ATA News

Tirana assumes Presidency of B-40, Veliaj: Smart cities and digital transformation, a priority

TIRANA, Jan 30 /ATA/ On Tuesday, Tirana officially took over the Presidency of the largest Network of Balkan cities, B-40. At the summit held in the capital, with the participation of mayors and delegations from 54 Balkan cities, the Tirana mayor, Erion Veliaj, said that this is the time for cooperation like never before.

He said that he is proud of how far Tirana has come, citing the important titles it has held so far, such as “European Youth Capital,” “European City of Sports”, but also the host of the Berlin Process, an international political event. Veliaj also expressed his enthusiasm about the fact that Tirana will hold the title of “Mediterranean Capital of Culture and Dialogue 2025.”

“We are pleased to welcome our friend and all the friends who are here today, our hearts are full. Hospitality is not a one-way street, it’s a two-way street, it’s about giving and taking. I believe that today we are in the right place where the cornerstone is exactly cooperation, receiving and giving to each other. We are open-hearted for friends like you, ready to welcome you, to give you the best part of our culture and hospitality, and it’s time for an extraordinary cooperation between us like never before,” said Veliaj.

So excited about the fact that Tirana holds the Presidency of B40 this year, he said, highlighting the extraordinary transformation of the Albanian capital, not only in architecture and technology, but also as a European city.

“I am glad that Frederica is with us today, the rector of the College of Europe, which has just opened applications for the Tirana Campus, and as she herself will tell you, Tirana has become a success story, even before the campus, with over 200 applications from over 50 different European countries. An excellent opportunity for our municipalities to take advantage of and we will probably have some of your qualified staff who receive a more complementary academic training to be the “Eurocrats” who will prepare our municipalities for more integration and cooperation. In 2025, Tirana will be the Mediterranean Capital of Culture, and culture is probably the only invisible thread that connects nations which may be divided over politics or ethnic differences,” said Veliaj.

The mayor also proposed a solidarity fund for all the municipalities of our region in case of disasters.

“During the Presidency of Tirana, we intend to propose a solidarity fund for all the municipalities of our region. The Municipality of Tirana has regularly done this with the cities of our region. We witnessed the floods in Tetovo, also in Kosovo, the earthquake in Zagreb, the wildfires in Athens. We would like not to be alone, and not to deal with a municipality, or each municipality separately,’ Veliaj said.
He added that this platform of B40 in Tirana will prioritize smart cities and the digital transformation of cities, as well as the local economy and cultural cooperation to see cities as engines of the economy.
President of the Republic of Albania, Bajram Begaj, said that Tirana, the host, has undergone an extraordinary development, especially in the last 10 years.