A few days ago Tirana hosted the first meeting of the “Union of Albanian Municipalities”, which brought in roundtable mayors from all Albanian territories.
The initiative Mr. Erion Veliaj, Mayor of Tirana, aims at discussing and finding possibilities of cooperation, but also sharing best practices for the development and welfare of the Albanian factor in the capitals where they lead.
President of Tirana Regional Council Chairman of the Municipal Council of Tirana, Mr. Aldrin Dalipi describes this as very important the Union of Albanian Municipalities, and states that this is not a folk union, but a joint project, which’s goal is highly emancipated, modern and European, aiming to improve the lives of citizens and cities administered by Albanians. In this context, President of Tirana Regional Council and chairman of Municipal Council gave an interview to ATA (Albanian Telegraphic Agency)
Mr. Dalipi, Tirana welcomed the Union of Albanian Municipalities attended by mayors from all Albanian territories. Why was undertaken such an initiative?
I think this was the right moment! It is an idea that came to realization day by day, Albanian capitals and territories that are administered by Albanians should have better life quality. This union will be another opportunity to get to know and discuss the approaches that truly unite Albanians’ desires to progress. I think that, all we need to learn and benefit from each other’s known - how. This is a very emancipated, modern and European project.
Let’s talk about the Municipal Council, which is the arena of brainstorming between the majority and the opposition. How does it feel the political conflict there?
Municipal Council of Tirana since August 2015 has approved significant projects proposed by Mayor Veliaj, that have given way to concrete works in Tirana. Today we have a Municipal Council focused on civic debate on fundamental issues such as the budget, cleaning, urbanization, infrastructure, parking, public transport services, education, youth, gender equality, social aspects etc. Participation of women of already 50% in the Municipal Council, has given positive impact of professional debate, minimizing or isolating extreme rhetoric without ideas. Various decisions, particularly those with social character, have had the support of both, the majority and the opposition in the council, as a positive element, while dialogue with citizen is encouraged. Surely, there are things we do not agree, obviously, but local democracy gives us the message to see the highest interest of the community, children, adults, and the elderly. So in the end, in a city there are many more things that unite us than those that divide us. I think what has been done in Tirana, has tilted the determination to follow up projects, to change the capital at an unimaginably in just a short time.
Are you optimistic that the project of the Union of Albanian Municipalities will hold positions that were announced in Tirana?
I'm optimistic that the Union will be a concrete project of today and tomorrow, to move with the same speed, and change our cities at the same rate.