Albanian Municipalities to bring the EU closer to their citizens

European flags in front of EP Building in Strasbourg; Photo: European Union

LUSHNJA – The EU Delegation to Albania in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Albanian mayors launched today a new initiative to support municipalities in strengthening their EU-related governance capacities.

In the next two years, Municipalities for Europe with an investment of around EUR 800,000 will set up 61 EU Desks around the country reaching out to local authorities and the Albanian public with information about the EU, its policies and programmes.

“We congratulate all 61 Mayors of Albania, who have already appointed staff to locally coordinate on EU matters. In the next few weeks every municipality in Albania is going to have its own EU Desk operational,” said Mario Mariani, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Albania.

“In its EU accession process, Albania can only benefit from the involvement of the local level. If directly engaged, Albanian local administrations and citizens can best learn of, grasp opportunities and meet the challenges that the EU integration implies. These EU desks will contribute to bringing Albania, its citizens and the EU a bit closer to each other,” Mariani said.

The European Union pays a growing attention to the role that the local government plays in the context of the European integration process of the country. Municipalities for Europe focuses on increasing the capacities of the local administrations by assisting the establishment of an EU Desk in each of the 61 Albanian Municipalities.

Municipalities for Europe is launched in the framework of the European Local Democracy Week that promotes and fosters democratic participation at grassroots level. An open debate between the local authorities of Lushnja and the city’s youth on municipal priorities followed the launch.