On 11 December 2007, a Policy Forum was organised in Peshkopia, on the challenges of the constituency in the framework of Stabilization and Association Process.
This meeting brought together Members of European Integration Committee of the Assembly, MP’s representing Peshkopia constituency, OSCE Parliamentary project staff, business representatives of Peshkopia constituency, civil society representatives, local authorities’ and media (attached the list of participants in Annex 2).
The discussion was chaired by Mr. Ilir Meta, Chairman of the European Integration Committee of the Assembly. In his introductory remarks Mr. Meta emphasized the importance of bringing the EU related information closer to specific communities as a precondition for the socio-economic development of Peshkopia, in line with SAA and EC policies. Mr. Meta, underlined the role that Peshkopia has played in the past in the economy of the country and the need to revitalize this role in the light of European Integration Process.
Mr. Rahim Kaleci, MP from Peshkopia constituency, during his speech provided a clear picture of the difficulties the region is encountering. Mr. Kaleci, focused on the traditional production in the agriculture sector, calling for the revitalization of this experience.
The rate of productivity versus effectiveness was in focus of the speech of Mr. Genc Juka, Deputy Chairman of the European Integration Committee. Mr. Juka, stressed the fact that the region has the necessary natural resources to satisfy large part of the market with specific and traditional products as well as to compete successfully in regional and EU markets.
Mr. Florian Xhafa, Program Director of EMA provided in his presentation:
•an overview of the current situation, by presenting facts and figures from the region;
•information about the sector of fruit-culture and viticulture;
•information about the advantages of the organic production;
•introduction to the Instruments of pre-accession (IPA).
Mr. Ditmir Bushati, Director of EMA in his presentation focused on the Visa Facilitation Agreement concluded between European Community and Albania and the opportunities to be fully used for the so called “agents of exchange” (categories which will benefit from Visa Facilitation Agreement). At the same time, during the presentation was addressed the geography of visas in the regional context.
As policy forums are a combination of speeches and presentations provided by panellists and discussions from the audience, the most notable discussions from the audience are summarized as follows:
•Mr. Ilir Krosi, Mayer of Peshkopia, underlined the importance of preparing good applications for Community Funds. He pointed out the importance of strengthening local administrative capacities in order to use IPA opportunities for the development of Peshkopia;
•Mr. Qemal Minxhozi, MP, member of European Integration Committee, emphasized the need to orient the state aid towards the support of traditional products;
•Mr. Genc Sharku, MP, member of European Integration Committee, pointed out the need for a better coordination in the process of decentralization and the need to use Community funds in order to support the challenges deriving from the process;
•Mr. Femi Zebi, Farmer, requested further information on Viticulture sector. Such information was provided by the expertise of EMA.
The foreseen time for Questions, Answers and Debate, of 50 minutes, was extended to 1h and 40 minutes due to requests from the participants for further information in relation to European Integration challenges.
The policy forum was covered by local and national media.
The meeting took place at Hotel “Veri” in city centre, and it was followed by a working dinner. EMA in close cooperation with OSCE Parliamentary project staff prepared the agenda of the meeting, invitations for MPs and Local representatives, as well as arranged all facilities as agreed in the contract with OSCE.