The General Assembly of ALDA 2018 took place on 4th May in Brussels, hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Over 130 members and friends of ALDA participated in the event, committed to shaping more resilient communities all over Europe.

On behalf of Marmara Municipalities Union (MMU), MMU Secretary General Mr. M. Cemil Arslan and MMU International Cooperation Coordinator Burcuhan Sener attended the General Assembly.

Participants were welcomed by ALDA President Oriano Otočan, EESC President Luca Jahier, and Ivan Jakovčić, Member of the European Parliament. Jahier stressed that "the work of ALDA is key to reinforcing European spirit and preventing isolation, as well as walking us towards the decisive EP elections 2019, making people go and vote. The 300 members of ALDA represent a huge resource to reach out to European citizens and to raise their awareness, sense of ownership and involvement.” MEP Jakovčić put the accent on the local level: "Working at the local level is fundamental, that's why the activity of ALDA is so important, as in Croatia and Istria we have learnt on our skin. We need good news from the local level, to learn and share solutions on how issues have been solved locally. Enough bad - and fake - news!”

An interactive panel on local governance and challenges in the EU and its Neighborhood was moderated by ALDA’s Secretary General Antonella Valmorbida, with the participation of Ivan Jakovčić, Member of the European Parliament; Ken Godfrey, Executive Director EPD; Paolo Ciccarelli, DG DEVCO – Directorate of Cities, Local Authorities, Digitalisation, Infrastructure; Carla Dejonghe, Representative of the Chamber of Regions to the Congress of the Local and Regional Authorities of the CoE; and Jean-Marc Roirant, Chair of Civil Society Europe. Mr Ciccarelli stressed the commitment of the EU to support local authorities and decentralization, while Ms Cozzoli highlighted that the programme Europe for Citizens is a main partner of ALDA, but the other way round is also true: ALDA's achievements contributed to the results of the programme as it is today.

The Assembly approved the moral report of the President, the accounts 2017 and the auditor report. The activity report of ALDA and of the Local Democracy Agencies for 2017 were presented and approved. Then, the programme and budget 2018 were approved, as well as the strategic views. The Values of ALDA, presented by Noel Orsat, member of the Advisory Board of ALDA, were also approved.

The winner of last year’s Gianfranco Martini scholarship, Klodjan Sefaraj, winner of Gianfranco Martini scholarship 2017, presented the outcomes of his research on local democracy in Albania. In the country, citizens need to gain confidence and understanding of democracy; they have deep trust in the EU, and are much more optimistic about Europe than European citizens.

The scholarship 2018 was awarded to Beka Chedia, for his project titled “Development of Local Democracy and Transformative Power of Europe in Georgia”. The aim is to show if Europe has an effect on building democratic institutions and its results (in the frame of a post-Soviet space).

On the occasion of the General Assembly, a number of side events were organized, including the final event of the H2020 project Re.Cri.Re, the round table on EU support to Democracy organized with European Partnership for Democracy and a dissemination event of the H2020 project ENLARGE.


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