European Western Balkans

Enlargement Day to take place in CoR

BRUSSELS – On June 1st and 2nd “Enlargement Day” – organised by Committee of the Regions in cooperation with DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission will be dedicated to raising awareness of the local and regional dimension of the enlargement process. During the event, the European Committee of the Regions’ members of the Working Groups and Joint Consultative Committees will exchange experiences and good practices with their invited guest from the candidate and potential candidate countries to the EU membership on how to involve the local and regional authorities in the EU enlargement policy. 

Following the goal of improving communication about the benefits of the enlargement process, locally elected politicians from EU and partner countries participate in the first day within the country-specific Joint Consultative Committees and Working Groups, and gather on the second day to exchange their findings and address horizontal topics in plenary session. Project presentation sessions organised by partners are accompanying the event.

Participation is open for registration here >>>


Day 1: Wednesday, 1 June 2016 (upon registration)
09:30 – 13:00 Working Group on the Western Balkans(Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and Kosovo*)
Main topic: Cross-border cooperation projects in the Western Balkans: The involvement of local and regional government
Key speakers:
Dr Franz Schausberger (AT/EPP), chair of the Working Group
H.E. Suela Janina, Ambassador, Head of Mission of Albania to the EU
Michela Matuella, Head of Unit: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, DG NEAR
Working Group on Turkey
Main topic: Shared Challenges – the Refugees Crisis and the Role of Sub-National Authorities
Key speakers:
Jean-Luc Vanraes (BE/ALDE), chair of the Working Group on Turkey,
H.E. Selim Yenel, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Turkey to the EU
Patrick Paquet, Deputy Head of Unit: Turkey, DG NEAR
Turkish members of the Congress of the Council of Europe
14:30 – 18:30 Joint Consultative Committee with Montenegro
Main topic: Economic governance and economic development at local level
Key speakers:
Aleksandar Bogdanović, Mayor of the Old Royal Capital Cetinje, co-chair of the JCC
Rasko Konjevic, Minister of Finance, Montenegro (tbc)
Hughie McGrath, Tipperary County Council, co-chair of the JCC
HE Ivan Leković, Ambassador of the Montenegro, Mission of Montenegro to the EU (tbc)
Angela Longo, Policy Officer, European Integration – Co-political desk for Montenegro, DG NEAR
19:00  Atrium 5, CoR premises Official dinner
Day 2: Thursday, 2 June 2016 (upon registration)
09:00 – 13:00 Plenary Session

Opening session: The involvement of the sub-national authorities in the EU enlargement process

  • Welcome statement by Karl-Heinz Lambertz (BE/PES), First Vice-President of the CoR
  • Maciej Popowski, Deputy Director-General in charge of Migration/Refugees and Security related issues, DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission

Exchange of views followed by Reporting back from the meetings of the Joint Consultative Committee and Working Groups

10:00 – 11:30 First roundtable discussion: Fundamentals first – multi-level governance and the rule of law; freedom of expression; respect of minorities and fighting discrimination
Main objective: to share experiences of EU Member States and enlargement countries on local self-governance policies and share lessons learned from projects on the support of good governance at local and regional level. The spectrum of tools that can help local authorities to improve their key functions and contribute to achieving the modernisation agenda will also be dealt with.

Key speakers:

  • Elmar Brok, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (tbc)
  • Gudrun Mosler-Törnström, Vice-President of the Congress of the Council of Europe and President of the Chamber of Regions
  • Anna Magyar (HU/EPP), CoR rapporteur on Enlargement strategy 2015-2016
  • Allan Jones, Head of Unit, Strategy, Policy, Planning; EEA/EFTA, DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)
  • Oriano Otočan, President of European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA), Director of Department in charge of international cooperation and European integration in the Region of Istria

Exchange of views

11:30 – 11:45 Coffee break/ Group picture/ Technical briefing
11:45 – 12:55 Second roundtable discussion: EU local and regional authorities experience in using structural and cohesion funds: transposing lessons to Pre-Accession funds

Main topic: The Committee of Regions has consistently argued for a greater degree of involvement by local and regional authorities in disbursing Pre-Accession funds (IPA) effectively. The case for such involvement by LRAs is clear given that the purpose of IPA funds is to improve the quality of public administration, the rule of law, democratic governance, to support economic development and to assist in the fight against both organised crime and corruption. In particular, the CoR believes that IPA should be made more targeted, efficient and coherent, and that this instrument should devote more attention to strengthening administrative capacity at local and regional level.

Key speakers:

  • Goran Svilanović, Secretary General, Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)
  • Emil Drăghici (RO/EA), CoR member and former President of the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe (NALAS)
  • Petr Osvald (CZ/PES), CoR rapporteur on Simplification of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF)
  • Argyrios Pisiotis, Head of Sector, IPA/Accession negotiations, Directorate General for  for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission

Exchange of views

12:55 – 13:00 Concluding remarks by Markku Markkula, CoR President


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