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The European Union is fully determined to support Albania on its path towards EU membership. Accession takes place through the contribution of all levels of governance and of the whole society. When directly engaged, Albanian local administrations and citizens can best learn, grasp opportunities and meet the challenges that EU integration implies.
To have a desk in every municipality dedicated to the EU is an initiative that we have launched together with the Albanian authorities. The EU desks are now well established and operational. They contribute to disseminating information and to engage local administrations and citizens on EU matters: its polices, funds and programs. They are also essential in measuring the contribution of municipalities in the country’s EU agenda.
EU integration is challenging. As accession will progress, more demands will to be put in front of local government leaders and administrations. They will need to ensure that their citizens are offered the same services as citizens of the European Union and that local democracy is applied in an efficient and inclusive way. Development of new policies and programmes need to be evidence-based, fully supported by clear and accurate information on the implementation of EU standards and criteria on the ground.
This Municipalities’ performance report about EU related matters is the first exercise of the kind. It 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 to name a few. Now that Albania is developing an institutional architecture dedicated to EU integration at the local level, this exercise should become a regular reference point for monitoring progress of EU integration at the local level.
In complementarity with the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior, we count on Albanian municipalities to be a powerful engine of the country’s journey towards the European Union!
H. E. Romana Vlahutin, EU Ambassador to Albania