National Civil Society Platform for European Integration for Children and Youth established in Albania
On 9 May - Europe Day, Seven major child rights organizations in Albania, announced the establishment of the of the National Civil Society Platform for European Integration: Children and Youth. The platform is an initiative of CRCA/ECPAT Albania, together with ALO116 Albania, MEDPAK, Save the Children in Albania, SHKEJ, Terre des Hommes and World Vision in Albania.
"After several months of intensive work, today we announce one of the most serious efforts of civil society, to support Albania and its authorities to advance in the EU integration process, by placing the rights of children and young people at the centre of this process" - said Altin Hazizaj, from CRCA/ECPAT Albania.
The platform aims to promote the cooperation, commitment and contribution of the civil society sector that works for the rights of children and young people in the process of negotiations of EU integration of Albania. The platform also aims to strengthen the participation of civil society, children, and young people, in this transformative process, by promoting the transparency of institutions vis-à-vis citizens and society.
"The National Civil Society Platform for European Integration for Children and Youth is ready to support Albania in the negotiation process with the EU, both in terms of the approximation of legislation and best practices for the protection and care of children and young people" - said Anila Meço, from Save the Children in Albania.
The Platform has defined six main objectives for its work, while it will be open for the contribution and participation of CSOs, who want to support the rights of children and youth during the negotiations.
"The opening of Albania's negotiations with the European Union is an important step towards the country's membership in the EU. In this context, we appreciate and congratulate the positive steps that Albania has taken in fulfilling the conditions for the opening of negotiations. This process means a fundamental legal, social, and administrative transformation, so the role that civil society plays in it is of particular importance" - said Eljona Boçe, from World Vision in Albania.
The rights of children and young people occupy a very important place in several chapters of the EU Acquis, so the commitment and contribution of the CSOs of the sector, as well as the children and young people, in this transformative process is key to ensure citizen participation in the decision-making processes, the strengthening of democracy and the transparency of the institutions vis-à-vis them.
"As a representative of an organisation, but also as a parent, we are ready to bring the perspective of disability in respect of the accessibility and inclusiveness of children and young people with disabilities for the alignment of Albanian legislation with EU directives." - said Zela Koka, from the MEDPAK Association.
The Civil Society Platform for European Integration: Children and Youth aims, among other issues, to support and contribute to the Partnership Platform for European Integration established by the Albanian Government, which operates on the basis of the consultative meetings of the respective negotiation chapters, next to the Ministries and main institutions.
"We invite all the public institutions in Albania, especially the Ministries that lead negotiations on EU acquis chapters, to use the knowledge and expertise of over 30 years of our CSOs, to work together and improve the situation of children and young people, in accordance with the obligations arising from the EU membership process" - said Enkelejda Kallçiu, from Terre des Hommes Albania.
Some of the main commitments of the Platform are:
- Participate in the discussion tables according to the chapters, proactively contributing to the protection, promotion and guarantee of the rights of children and young people, as well as their interests in the process of negotiations between Albania and the EU;
- Inform children and young people, the public and civil society on the state of the negotiations, European integration and their impact on the rights of children and young people;
- Prepare monitoring and evaluation reports on the situation of the rights of children and young people in Albania, the compatibility of national legislation with that of the EU, review the impact of the measures taken by the Government to improve policies and services in accordance with standards of the EU;
- Propose and recommend new laws, policies and standards in the protection and exercise of rights for children and young people in Albania;
On July 19, 2022, the first intergovernmental meeting opened the negotiation process for Albania's membership in the European Union. During this time, the parties have engaged in the screening process where Albanian and EU institutions were invited to present updated information regarding the current situation and the compatibility of Albania's legislation with EU Acquis. The conclusion of the process, which is expected to happen in the middle of this year, will determine the work, efforts, and duration that Albania will need to negotiate all 35 chapters of the Acquis and get a member of EU.