President Festim Lato Attends Public Hearing EESC

The Republic of Chameria President Festim Lato was at the European Economic and Social Commitee today, 3 September 2018, to attend a public hearing by the Study Group on Justice, Rights and Values Fund. This Study Group consists of representatives of the European Commission, European Parliament and independent experts who have taken the proposal which was made by the Commission in May and try to shape it in ways that best reflects the interests of all the parties concerned.

The Fund aims to combine the existing programs of the Commission to support the promotion of the EU’s fundamental rights within the European Union. The Fund has a budget of €947 million euro for seven years and will come into effect in 2021. It will provide funding to NGO’s, universities and public administrations who implement programs to promote the rights and values of, and in, the EU. Beneficiaries of the Fund also include organisations who work in partnership countries like Albania. Unfortunately, the budget is limited and much less than what the EU spends at promoting its values abroad.

The speakers explained the workings of the current funding schemes as well as provided an outline of the proposed Fund, which will be even more accessible to smaller, grass roots organisations who lack the scale to act at a European level.

The rights of the Cham and their struggle for justice are a clear example of what the Fund is trying to support. The issue is especially relevant since it involves the rights and values at, and accross, the borders of the EU and therefore it has the chance of falling outside the scope of any EU program.

President Festim Lato is trying to get as much international support for the Cham issue as possible and was pleased to hear during the formal and informal question and answer session with the representatives of the Commission and the Parliament that the Justice, Rights and Values Fund will also be open to activities involving the promotion of the rights of the Cham community.

The Study Group will have several other meetings and the proposal will most likely be tabled for a vote at the European Parliament before the end of the Session. President Festim Lato is ready to attend an upcoming public consultation when he receives another invitation for that event.

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