A crucial factor for the acceleration of EU negotiation/accession processes in the region of Western Balkan and Turkey is the joint cooperation of the civil society sector and public authorities. In the negotiation process, expertise from local NGOs and other civil society actors is equally important as suggestions from Brussels. It can contribute to the quality and sustainability of the necessary reforms as well as win greater public support for the EU integration process. Another important aspect is enhancing cooperation between the European civil society (EU) and acceding countries’ citizens. The process of EU accession is too often considered and viewed as rather technical or political, skipping the crucial question of belonging to the community of values and ideas. The links based on common values need to be supported – and are best established through civil society cooperation – standing for involvement of various stakeholders, including NGOs, academia, trade and business associations, professional communities, foundations etc.
There is a need to make the process of European integration more sustainable and build necessary partnerships from within and to the outside to make it welcomed by all sides involved. Also, in light of the statement of the Commission’s President Juncker saying there will be no further EU enlargement in the five years to follow, and the phenomenon of so called “reforms fatigue” in the region, we find it crucial to put an emphasis on the civic cooperation with the EU and further encouragement of positive reforms by DG NEAR.
As stated in 2014 Enlargement strategy the Commission’s approach, dealing with the fundamentals (rule of law and fundamental rights, economic governance and improving economic competitiveness, public administration reform) requires fostering and enabling environment for the civil society, as well as effective civil society – governments dialogue. A strong civil society enhances political accountability and promotes deeper understanding of accession related reforms.
This joint event is a vibrant initiative launched with the aim of providing an opportunity to assess and advance dialogue between civil society and state actors from the region of the Western Balkans and Turkey and the European Union.
The conference will address the pressing issues in the process of European integration, enlargement policy and civil society development by focusing on the following main themes:
- Multilateral dialogue in the EU accession process (including mechanisms for participation such as Convent and SECO)
- Existing models of CSO inclusion in the process of EU integration in the Western Balkans and Turkey
- The civic dialogue between the EU and (potential) candidate countries.
100 representatives of civil society and public authorities from the Western Balkans countries and Turkey, and more than 30 representatives of the European institutions and EU civil society stakeholders.
- Defining of the Conference Framework;
- Selection procedure for participants from EU and Western Balkans;
- Preparation and Organisation of International Conference;
- Prepration of Conclusions and Recommendations
Project activities are conducted from October 2015 to March 2016.
Project is realising in cooperation in partnership with European Movement International, TACSO (Technical Assistance for Civil Society Organisations, project financed by European Union and the Serbian European Integration Office.