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Introduction of ROMACTED II Programme at Local Level in Albania

Tirana 30 June 2021
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Introduction of ROMACTED II Programme at Local Level in Albania

Roma integration and respect for human rights and non-discrimination is under the obligations of Albania as one of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe, enshrined under the European Convention on Human Rights, Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, and European Social Charter, but also under the EU joining prospects of Albania and the commitments under the Declaration of Western Balkan Partners on Roma Integration within the EU Enlargement Process, and the National Action Plan on Equality, Inclusion and Participation of Roma and Egyptians 2021-2025.

In this framework, the initial meetings of the joint EU/CoE ROMACTED Programme in Albania were held with mayors and municipal officials in the targeted municipalities of Elbasan, Permet, Fier, Korca, Pogradec, Roskovec, Vlora, Lushnje, Cerrik and Gjirokastra from 14-24 June 2021. They aimed to discuss on how the commitments at European and national level have been broken down at the local level during the implementation of the ROMACTED Phase I as well as building and reconfirming the political commitment of the mayors and the local administrations for a better understanding of Roma inclusion at local level and agreeing on the terms of partnership during ROMACTED Programme Phase II (2021-2024).

Ms Jutta Gützkow, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Tirana, underlined during the visits: “Albania sets a very positive example by being the first member state to adopt the Guidelines for Municipalities on Roma and Egyptian Responsive Budgeting at Local level in the secondary legislation during 2020. However, the Guidelines need to be translated in practice for the benefit of the local communities and I would wish to highlight that Roma Integration projects and priorities are considered in the mid-term and annual budgetary planning”.

 

The meetings served to discuss on the forthcoming activities, such as the First Advisory Group Meeting and the signature of the memoranduma of understanding between the Council of Europe Office in Tirana, Ministry of Health and Social Protection and local partner authorities, as well as the monitoring and evaluation of the Local Action Plans on Integration of Roma and Egyptian Minorities 2019-2022, and the application of the contextualised ROMACTED Handbook in the new municipalities of Lushnje, Cerrik and Gjirokastra, joining the club of ROMACTED partner municipalities in Albania. The Model Operational Plan of Korçë Community Centre was shared as an example of good peer learning and exchange and as a model for planning and organisation of any local community centre.

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The joint European Union/Council of Europe ROMACTED Programme Phase 2, which will run from 2021 to 2024, is a natural follow-up of ROMACTED Phase I. It will serve to consolidate and expand efforts to improve the integration of Roma populations in local communities through enhanced participation in local policymaking and implementation of local actions. ROMACTED II will continue to assist the local authorities to integrate Roma specific dimensions/measures into the mainstream local policies, action plans related to these policies, budgets, and public service delivery, thereby enhancing democratic participation and empowerment of local Roma communities.