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On Friday, February 9, 2023, the Agency for the Support of Local Self-Government, in collaboration with the "Municipalities for Europe" project, held a networking meeting with the leaders and staff of the 61 European Integration Units in the municipalities of Albania.
The meeting aimed to discuss further steps in coordinating the European Integration Units in the open negotiation process and primarily negotiating Chapter 22, "Regional Development and Coordination of Structural Instruments."
The director of the Agency for the Support of Local Self-Government, Mr. Arben Skënderi, emphasized the importance of the contribution of local government units, and specifically integration units' staff in their coordinating role regarding Albania's negotiations with the European Union. Mr. Skënderi reiterated the agency's support in its role of coordinating and managing the European Integration process between the Central Government and Local Self-Government Units.
Ms. Marie Augoy, Program Manager at the Delegation of the European Union to Tirana, highlighted the importance of two processes: Mapping and the reporting process of projects implemented locally to assess the capacities of municipalities to fulfill their obligations in the European integration process.
"I am very pleased to have seen an improvement in the performance assessment process over the years," said Ms. Augoy, adding that "this is a good sign that we have succeeded in institutionalizing this process, making it systematic."
Ms. Augoy also expressed her happiness that through the "Municipalities for Europe" project, the European Union is finally assisting Albania in having a database of foreign-funded projects, which has been a long-standing need.
Ms. Jolanda Trebicka, director of the "Municipalities for Europe" project, then presented the progress and issues encountered, both during the data collection process for the assessment of municipalities' performance and for foreign-funded projects implemented at the local level.
According to her, while the performance assessment process of municipalities has already been consolidated as an annual exercise, the currently disorganized process of data collection for creating a foreign-funded projects database aims to "establish a system that systematically records all projects implemented by municipalities with donor funding, provides information on the geographic distribution of projects, and the total value of funding received directly by municipalities" as well as assess the capacities of municipalities to apply for funding.
At the end of the networking meeting, representatives of the Integration Units raised concerns about the issues encountered during the data collection process, as well as received the necessary information for the smooth running of this process, from the representatives of AMVV and the "Municipalities for in Europe" project.