Today, Mayor Naim Ismajli, former NALAS President, addressed in the Enlargement Day Plenary Session, in the Panel Debate 1: Enlargement: Dynamics and Stabilisation. The Enlargement Day is the forum where local and regional issues and messages influence the EU’s strategy on enlargement.
“NALAS has developed a Position Paper which elaborates all our concerns from local government perspective on the pre-accession process and with concrete proposals to further optimise the European Commission support in this process. The purpose of our Position Paper is to bring the Western Balkans back to the EU institution’s agenda, and to especially pay attention on the importance of the Local Government Associations and Local Governments as main stakeholders and interlocutors in the enlargement process”, said Mr. Ismajli.
“What we offer as Local Governments in the region is to mobilise our citizens to contribute to stability and economic growth. We are an important ally for the development agenda and we should not be bypassed by the European Commission which is the most relevant development actor not only in the Balkans but worldwide as well”, emphasised Mr. Ismajli.
“We at NALAS strongly believe that change processes can only be sustainable and generate the desired impact if they are supported from the local level upwards by convinced, pro-active and committed citizens in a strategic alliance with public administration and authorities sharing the same vision. Decentralisation as a pillar of the democratic reform process is crucial for social cohesion, stability and peace in the Western Balkan countries and for the future of Europe. If Europe wants to be close to its future citizens, then it has to go local. The EU is about people, for people and around people.
A functional bottom-up approach depends on an effective coordination and cooperation between local and central government level to be successful”, concluded Mr. Ismajli.
On 31 May, local and regional political representatives from both the EU and from enlargement countries met in country-specific Joint Consultative Committees and Working Groups for high-level debates on where things stand as regards each country and the Union.
Today’s plenary debates the wider state and concept of EU enlargement, as well as the connectivity of transport and energy networks in the enlargement countries.
For more information and live stream:
Download NALAS Position Paper:
Position Paper on the Western Balkans and local governments in the EU integration