Key beneficiaries and main stakeholders in promoting good governance and Roma empowerment at local level, gathered in Tirana at the Third Advisory Group Meeting of the joint European Union/Council of Europe ROMACTED Action to discuss on the progress achieved during its implementation in Albania. In this meeting, central and local level programme beneficiaries, the European Union and Council of Europe representatives, and the local implementing teams had the opportunity to discuss insights on the preliminary Roma Responsive Budgeting guidelines for local government units and provide concrete guidance on the implementation of small grant scheme municipality projects.
Jutta Gützkow, Head of Council of Europe Office in Tirana, welcomed the new mayors of the Programme, and highlighted some of the achievements observed during the implementation of the Action in the Municipality of Elbasan; one of the seven partner municipalities.
Lenka Vitkova, Head of Good Governance and Rule of Law Section in the European Union Delegation in Albania stressed the importance of implementing the European standards on Roma integration. She noted that “… the 12 principles of good governance of the Council of Europe can guide the implementation of the concrete measures of the Local Action Plans for Roma Integration 2019-2022 developed through the ROMACTED process”.
Marcos Andrade, ROMACTED Programme Manager, provided some information on the regional context of the implementation of the Action in the Western Balkans and Turkey as part of the overall work of the Roma and Travellers team within the Council of Europe.
In her remarks, Dajna Sorensen, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy, put emphasis to the employment indicators at local level and upscaling the good practices at national level.
Merita Xhafaj, General Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, recalled on increasing the number of the partner municipalities, considering the positive acknowledgment of the implementation in Albania and urged for further technical assistance from European Union to enable that the Roma Responsive Budgeting guidelines serve as a model for the local budgeting and functioning of the social fund for Albanian municipalities.
Robert Gajda, Commissioner for the Protection against Discrimination, focused on the challenges related to the asymmetries of the local service delivery by municipalities among core and peri urban areas. Majlinda Bufi, Mayor of Municipality of Roskovec, Alma Hoxha, Mayor of Municipality of Permet and Ervin Saraci, Deputy Mayor of Municipality of Elbasan, shared their insights on the implementation of the programme in their municipalities.
European Union and Council of Europe joint Programme ROMACTED aims at building up political will and sustained policy engagement of local authorities to enhance democratic local governance and empowerment of local Roma communities. The programme is being implemented in the seven partner municipalities of Elbasan, Permet, Fier, Korca, Pogradec, Roskovec, Vlora in Albania.