The EU Delegation to Albania, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Albanian mayors and the 61 EU local coordinators in the Albanian municipalities met today in Tirana to discuss local government performance on EU related matters. The discussions focused on the progress made towards establishing effective institutional and administrative systems for advancing the European integration process at the local level.
By January 2018, with the support of the EU-funded 'Municipalities for Europe' project, EU Desks have been established in every Albanian municipality, reaching out to local authorities and the Albanian public with information about the EU, its policies, funds and programmes. The project has just published a municipalities’ performance report about EU related matters, the first of the kind that was presented at the conference today.
The EU Ambassador to Albania Mrs Romana Vlahutin stressed that accession to the European Union involves all levels of governance and the whole of society, and that Albania will not grow unless all of its parts will be able and strong enough to grow as well. “Fiscal decentralisation is essential so that municipalities in Albania receive considerable tax contributions from businesses that operate in their territories” Ambassador Vlahutin said.
The performance report is a snapshot of how Albanian municipalities are doing in fulfilling responsibilities that are clearly related to the accession process of the country. Municipalities give a contribution in important areas such as rule of law, human rights, social policies, agriculture and rural development, education and environment.
Now that Albania is developing an institutional architecture dedicated to EU integration at the local level, it is expected for this exercise to become a regular reference point for monitoring progress of EU integration at the local level.
The EU funded project “Municipalities for Europe” is an initiative that aims at strengthening the EU-related governance capacities of Albanian municipalities and reaching out to Albanian citizens and Albanian local administrations with information about the EU, its policies, funds and programmes. Specifically, the project assists all the municipalities of Albania in establishing an effective interface between the EU and Albania through the establishment of the EU Desks; increasing awareness about the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) and other relevant EU funds available to Albanian municipalities and citizens; improving the capacity of interested parties in the field to benefit from these funds and programmes; offering trainings on how to conceptualise, design projects and file applications; as well as contributes to dispel the myths and misconceptions on the EU accession process. The project enjoys the full support of both central and local governments of Albania, formalised in the related Memorandum of Understanding signed in Durres on 5 December 2016.
For further information on the 'Municipalities for Europe' project, please contact the team: Jolanda.firstname.lastname@example.org
The full text of the report presented at the today’s working conference is available on the project’s website: www.bpe.al and here:http://bpe.al/sites/default/files/publications/Raporti-Final-en.pdf