TiranaFrom 15 to 17 of April delegates from fifteen countries took part in the EU funded international seminar in Tirana, organised by EZA and MCL, along with the Albanian trade union, SAUATT, as host. This meeting was organised within the framework of the IPCM and was the first of its kind to be held in Albania.

The Albanian Minister for Social Affairs, Bendi Klosi, expressed his thanks for the international presence, underlining the reforms carried out by Albania as a candidate country, and the need to learn about best practices to avoid mistakes. He also defended new legal measures to improve conditions for Albanian migrants in Italy, Greece and other countries.

The Dutch President of EZA, Bartho Pronk, and his Italian co-chair, Piergiorgio Sciaqua, pledged to contribute our experience in social work and take on our responsibilities from the EU position. This seminar coincided with Pope Francis's visit to the Patriarch of Constantinople on the Greek island of Lesbos.

After analysing the social changes in Europe and Spain, the Spanish President of the IPCM, Rafael Rodriguez-Ponga, defended the role of civil society, as structured through networks such as EZA and the IPCM, and based upon their democratic, social, pro-European and Christian humanist approaches. He also stressed that the NGOs were demanding a common European asylum policy and that we now have the agreement of the 28 plus Turkey on this point.

The IPCM's Portuguese Vice-president, Maria Reina Martin, made an emotional statement on the dramatic situation of those who are reaching the EU after fleeing from the war zone. She appealed to us all to adopt the welcoming spirit seen during World War II.

Attending from the EU countries were delegates from Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Croatia, Slovenia, and Cyprus. From outside the EU, apart from Albania, there were delegates from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the former Yugoslav province of Kosovo and Morocco.

Since several countries had suffered from former Communist dictatorships, several delegates referred to the situation of change. Specifically, the Bosnian delegate, Franjo Topic, referred to the temptation of nostalgia and the claims that ignore reality: "We know what Communism is all about: for that reason we know that democracy, with all its faults, is the best option."

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