On the second day of hisvisit to Italy, the Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj, held an open meeting at the University of D'Annunzio, in the Abruzzo region, with students, entrepreneurs and administrators discussing the development models of cities.
Accompanied by the Chairman of Tirana's City Council, Aldrin DaLIpi, mayor Veliaj made a presentation about Tirana's metamorphosis, focusing, in particular, on the work and development that the Albanian capital has undergone in the last two years.
"We have decided not to repeat the mistakes of the past. It's not be enough simply solving the emergencies of the moment. We need to invest in the future.
"We have decided to build a sustainable development model for the city; to face the needs of the present without endangering the needs of the future.
"We must not act with the thinking that there is no future after the end of our mandate. We must invest in a Tirana for the coming generations," declared the mayor in his speech.
Veliaj stressed that the Municipality of Tirana, besides investments in urban infrastructure, has paid special attention to developing innovative solutions for the facilitation of access to services for citizens.
"What does it take to make the city better? Economy, services and infrastructure - no doubt, but also innovation, creativity, art, culture and protection of the environment.
"For the first time in the history of Tirana we have decided to consider these elements as strategic investments for the future of the city.
"We started our work by building a new relationship with our citizens, because when you bring on such a change, it is necessary to ensure the citizens are involved.
"This is especially true for young people and children who, based on our experience are not only those who embrace change more rapidly, but they are also the biggest supporters of new ideas." said Veliaj.
During his stay in Italy, the mayor of Tirana, accompanied by the President of the Region of Abruzzo, Luciano D'Alfonso, also paid a visit to the Arbëresh community living there.
"I believe that the existence of the Arbëresh community is also a great compliment to Abruzzo and Italy.
"Albanians are everywhere, but they have not found an open door at every place or a welcoming community like here.
"I think it is a compliment to Italy, which is considered a country with an open mind and heart.
"I believe that the Arbëresh communities honor both sides. They have taken the best of Albania, the best of Italy and they have built a community that is a great example for all."