The three Local Democracy Agencies in Croatia now Operational Partners of ALDA

The work carried out by the Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA) in Croatia during the past years has strongly supported the integration of the country in Europe, and the milestone of its accession in July 2013.

The activities of of the three Local Democracy Agencies, based in Verteneglio/Brtonigla, Sisak and Osijek, were crucial to build trust, promote citizen participantion and European values, and strengthen local authorities.

The three LDAs have now become Operational Partners of ALDA, and together with the association will work hard to promote good governance and active citizenship at local level. They will have a major role in further the enlargement of the EU in the region, and will be a real asset for the whole network of ALDA.

Awaiting the European Parliament elections in 2014, they will be actively involved in campaigning to get citizens out of the sofa and vote for Europe.

More information:

Campaign for the European Parliament Elections

The work carried out by the Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA) in Croatia during the past years has strongly supported the integration of the country in Europe, and the milestone of its accession in July 2013.

The activities of the three Local Democracy Agencies, based in Verteneglio/Brtonigla, Sisak and Osijek, were crucial to build trust, promote citizen participantion and European values, and strengthen local authorities.

The three LDAs have now become Operational Partners of ALDA, and together with the association will work hard to promote good governance and active citizenship at local level. They will have a major role in further the enlargement of the EU in the region, and will be a real asset for the whole network of ALDA.

Awaiting the European Parliament elections in 2014, they will be actively involved in campaigning to get citizens out of the sofa and vote for Europe.

More information:

Campaign for the European Parliament Elections


Urbanets project, an info day to involve citizens in urban planning themes

On 16 January 2014 there will be an info day organized within the framework of the project Urbanets. The event will take place in Gallipoli, Piazza Imbriani at 4 p.m.

The participants will be welcomed by the greeting of the Mayor of Gallipoli Francesco Errico, followed by Antonio Piteo, Town Councillor, and Giuseppe Miglietta, Councillor of Economic Planning and Policies of the European Union of the Municipality of Brindisi.

The project Urbanets is part of the EU programme INTERREG Italy-Greece and realized in cooperation with the towns of Gallipoli, Brindisi and Igoumenitsa. The aim of the project is to ensure new ways on urban planning: urban traffic, but also environmental planning and disaster management.

The objectives of the project, therefore, aim to improve the quality of life of the municipalities involved, with a greater rationalization of vehicular traffic, studying the strengths and problems also to ensure responses to environmental pollution and to strengthen cross-border cooperation.

On 16 January 2014 there will be an info day organized within the framework of the project Urbanets. The event will take place in Gallipoli, Piazza Imbriani at 4 p.m.

The participants will be welcomed by the greeting of the Mayor of Gallipoli Francesco Errico, followed by Antonio Piteo, Town Councillor, and Giuseppe Miglietta, Councillor of Economic Planning and Policies of the European Union of the Municipality of Brindisi.

The project Urbanets is part of the EU programme INTERREG Italy-Greece and realized in cooperation with the towns of Gallipoli, Brindisi and Igoumenitsa. The aim of the project is to ensure new ways on urban planning: urban traffic, but also environmental planning and disaster management.

The objectives of the project, therefore, aim to improve the quality of life of the municipalities involved, with a greater rationalization of vehicular traffic, studying the strengths and problems also to ensure responses to environmental pollution and to strengthen cross-border cooperation.


ALDA and MEP Frigo discuss the European project in a school in Padova

On Saturday 11 January, at the school “Istituto Tecnico Commerciale e per Geometri GIRARDI” in Cittadella, in the province of Padova, the conference “Article 11 of the Constitution, No war – The peaceful resolution by International Organisations – The working abroad tendency” was organized.

Miss Anna Ditta, Project Officer of ALDA, and Mr. Franco Frigo, Member of the European Parliament of the Democratic Party, participated as a speaker at the event.

Mr. Frigo explained the meaning of art.11 of the Italian Constitution, emphasizing the sense of limit of sovereignty, mentioned in the article, in relation to the role of the European Union.

Building and nurturing the European project is fundamental to continue to ensure peace and stability in Europe, as well as to be able to economically compete in the future with the major world powers. In this context, the EU gives the opportunity to young people, students, and workers, to build an European competitive career and experience.

In this context, Miss Anna Ditta presented all the opportunities to study and work abroad provided by the European Union, in particular through the new Erasmus +.

On Saturday 11 January, at the school “Istituto Tecnico Commerciale e per Geometri GIRARDI” in Cittadella, in the province of Padova, the conference “Article 11 of the Constitution, No war – The peaceful resolution by International Organisations – The working abroad tendency” was organized.

Miss Anna Ditta, Project Officer of ALDA, and Mr. Franco Frigo, Member of the European Parliament of the Democratic Party, participated as a speakers at the event.

Mr. Frigo explained the meaning of art.11 of the Italian Constitution, emphasizing the sense of limit of sovereignty, mentioned in the article, in relation to the role of the European Union.

Building and nurturing the European project is fundamental to continue to ensure peace and stability in Europe, as well as to be able to economically compete in the future with the major world powers. In this context, the EU gives the opportunity to young people, students, and workers, to build a European competitive career and experience.

In this context, Miss Anna Ditta presented all the opportunities to study and work abroad provided by the European Union, in particular through the new Erasmus +.


Think and act for Europe, vote for Europe

The European Parliament Elections are – this time – a crucial crossroad. It can’t be and won’t be “an ordinary business”. It is too bad that, once again, we have to go to vote on national basis and that candidates will be once again the expression of national and local challenges. It would have been much better to have the so much expected transnational lists that would have brought to the front stage real European characters, with the possibility to collect votes from different members states. Those people exist in cultural, economic, political field. no, as said, once again, the candidates might only be the poor mixture of very local games. The only hope stays in the capacities of the parties to choose “good” candidates and to see beyond their limited visions so that to propose to their local electorate “different” names.

The European Parliament Elections are – this time – a crucial crossroad. It can’t be and won’t be “an ordinary business”. It is too bad that, once again, we have to go to vote on national basis and that candidates will be once again the expression of national and local challenges. It would have been much better to have the so much expected transnational lists that would have brought to the front stage real European characters, with the possibility to collect votes from different members states. Those people exist in cultural, economic, political field. no, as said, once again, the candidates might only be the poor mixture of very local games. The only hope stays in the capacities of the parties to choose “good” candidates and to see beyond their limited visions so that to propose to their local electorate “different” names.


Think and act for Europe, vote for Europe

Think and act for Europe, vote for Europe
Antonella Valmorbida, Director of ALDA

The European Parliament Elections are – this time – a crucial crossroad. It can’t be and won’t be “an ordinary business”. It is too bad that, once again, we have to go to vote on national basis and that candidates will be once again the expression of national and local challenges. It would have been much better to have the so much expected transnational lists that would have brought to the front stage real European characters, with the possibility to collect votes from different members states. Those people exist in cultural, economic, political field. no, as said, once again, the candidates might only be the poor mixture of very local games. The only hope stays in the capacities of the parties to choose “good” candidates and to see beyond their limited visions so that to propose to their local electorate “different” names.

The challenge is so big this time. We feel that this is an election for survival of the European project. We often say that there are not alternative to Europe. Well, it is not the case. There are other options. World won’t stop running without it. But all the options are bringing us all straight to worse scenarios : isolated countries won’t just be able to cope with big masses and continental interests. Economy, culture, education, future is global and a piece by piece Europe has not future as a key player neither in economy nor in security. We – all those who are Europeans – need to say clear enough that this time the vote is FOR EUROPE.

The campaign for getting us “out of the sofa and vote for the European Parliament” in May starts now. We need to be active and request our respective parties and stakeholders to satisfy our expectations in brining good, capable and reliable candidates who will be able to stand the challenge. We need to request a role for Parliament as a fundamental democratic institution for Europe that will be able to face the crisis and relaunch our future. We need Europe, we need a better Europe, deeper and more democratic. A Europe for all its citizens.

Approve and endorse the Reccommendations of the European Year of Citizens 2013 (.pdf)

Be active around you and disseminate, together with ALDA – the European Association for Local Democracy – the campaign for the European Parliament Elections

This time, think and act for Europe : vote for Europe

This week, ALDA attends two important meetings of future Alliances that will be strengthening the democratic aspect of the European Union. On Monday, Democracy International (http://www.democracy-international.org) organises a first meeting of all interested in more direct democracy in Europe and on Friday the Europea Movement Internationa launches the activity of the Allinace for European Convention (http://www.europeanmovement.eu)

Think and act for Europe, vote for Europe
Antonella Valmorbida, Director of ALDA

The European Parliament Elections are – this time – a crucial crossroad. It can’t be and won’t be “an ordinary business”. It is too bad that, once again, we have to go to vote on national basis and that candidates will be once again the expression of national and local challenges. It would have been much better to have the so much expected transnational lists that would have brought to the front stage real European characters, with the possibility to collect votes from different members states. Those people exist in cultural, economic, political field. no, as said, once again, the candidates might only be the poor mixture of very local games. The only hope stays in the capacities of the parties to choose “good” candidates and to see beyond their limited visions so that to propose to their local electorate “different” names.

The challenge is so big this time. We feel that this is an election for survival of the European project. We often say that there are not alternative to Europe. Well, it is not the case. There are other options. World won’t stop running without it. But all the options are bringing us all straight to worse scenarios : isolated countries won’t just be able to cope with big masses and continental interests. Economy, culture, education, future is global and a piece by piece Europe has not future as a key player neither in economy nor in security. We – all those who are Europeans – need to say clear enough that this time the vote is FOR EUROPE.

The campaign for getting us “out of the sofa and vote for the European Parliament” in May starts now. We need to be active and request our respective parties and stakeholders to satisfy our expectations in brining good, capable and reliable candidates who will be able to stand the challenge. We need to request a role for Parliament as a fundamental democratic institution for Europe that will be able to face the crisis and relaunch our future. We need Europe, we need a better Europe, deeper and more democratic. A Europe for all its citizens.

Approve and endorse the Reccommendations of the European Year of Citizens 2013 (.pdf)

Be active around you and disseminate, together with ALDA – the European Association for Local Democracy – the campaign for the European Parliament Elections

This time, think and act for Europe : vote for Europe

This week, ALDA attends two important meetings of future Alliances that will be strengthening the democratic aspect of the European Union. On Monday, Democracy International (http://www.democracy-international.org) organises a first meeting of all interested in more direct democracy in Europe and on Friday the Europea Movement Internationa launches the activity of the Allinace for European Convention (http://www.europeanmovement.eu)


Seminar ‘New European Mosaic of human rights’ – European Movement

On 17 January the European Movement is organizing the Seminar “New European Mosaic of human rights”. The event will take place in Rome, Via IV Novembre at 3 p.m.

The event, organized by the European Movement together with the Forensic Union for the Protection of Human Rights (UFTDU), and the Fundamental Rights European Experts Group is within the framework of the project “Officina 2014 – L’Italia in Europa”.

The meeting will try to involve civil society into the preparation of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Moreover the meeting will explore the relationship between the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the EU as well as EU accession to the ECHR.

For other information read the Agenda of the event.

On 17 January the European Movement is organizing the Seminar “New European Mosaic of human rights”. The event will take place in Rome, Via IV Novembre at 3 p.m.

The event, organized by the European Movement together with the Forensic Union for the Protection of Human Rights (UFTDU), and the Fundamental Rights European Experts Group is within the framework of the project “Officina 2014 – L’Italia in Europa”.

The meeting will try to involve civil society into the preparation of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Moreover the meeting will explore the relationship between the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the EU as well as EU accession to the ECHR.

For other information read the Agenda of the event.


Final conference of the project Impro Mobil

On 24 January IMPRO MOBIL Project (Improving Procedures For Collecting Information On Mobile Workers) is organizing a final conference. The event will take place in Brussels at International Trade Union House, conference room B, Boulevard du Roi Albert II, 5.

The event will be divide into two technical sessions:

– Limits and challenges of the tracking systems of mobile workers in the 4 countries involved;

– future challenges and opportunities for a European tracking systems for mobile workers

The project focuses on movements of workers in some of the major EU countries: Italy, Poland, Romania and the UK, in order to highlight issues concerning the extent and the characteristics of the flows of migrant and mobile workers and the methodologies to record information and keep track of them.

For other information read the Agenda of the event.

On 24 January IMPRO MOBIL Project (Improving Procedures For Collecting Information On Mobile Workers) is organizing a final conference. The event will take place in Brussels at International Trade Union House, conference room B, Boulevard du Roi Albert II, 5.

The event will be divide into two technical sessions:

– Limits and challenges of the tracking systems of mobile workers in the 4 countries involved;

– future challenges and opportunities for a European tracking systems for mobile workers

The project focuses on movements of workers in some of the major EU countries: Italy, Poland, Romania and the UK, in order to highlight issues concerning the extent and the characteristics of the flows of migrant and mobile workers and the methodologies to record information and keep track of them.

For other information read the Agenda of the event.


French Local and Regional Authorities work with counterparts in all Balkans! Three years of intense cooperation

For another three years, more than 15 local and regional authorities from France, will work with their counterparts in all South-Eastern European countries.

The lead partner, Pays Vichy Auvergne is steering a wide process to support bilateral decentralised cooperation focusing on youth empowerment, local development, rural tourism, institutional building and local governance.

ALDA and the Local Democracy Agencies are an essential part of the programme for its coordination and for the organisation of three international events.

The first event should take place on the 14/16th of October 2014 in Strasbourg, coinciding with the Congress session of the Council of Europe. The multistakeholder programme receives support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France.

“Our objective is being a partner of this wide platform is to improve our decentralised cooperation with the Republic of Macedonia. We want to create synergies with other actors in Western Balkans and we aim at understanding better also the work of our colleagues in France.

The Programme France Balkan is added value for our existing cooperation”, confirms Sabine Guichet Lebailly, responsible of the decentralised cooperation Conseil Regional de Basse Normandie – Macedonia, at the Basse Normandie Region, also a member of ALDA and Governing Board member. The meeting was attended by Antonella Valmorbida, the Director of ALDA.

For another three years, more than 15 local and regional authorities from France, will work with their counterparts in all South Eastern European countries.

The lead partner, Pays Vichy Auvergne is steering a wide process to support bilateral decentralised cooperation focusing on youth empowerment, local development, rural tourism, institutional building and local governance.

ALDA and the Local Democracy Agencies are an essential part of the programme for its coordination and for the organisation of three international events.

The first event should take place on the 14/16th of October 2014 in Strasbourg, coinciding with the Congress session of the Council of Europe. The multistakeholder programme receives support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France.

“Our objective is being a partner of this wide platform is to improve our decentralised cooperation with the Republic of Macedonia. We want to create synergies with other actors in Western Balkans and we aim at understanding better also the work of our colleagues in France.

The Programme France Balkan is added value for our existing cooperation”, confirms Sabine Guichet Lebailly, responsible of the decentralised cooperation Conseil Regional de Basse Normandie – Macedonia, at the Basse Normandie Region, also member of ALDA and Governing Board member. The meeting was attended by Antonella Valmorbida, the Director of ALDA.


Last info days REPLAY project

On 10 January 2014 ALDA is organizing an info day in the framework of the project REPLAY. The event will take place in Valenciennes, France at 4 p.m.

The info day will consist in two hour event for show the results of the project, disseminate RePlaY booklet and provide information about the Europe for Citizens Programme 2014-2020.

The project REPLAY aims to enforce the role of older and senior citizens in active participation in the EU civic and democratic process. It brings together 11 organisations from all over Europe in order to stimulate EU cooperation in the field of active ageing and European citizenship projects. Active ageing, intergenerational dialogue, active citizenship of seniors, new Europe for Citizens Programme 2014-2020.

Moreover other programmes about active ageing will be presented as well as real examples of projects carried out by the local community on the topic.

For other information visit the website of the project и Agenda of the event.

On 10 January 2014 ALDA is organizing an info day in the framework of the project REPLAY. The event will take place in Valenciennes, France at 4 p.m.

The info day will consist in two hour event for show the results of the project, disseminate RePlaY booklet and provide information about the Europe for Citizens Programme 2014-2020.

The project REPLAY aims to enforce the role of older and senior citizens in active participation in the EU civic and democratic process. It brings together 11 organisations from all over Europe in order to stimulate EU cooperation in the field of active ageing and European citizenship projects. Active ageing, intergenerational dialogue, active citizenship of seniors, new Europe for Citizens Programme 2014-2020.

Moreover other programmes about active ageing will be presented as well as real examples of projects carried out by the local community on the topic.

For other information visit the website of the project и Agenda of the event.


Citizens’ Participation at the Local Level: Possible action for change in Belarus

Summary of the article written by our ALDA Director Antonella Valmorbida, Coordinator of the Subgroup on Local Government and Public Administration Reform of the Civil Society Forum for the Eastern Partnership, published on the issue January-April 2014 of New Eastern Europe.

See also the contribution of Alena Zuikova (from EuroBelarus) and Miroslav Kobosa (Lev Sapieha Foundation) both partners of ALDA’s project in Belarus and members of ALDA.

Belarus represents a challenge for Europe as a whole. It is so much a European country and yet so much a different game. The country is not a member of the Council of Europe and has never actually reached the doorsteps. It is the only European country fully engaged in the Customs Union with Russia. Belarus is a partner of the Eastern Partnership, sui generis, considering that the only really proactive dimension is the Civil Society one, with the National Platform of the Civil Society Forum for Eastern Partnership. The European Union – in front of evident breaches of human rights, imprisonment of political opponents, death penalty, strong limitation to freedom of association – is struggling to find a policy: the principle of more-for-more, and in this case less-for-less; a visa ban for a number of officials, a complicated (not fully understood) “modernisation plan” for Belarus, and programmes to support civil society and other stakeholders. Not all of these attempts are successful but, at least, the process continues and the EU is not giving up.

For ALDA, citizens’ participation in decision making at the local level is an action for change, towards development, democracy and better life for citizens. The same principle is valid for EU countries and for the Eastern Partnership, including Belarus. It implies existence, strength and capacity for both stakeholders of local governance (local authorities and local civil society) and an actual possibility to work together. This approach meets a number of difficulties in the EaP countries and specifically in Belarus. All the EaP countries are still enduring effects from the Soviet system, centralised bureaucracy and a passive citizenry. Legislation is weak – or non-existent and inconsistent – and do not leave autonomy and independence to the local authorities, which are often the extension of the powers of the state. Any possible European orientation would focus on the role of regions and the decentralisation of power.

Among the more effective instruments in capacity building, policy making and awareness raising for civil society in the Eastern Partnership countries, we can refer to the work of the Civil Society Forum for Eastern Partnership. Its Subgroup on Local Government and Public Administration Reform has worked intensively in studying and identifying priorities in 2012 and produced a comparative approach to the citizens’ participation possibilities in the region. The primary references include: European Charter on Local Self Government; Additional protocol to the European Charter of Local Self Government on the right to participate in the affairs of local authority; the strategy for innovation and good governance at the local level; and the Code of Good Practices of Citizens participation. It studied in particular the access to public information, the direct democracy mechanisms and consultative democracy.

The work of ALDA within the Eastern Partnership is particularly important and visible in Belarus with the support of local partners such as the Lev Sapieha Foundation (particularly focused on local government promotion in Belarus) and EuroBelarus. The approach of ALDA in Belarus is to focus on socially useful and oriented projects (with granting mechanisms), which allow for community development and citizen awareness.

The support of the European Union for actions addressing local authorities or local communities, acting closely with civil society groups, could give a strong impetus to consolidate the awareness and capacities of local actors. It will address the methodologies of citizens’ participation without developing highly political sensitive topics but producing changes in daily lives. The non-state actor programmes of the European Union should go in this direction.

Lastly, it is also advisable to be consistent regarding the political discourse coming from Brussels and a clear and fierce support for democratic forces and civil society organisations in Belarus. This includes the actual implementation phases in Minsk; as organisations are obliged to follow complicated and heavy rules and regulations (which can be just as complex from the EU side as they are in Belarus), often creating barriers for action and making it nearly impossible to deliver results.

Прочтите full Article

Learn more about Belarusian civil society in the current issue of New Eastern Europe in which there is the contribution of our partners Lev Sapieha Foundation and EuroBelarus.

Summary of the article written by our ALDA Director Antonella Valmorbida, Coordinator of the Subgroup on Local Government and Public Administration Reform of the Civil Society Forum for the Eastern Partnership, published on the issue January-April 2014 of New Eastern Europe.

See also the contribution of Alena Zuikova (from EuroBelarus) and Miroslav Kobosa (Lev Sapieha Foundation) both partners of ALDA’s project in Belarus and members of ALDA.

Belarus represents a challenge for Europe as a whole. It is so much a European country and yet so much a different game. The country is not a member of the Council of Europe and has never actually reached the doorsteps. It is the only European country fully engaged in the Customs Union with Russia. Belarus is a partner of the Eastern Partnership, sui generis, considering that the only really proactive dimension is the Civil Society one, with the National Platform of the Civil Society Forum for Eastern Partnership. The European Union – in front of evident breaches of human rights, imprisonment of political opponents, death penalty, strong limitation to freedom of association – is struggling to find a policy: the principle of more-for-more, and in this case less-for-less; a visa ban for a number of officials, a complicated (not fully understood) “modernisation plan” for Belarus, and programmes to support civil society and other stakeholders. Not all of these attempts are successful but, at least, the process continues and the EU is not giving up.

For ALDA, citizens’ participation in decision making at the local level is an action for change, towards development, democracy and better life for citizens. The same principle is valid for EU countries and for the Eastern Partnership, including Belarus. It implies existence, strength and capacity for both stakeholders of local governance (local authorities and local civil society) and an actual possibility to work together. This approach meets a number of difficulties in the EaP countries and specifically in Belarus. All the EaP countries are still enduring effects from the Soviet system, centralised bureaucracy and a passive citizenry. Legislation is weak – or non-existent and inconsistent – and do not leave autonomy and independence to the local authorities, which are often the extension of the powers of the state. Any possible European orientation would focus on the role of regions and the decentralisation of power.

Among the more effective instruments in capacity building, policy making and awareness raising for civil society in the Eastern Partnership countries, we can refer to the work of the Civil Society Forum for Eastern Partnership. Its Subgroup on Local Government and Public Administration Reform has worked intensively in studying and identifying priorities in 2012 and produced a comparative approach to the citizens’ participation possibilities in the region. The primary references include: European Charter on Local Self Government; Additional protocol to the European Charter of Local Self Government on the right to participate in the affairs of local authority; the strategy for innovation and good governance at the local level; and the Code of Good Practices of Citizens participation. It studied in particular the access to public information, the direct democracy mechanisms and consultative democracy.

The work of ALDA within the Eastern Partnership is particularly important and visible in Belarus with the support of local partners such as the Lev Sapieha Foundation (particularly focused on local government promotion in Belarus) and EuroBelarus. The approach of ALDA in Belarus is to focus on socially useful and oriented projects (with granting mechanisms), which allow for community development and citizen awareness.

The support of the European Union for actions addressing local authorities or local communities, acting closely with civil society groups, could give a strong impetus to consolidate the awareness and capacities of local actors. It will address the methodologies of citizens’ participation without developing highly political sensitive topics but producing changes in daily lives. The non-state actor programmes of the European Union should go in this direction.

Lastly, it is also advisable to be consistent regarding the political discourse coming from Brussels and a clear and fierce support for democratic forces and civil society organisations in Belarus. This includes the actual implementation phases in Minsk; as organisations are obliged to follow complicated and heavy rules and regulations (which can be just as complex from the EU side as they are in Belarus), often creating barriers for action and making it nearly impossible to deliver results.

Прочтите full Article

Learn more about Belarusian civil society in the current issue of New Eastern Europe in which there is the contribution of our partners Lev Sapieha Foundation and EuroBelarus.