The 51st Western Balkans Follow-up Committee meeting, held on 3 December 2021, placed conflict resolution and normalisation of relations between Kosovo* and Serbia in the spotlight. The meeting, presided by Ionuţ Sibian, hosted prominent speakers from the ranks of EU officials, Western Balkans experts, as well as civil society representatives from the local communities, all of whom agreed that EU-facilitated dialogue was the only way to move forward.
Държави, обхванати от процеса на разширяване
ЕИСК е активно ангажиран в процеса на разширяване на ЕС и разработи двоен подход – регионален и двустранен, за своите отношения с организациите на гражданското общество в държавите, обхванати от процеса на разширяване.
Що се отнася до регионалния подход, Комитетът за наблюдение „Западни Балкани“ – постоянен вътрешен орган на ЕИСК, е основният инструмент за координиране на дейностите на ЕИСК в този регион. Форумът на гражданското общество в Западните Балкани, който се организира на всеки две години, е част от дейността на Комитета за наблюдение.
С държавите от Западните Балкани и Турция ЕИСК работи и на двустранна основа. Въз основа на споразуменията за асоцииране между тези държави и ЕС, с цел включване на организациите на гражданското общество в процесите на предприсъединяване и присъединяване, ЕИСК създаде три съвместни органа с представителите на гражданското общество – с Турция, Черна гора и Сърбия. Всеки орган се състои от равен брой членове от ЕИСК и от държавата партньор и провежда заседания два пъти годишно.
ЕИСК поддържа редовни контакти и организира съвместни дейности с организациите на гражданското общество на държавите, обхванати от процеса на разширяване, с които все още няма създаден съвместен орган на представителите на гражданското общество.
Работата на съвместните органи е допълнена с изготвянето на становища на ЕИСК относно процесите на предприсъединяване и присъединяване на отделните държави, както и относно теми от регионален интерес.
Members of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and representatives of the Montenegrin organised civil society held on the 1st March the 14th meeting of the EU-Montenegro Joint Consultative Committee (JCC), which took place online. Members of the JCC adopted a joint declaration urging the EU to assist Montenegro to face the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has strongly supported the enlargement of the European Union to the six Western Balkans countries provided they fulfil all the necessary criteria for membership. In the aftermath of the Council's non-decision to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia in October 2019, we have reacted swiftly by adopting, on 31 October, a Resolution expressing our profound disappointment by the lack of unanimity from the Member States. The EESC has since been committed to working closely and intensively with the civil society in the Western Balkans to support and reassure them that their place is in the European Union.
The EU-Montenegro Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) held a meeting in Podgorica on June 7 to discuss the state of play in Montenegro's EU accession negotiations. The members of the JCC agreed on a joint declaration, which calls on the EU institutions to continue to be supportive of the EU enlargement policy after the European elections in May 2019 and on the Montenegrin authorities to produce tangible results in the areas of rule of law, media freedom, fight against organised crime and corruption.
Civil society representatives from both the EU and Turkey called on Turkish authorities to undertake major reforms in the fields of rule of law and human rights as a prerequisite to resume accession negotiations with the EU. This was one of the main conclusions of the 38th meeting of the EU-Turkey Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) held in Brussels on 8 and 9 April, which also agreed on the important role of the JCC as an open channel for exchanges at civil society level.
The importance of Social Dialogue, the role of employers' organisations, the economic situation in the Balkan countries, progress in the accession process and current political challenges: these were main topics of the discussions at the Balkan Employers' Round Table that took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 22 March 2017. The event brought together representatives of employers' organisations from former Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia).
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held the 9th edition of the Western Balkans Civil Society Forum on 19-20 October 2023, just a few weeks ahead of the European Commission's Enlargement Package and the New Growth Plan. The Forum signalled a renewed momentum for the region to join the EU, in view of the current geopolitical situation and a clear commitment of EU leaders to the enlargement policy.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) welcomed representatives from civil society organisations from candidate countries at its July plenary session, announcing the initiative to appoint Honorary Enlargement Members and invite them to participate in the daily advisory work of the Committee
The high-level civil society conference on youth policy in the Western Balkans, hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), highlighted the key role of young people for the future of the region and called for their active involvement in policy-making.
On 24 May in Sarajevo, the EESC's Western Balkans Follow-up Committee held its yearly external meeting - for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic - to meet with civil society organisations (CSOs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina and discuss their role and concerns regarding the current situation. The conclusions will be conveyed to the country's political authorities and to the EU institutions.