EU Integration is a powerful mechanism for policy and institutional reform in Albania, the perspective of European Union membership is becoming a principle policy driver in Albania. All societal forces and political parties in Albania are in agreement that the EU integration is the foremost programmatic priority of the country. Nonetheless, the European integration process is perceived as happening in Brussels and at most in Government offices in Tirana, rather than as a process that requires involvement at every governmental level and of each unit of the society. Very few perceive this process as a negotiated cooperation in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and solidarity resulting in absolute benefits for all parties. AGENDA has put strong efforts to contribute to the policy debate and development of key issues facing Albania as it strives to integrate in the European economic and social environment through different initiatives at local and central level such as: Making the EU integration process practical for the local governments - increasing information on implications and opportunities; promoting collaboration among all actors and tailoring developmental local policies for 12 municipalities (supported by Olof Palme International 2008-2011); Strengthening the capacities of trade unions, NGOs and think tanks to act together for the achievement of Decent Work in the Balkans and to contribute to build the capacity of CSOs to engage with decision-makers and public authorities at the local, national and European levels and promote EU integration process (supported by EU Commission 2010-2012); at stimulating education of the EU in the context of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) and European integration, and to enhance the role of civil society in the European policy debate (2008); informing farmer’s communities on the necessary tools to assure representation and participation in the policy-making process and on the opportunities that offers the opening of markets as provided by the SAA (2007); supporting a policy of visa liberalization between Albania and the EU, through comparative research leading to practical recommendations for both sides (2007), advocating why Albania should submit the request for the candidate status in 2009, etc.
AI will continue to see all policy areas we research through the EU Integration lenses, and always check on how the process impacts the researched sectorial areas. Specific objectives include: To put public policy processes on EU perspective; to increase understanding, analysis and raise awareness of the societal impact of EU policies; encourage participation and increase public debate related to EU integration processes.