sharing good practices’. ALDA’s Director Antonella Valmorbida will participate, being also the coordinator of the working group on promotion of the Кодекс хорошей практики гражданского участия в процессе принятия решений.

See the full agenda here (in English and French)

In the afternoon, a debate within the project MY EUROPE organised in cooperation with the INGOs Conference about the interaction about local authorities and NGOs to stimulate participation of youngsters in decisional processes will offer a platform to discuss the topic among NGO, local authorities and participants. Working languages will be English and French. Biljana Zsavova from ALDA will take the floor during the conclusions.

See the agenda (in French)

On Thursday 27 in the morning, a plenary of the INGOs Conference will focus on ‘The participation of NGOs in the decision making processes: a reality or still a challenge ahead?’. The recommendations arising from the previous events will be presented. The meeting will be concluded by ALDA’s Director Antonella Valmorbida.

See the agenda (in French)

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe will meet in Strasbourg on 26 June to discuss several key topics, including ‘Local authorities and citizen participation: sharing good practices’. ALDA’s Director Antonella Valmorbida will participate, being also the coordinator of the working group on promotion of the Кодекс хорошей практики гражданского участия в процессе принятия решений.

See the full agenda here (in English and French)

In the afternoon, a debate within the project MY EUROPE organised in cooperation with the INGOs Conference about the interaction about local authorities and NGOs to stimulate participation of youngsters in decisional processes will offer a platform to discuss the topic among NGO, local authorities and participants. Working languages will be English and French. Biljana Zsavova from ALDA will take the floor during the conclusions.

See the agenda (in French)

On Thursday 27 in the morning, a plenary of the INGOs Conference will focus on ‘The participation of NGOs in the decision making processes: a reality or still a challenge ahead?’. The recommendations arising from the previous events will be presented. The meeting will be concluded by ALDA’s Director Antonella Valmorbida.

See the agenda (in French)


Annie Anne, Vice-President of the Lower Normandy Region, visits Macedonia

The delegation from the Lower Normandy Region, led by Annie Anne, Vice-President of the Lower Normandy Region, will visit Macedonia from 24 to 27 June 2013. This mission aims towards the continuation of the Programme for decentralised cooperation between Lower Normandy and Republic of Macedonia.

In this context, among others, the French delegation will meet with the Ministry of Local Self-Government, its institutional partner in the cooperation. Mrs. Annie Anne will also meet with the representatives of several institutions in Macedonia, such as: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Secretariat for European Affairs, Delegation of the European Union in Macedonia and the Association of the units of local self-government of the Republic of Macedonia (ZELS).

The delegation from the Lower Normandy Region, led by Annie Anne, Vice-President of the Lower Normandy Region, will visit Macedonia from 24 to 27 June 2013. This mission aims towards the continuation of the Programme for decentralised cooperation between Lower Normandy and Republic of Macedonia.

In this context, among others, the French delegation will meet with the Ministry of Local Self-Government, its institutional partner in the cooperation. Mrs. Annie Anne will also meet with the representatives of several institutions in Macedonia, such as: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Secretariat for European Affairs, Delegation of the European Union in Macedonia and the Association of the units of local self-government of the Republic of Macedonia (ZELS).


Partners meeting of LDA Armenia foundation

The partners’ meeting of Local Democracy Agency Armenia foundation took place on 19th June 2013, hosted by LDA foundation in Gyumri, Armenia.

The Association of Local Democracy Agency was represented by its Director Antonella Valmorbida, Vice President Alessandro Perelli and Policy Officer Peter Sondergaard; the representatives of local partner organizations, (Levon Barseghyan -“Asparez” Journalists’ club, Armine Tukhikyan-Urban foundation for sustainable development, Vahan Tumasyan-“Shirak” Centre NGO), the Head of Projects and Analysis Department of Gyumri municipality, Hayk Sultanyan, and the Acting Director of LDA Armenia foundation Lusine Aleksandryan were present.

The meeting was of vital importance for the functioning and future perspectives of LDA foundation Armenia. The present partners nominated their representatives in the Board of Trustees, consisting of 12 members, and the first composition will be finalized in July. The president of the Board of Trustees is the lead partner, the Region of Rhone-Alpes Region.

The acting director Lusine Aleksandryan was appointed as a new delegate for LDA foundation. During the meeting, several important matters were discussed, including the possible cooperation with the new communities of Armenia and the French Embassy, the recruitment of other partners and how to strengthen partnership, the participation of LDA Armenia foundation in the meetings of the Council of European Movement in Armenia and EAP CSF Forum, future projects and projects with the region Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

As now LDA Armenia foundation is operational and has a legal status, concrete steps can be made towards the promotion of democracy and citizens participation at the local level.

The partners’ meeting of Local Democracy Agency Armenia foundation took place on 19th June 2013, hosted by LDA foundation in Gyumri, Armenia.

The Association of Local Democracy Agency was represented by its Director Antonella Valmorbida, Vice President Alessandro Perelli and Policy Officer Peter Sondergaard; the representatives of local partner organizations, (Levon Barseghyan -“Asparez” Journalists’ club, Armine Tukhikyan-Urban foundation for sustainable development, Vahan Tumasyan-“Shirak” Centre NGO), the Head of Projects and Analysis Department of Gyumri municipality, Hayk Sultanyan, and the Acting Director of LDA Armenia foundation Lusine Aleksandryan were present.

The meeting was of vital importance for the functioning and future perspectives of LDA foundation Armenia. The present partners nominated their representatives in the Board of Trustees, consisting of 12 members, and the first composition will be finalized in July. The president of the Board of Trustees is the lead partner, the Region of Rhone-Alpes Region.

The acting director Lusine Aleksandryan was appointed as a new delegate for LDA foundation. During the meeting, several important matters were discussed, including the possible cooperation with the new communities of Armenia and the French Embassy, the recruitment of other partners and how to strengthen partnership, the participation of LDA Armenia foundation in the meetings of the Council of European Movement in Armenia and EAP CSF Forum, future projects and projects with the region Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

As now LDA Armenia foundation is operational and has a legal status, concrete steps can be made towards the promotion of democracy and citizens participation at the local level.


Youth and Politics: Join us for the MY EUROPE event in Strasbourg

Next week, from 25 to 27 June, ALDA organises three days of activities in Strasbourg on the topic ‘Youth and Politics’. The event is organised in cooperation with the INGO Conference of the Council of Europe (International Non Governmental Organisations), within the project MY EUROPE.

MY EUROPE gathers 14 partners across Europe and aims at empowering citizens to play a full part in the democratic life at local and European level.

The upcoming event will represent an occasion for youngsters to have a say and actively participate, addressing their comments and needs to local and European policy makers.
The recommendations on youth participation in the decision making process come to light from the debate will be presented during the plenary session of the INGO Conference on Thursday 27 June.

See the agenda (.pdf) of the event and register online.

Next week, from 25 to 27 June, ALDA organises three days of activities in Strasbourg on the topic ‘Youth and Politics’. The event is organised in cooperation with the INGO Conference of the Council of Europe (International Non Governmental Organisations), within the project MY EUROPE.

MY EUROPE gathers 14 partners across Europe and aims at empowering citizens to play a full part in the democratic life at local and European level.

The upcoming event will represent an occasion for youngsters to have a say and actively participate, addressing their comments and needs to local and European policy makers.
The recommendations on youth participation in the decision making process come to light from the debate will be presented during the plenary session of the INGO Conference on Thursday 27 June.

See the agenda (.pdf) of the event and register online.


Info sessions for potential applicants within the IPA 2011 CIVIL SOCIETY FACILITY MONTENEGRO PROGRAMME held in Montenegro

Several information sessions for potential applicants within the sub-granting programme IPA 2011 CIVIL SOCIETY FACILITY MONTENEGRO were held in the town halls of the municipalities of Kotor, Niksic, Bijelo Polje and Ulcinj. Some 65 participants participated and were informed about the sub-granting programme priorities, application procedure and eligibility of applicants/partners.
The first info session took place in Kotor on 31 May, during the kick-off conference of the project, and was followed by meetings in Niksic on 11 May, in Bijelo Polje on 12 May, and in Ulcinj on 13 May.
In addition, the notice for the call for proposals was widely distributed through NGOs networks’ email lists in Montenegro, while the radio jingle was prepared for broadcast in local media.
А Q&A section on ALDA website is operational to support the preparation of quality projects, while the series of three trainings on Project Cycle Management (PCM) skills will be organised in Kotor, Ulcinj and Rozaje between 29 June and 4 July 2013.
Further to activities intended for NGOs potential applicants, two trainings and local public debates covering issues related with EU standards on good governance and participation in decision making at local level  will be held in  Niksic (25-26 June) and in Bijelo Polje (27-28 June).

Download the presentation in Montenegrin (.ppt)

Several information sessions for potential applicants within the sub-granting programme IPA 2011 CIVIL SOCIETY FACILITY MONTENEGRO were held in the town halls of the municipalities of Kotor, Niksic, Bijelo Polje and Ulcinj. Some 65 participants participated and were informed about the sub-granting programme priorities, application procedure and eligibility of applicants/partners.
The first info session took place in Kotor on 31 May, during the kick-off conference of the project, and was followed by meetings in Niksic on 11 May, in Bijelo Polje on 12 May, and in Ulcinj on 13 May.
In addition, the notice for the call for proposals was widely distributed through NGOs networks’ email lists in Montenegro, while the radio jingle was prepared for broadcast in local media.
А Q&A section on ALDA website is operational to support the preparation of quality projects, while the series of three trainings on Project Cycle Management (PCM) skills will be organised in Kotor, Ulcinj and Rozaje between 29 June and 4 July 2013.
Further to activities intended for NGOs potential applicants, two trainings and local public debates covering issues related with EU standards on good governance and participation in decision making at local level  will be held in  Niksic (25-26 June) and in Bijelo Polje (27-28 June).

Download the presentation in Montenegrin (.ppt)


EU-Belarus puzzle: rethinking European policy

The roundtable discussion “EU-Belarus puzzle: rethinking European policy” will take place on 19 June 2013, 14.00 – 15.30 at the European Parliament in Brussels (room PHS 1C51).

Relations between the EU and Belarusan authorities remain a challenging puzzle for Brussels. Since 1997 the EU has applied number of different approaches to establish cooperation leading to democratisation, Europeanisation and modernisation of Belarus. During the spring 2012, European Dialogue on Modernisation was launched. However, little progress can be observed so far.
Belarusian experts Elena Tonkacheva and Andrei Yahorau argue that there is big difference between European declarations and practice. Civil society remains underestimated as Belarusian development actor and stakeholder in EU-Belarus relations. Year 2013, when the European Parliament is preparing its recommendation on how the EU policy towards Belarus should look like, is the good moment to reflect on the work done by the international community and the Belarusian civil society since 2010 and beyond. Lessons learned from this period, best practices and failures, promises given by both sides and their implementation must be considered in designing European policy towards Belarus.
Draft agenda of the conference:

–    Opening remarks by Mr Werner Schulz
–    Mr Andrei Yahorau, Centre for European Transformation
–    Mrs Elena Tonkacheva, Legal Transformation Centre (Lawtrend)
–    MEP Justas PALECKIS, Rapporteur on Belarus (tbc)
–    Mr Stefan TRESSING, EEAS (tbc)
The discussion will be followed by the presentation of the book “Afterword… Square 2010 through the eyes of Belarusian human rights defenders”. It is a unique analytical piece, result of monitoring and analysis of 14 politically motivated trials after the events of December 19, 2010.It puts the trials and the guilty verdicts in the broader socio-political context of contemporary Belarus. The book can be downloaded for free (подробнее в проекте здесь.
Working languages: English, Russian. Please make your registration by Monday, 17 May, at noon.
For more information, please contact:

Alena Zuikova – International Consortium “Eurobelarus” in Brussels
Phone: +32 27420161
Email to: brussels@eurobelarus.info
http://eurobelarus.info/

The roundtable discussion “EU-Belarus puzzle: rethinking European policy” will take place on 19 June 2013, 14.00 – 15.30 at the European Parliament in Brussels (room PHS 1C51).

Relations between the EU and Belarusan authorities remain a challenging puzzle for Brussels. Since 1997 the EU has applied number of different approaches to establish cooperation leading to democratisation, Europeanisation and modernisation of Belarus. During the spring 2012, European Dialogue on Modernisation was launched. However, little progress can be observed so far.
Belarusian experts Elena Tonkacheva and Andrei Yahorau argue that there is big difference between European declarations and practice. Civil society remains underestimated as Belarusian development actor and stakeholder in EU-Belarus relations. Year 2013, when the European Parliament is preparing its recommendation on how the EU policy towards Belarus should look like, is the good moment to reflect on the work done by the international community and the Belarusian civil society since 2010 and beyond. Lessons learned from this period, best practices and failures, promises given by both sides and their implementation must be considered in designing European policy towards Belarus.
Draft agenda of the conference:

–    Opening remarks by Mr Werner Schulz
–    Mr Andrei Yahorau, Centre for European Transformation
–    Mrs Elena Tonkacheva, Legal Transformation Centre (Lawtrend)
–    MEP Justas PALECKIS, Rapporteur on Belarus (tbc)
–    Mr Stefan TRESSING, EEAS (tbc)
The discussion will be followed by the presentation of the book “Afterword… Square 2010 through the eyes of Belarusian human rights defenders”. It is a unique analytical piece, result of monitoring and analysis of 14 politically motivated trials after the events of December 19, 2010.It puts the trials and the guilty verdicts in the broader socio-political context of contemporary Belarus. The book can be downloaded for free (подробнее в проекте здесь.
Working languages: English, Russian. Please make your registration by Monday, 17 May, at noon.
For more information, please contact:

Alena Zuikova – International Consortium “Eurobelarus” in Brussels
Phone: +32 27420161
Email to: brussels@eurobelarus.info
http://eurobelarus.info/


Final event of the project ‘Mountain areas, value and cooperation’ in Montenegro

The final event of the project ‘Mountain areas, value and cooperation’ (Aree di montagna, valore e cooperazione) took place on 7 June in Rozaje, Montenegro. The project was financed by the Italian Region Friuli Venezia Giulia, with LDA Niksic as partner.

Adem Fetic, Vice Minister of Agricolture and Forestry in Montenegro, and Nuset Kalac, Mayor of Rozaje participated to the event. Alessandro Perelli, Vice President of ALDA, and Kerim Mediedovic, delegate of the ADL in Niksic, were also present. Numerous people attended the meeting, including administrators, technical experts and citizens.

Alessandro Perelli highlighted that the initiatives of the ADL in Niksic and its joint actions with other NGOs not only have involved the promotion of democratic rights, a key element for a quick conclusion of the pre-accession period for Montenegro. They have also addressed social issues such as the creation of the first employment office for disabled workers in Niksic, and economic ones such as the certification of the forest, which was concluded on the occasion of the event.

Kerim Mediedovic pointed out the importance of this project, involving a mountain and forest area of Montenegro, which deserved to be fostered.

A short speech by the President of the cooperative CRAMARS from Tolmezzo, High Friuli, concluded the event by announcing a new initiative: in cooperation with the Entrepreneurs Association of Podgorica, the Region Friuli Venezia Giulia will finance a training course for young entrepreneurs.

The final event of the project ‘Mountain areas, value and cooperation’ (Aree di montagna, valore e cooperazione) took place on 7 June in Rozaje, Montenegro. The project was financed by the Italian Region Friuli Venezia Giulia, with LDA Niksic as a partner.

Adem Fetic, Vice Minister of Agricolture and Forestry in Montenegro, and Nuset Kalac, Mayor of Rozaje participated to the event. Alessandro Perelli, Vice President of ALDA, and Kerim Mediedovic, delegate of the ADL in Niksic, were also present. Numerous people attended the meeting, including administrators, technical experts and citizens.

Alessandro Perelli highlighted that the initiatives of the ADL in Niksic and its joint actions with other NGOs not only have involved the promotion of democratic rights, a key element for a quick conclusion of the pre-accession period for Montenegro. They have also addressed social issues such as the creation of the first employment office for disabled workers in Niksic, and economic ones such as the certification of the forest, which was concluded on the occasion of the event.

Kerim Mediedovic pointed out the importance of this project, involving a mountain and forest area of Montenegro, which deserved to be fostered.

A short speech by the President of the cooperative CRAMARS from Tolmezzo, High Friuli, concluded the event by announcing a new initiative: in cooperation with the Entrepreneurs Association of Podgorica, the Region Friuli Venezia Giulia will finance a training course for young entrepreneurs.