Perceiving EU integration not as a mere institutional agenda, but as an ambitious development project being continuously determined from the whole society, the role of civil society and citizens actively committed is crucial to promote European values and raise awareness in the public opinion on the impact and benefits of EU Membership for Albania.
Establishing the bridge between state institutions and civil society and at the same time helping to increase capacities in both sectors special mechanisms are needed. To facilitate this process, an instrument successfully applied is the National Convention on the EU Integration. Being a unique model developed by the Slovak Foreign Policy Association between 2003 –2007 it was extended through the support of Slovakia´s bilateral development assistance (Slovak Aid) in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Ukraine and Moldova. Successful cases of the project implementation were considered in Montenegro(http://eukonvencija.me/en/o-nacionalnoj-konvenciji/) and Serbia (http://eukonvent.org/)
The project’s “National Convention for European Integration of Albania” overall goal is to increase the participation of all segments of Albanian society (including the regions) in formulating and making of national policies. Special emphasis is put on EU integration effort of Albania as well as on promotion of cooperation of governmental and NGO sectors with the aim to strengthen capacities and capabilities in order to be able to meet all the criteria of the EU integration.
- to institutionalize the public debate on EU related issues based on the partnership of governmental, non-governmental and business organizations;
- to strengthen the expert capacities on negotiations on EU integration;
- to engage the general public in national policy-making on EU related issues through establishment of the sectoral EU communities based on the model of the National Convention on the EU Working Groups;
- to create the interactive and permanent information channel for all segments of the society;
transfer the Slovak know-how in the field of democratic institutions building and permanent expert dialogue.
- establishment of the permanent, coherent and continual thematically structured debate forum focused on the relations between the EU and the State;
- to support an elaboration of „national“ positions and creation of the national consensus in particular issues asserted by the state’s representatives towards the EU institutions;
- strengthening of the governmental and NGO capacities for EU integration processes;
- structured information on the EU based on the sectoral interests of the crucial segments of the society (expert and general knowledge improvement);
- improve readiness of the state for integration into the international structures.
- policy recommendations from Plenary Sessions;
- policy recommendations from Working Groups Sessions;
- research outputs for the WGs’ (internal experts of the WGs) ;
- press releases and press conferences (after each WG and Plenary session);
- web page of the project;
- printed publications (policy recommendations: Plenary Sessions plus WGs, research outputs of internal experts);
- establishment of the think-tank network cooperating on the EU integration agenda issues with other segments of society (government, entrepreneurs, local governments, etc…).
Working Groups(WG):There are formed 4 Working Groups whose topics will be directly related to EU integration process and negotiations highlighting the political, technical and legal dimension of such process: WG 1: Judiciary and Human Rights; WG 2: Justice, Freedom, Security; WG 3: Agriculture and Consumer Protection; WG 4: Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments. 16 WG Sessions (4 for each WG) are being organized, aiming to include all the actors that have not been/or have been partially involved in EU integration process, with peculiar focus in the local dimension.
NCEI in Albania 2014-2016: NCEI in Albania started in an important momentum -when Albania received ‘candidate country’ status (2014). NCEI put special emphasis on EU integration effort of Albania while promoted cooperation.During 2014-16 were organized 16 sessions of the working groups and 2 Plenary sessions during whose recommendations and conclusions have been disseminated to the state institutions, NGO-s and INGO-s, diplomatic missions in Albania and European Commission.
Achieved Goals: 1. Increased the participation of all segments of Albanian society (including the regions) in making of national policies relevant to the EU integration process;
2. Strengthened capacities of governmental and civil society sectors in order to cope with the EU accession criteria;
3. Provided recommendations on policy making process and legal framework.