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Policy Forum on Institutionalization of Relations between Public and Non-Public Actors in Albania

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The European Movement in Albania, in cooperation with the Slovakian Pontis Foundation, organized, on September 26, 2012, the Policy Forum: Towards the institutionalization of relations between public and non-public actors in Albania, which gathered representatives of state institutions, researchers, civil society representatives and the media, to discuss the concerns of civil society and interest groups’ involvement in policy making.

EMA organized a policy forum on relations between public and non-public actors in Albania (photo EMA)EMA organized a policy forum on relations between public and non-public actors in Albania (photo EMA)

In her opening address, Blerta Hoxha, researcher with the European Movement in Albania, stressed the importance of ensuring a transparent and inclusive environment in the policy and law-making processes as key issues for strengthening of democracy in Albania and country’s progress towards EU membership.

Ditmir Bushati, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on European Integrations, talked about the current situation and internal organization of the state institutions which creates opportunities to be as transparent as possible and yet, is not necessarily reflected in practice.

Bushati noted that the relationship between politics and civil sodiecy resembles a relationship in which the two sides are both isolated on two distant islands. He said that the business community and the civil society demonstrate a much more consolidated will to feed this relationship than their political counterparts.

Bushati also stressed the importance of access to information and underlined the need for further legislation of that issue and the need for change of mentality of Albanian public.

Andi Dobrushi, the Executive Director of the Open Society Foundation, presented an overview of Foundation’s role in securing the right to information and consultation processes.

Dobrushi highlighted the problems and limitations of the Law on the Right to Access Information and institutional practices, and supported his conclusions with statistical data. He also mentioned the Foundation’s collaboration with state institutions to change the Law on Free Access to Information and the drafting of the Law on Consultations.

Vjollca Meçaj, Executive Director of the Albanian Helsinki Committee, said that the right to information, as fundamental concept of democracy, should be used as foundation for the relationship between public and non-public institutions. She also introduced the role and contribution of the Albanian Helsinki Committee in this matter and presented several positive examples, especially in the area of penal institutions.

Blerta Hoxha also presented the main findings and recommendations of the survey of relations between public and non-public actors in Albania. She invoked the experiences of institutions in Slovakia and EU and noted the need to take concrete steps towards institutionalization of relations.

The forum was followed by a discussion session where participants brought their own experiences and discussed the possibilities to consolidate these policies. (Source: European Movement in Albania)

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