The Communication stresses the EU's commitment to safeguarding an online environment providing the highest possible freedom and security, for the benefit of its citizens.
EØSU deltager aktivt i EU-udvidelsesprocessen og har udviklet en tostrenget – regional og bilateral – strategi for forbindelserne til civilsamfundsorganisationerne i udvidelseslandene.
På det regionale plan er Opfølgningsudvalget for det vestlige Balkan, som er et permanent, internt EØSU-organ, det vigtigste instrument til koordinering af EØSU's aktiviteter i regionen. Opfølgningsudvalgets arbejde omfatter bl.a. møder i Civilsamfundsforummet for Vestbalkan, der afholdes hvert andet år.
EØSU arbejder desuden bilateralt med landene i det vestlige Balkan og Tyrkiet. EØSU har på baggrund af associeringsaftalerne mellem disse lande og EU skabt tre fælles organer med repræsentanter for civilsamfundet i Tyrkiet, Montenegro og Serbien. Formålet er at involvere civilsamfundsorganisationerne i førtiltrædelses- og tiltrædelsesprocessen. Hvert enkelt organ består af lige mange medlemmer fra EØSU og partnerlandene, og de mødes to gange om året.
EØSU har regelmæssig kontakt og arrangerer fælles aktiviteter med civilsamfundsorganisationerne i de udvidelseslande, hvormed der endnu ikke er oprettet noget fælles civilsamfundsorgan.
EØSU supplerer arbejdet i de blandede organer med udtalelser om førtiltrædelses- og tiltrædelsesprocessen i de enkelte lande samt emner af regional interesse.
This own-initiative opinion will draw upon the first-hand experiences of the non-state actors (civil society, business and trade unions) engaged in the accession negotiations between Croatia and the EU over the period 2005-11, as well as experiences of EESC members who have been engaged in the work of Joint Consultative Committees (JCCs) with accession countries over the past seven years (Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey and Montenegro) as well as the Western Balkans Follow-up Committee.
The EESC welcomes the special attention devoted to drawing up a European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR), in order to support cohesion and competitiveness in the light of challenges that cannot be satisfactorily resolved by single regions or countries through the usual means. The EESC believes that EUSAIR must adopt a comprehensive programme with an action-oriented list of projects and schemes, and strongly recommends that better use be made of the private sector's potential to attract investment (both local and international) and to create business opportunities. Simultaneously, the strategy should include a stronger social dimension, in order to better support inclusive growth in the Adriatic and Ionian region.
The opinion should take stock of the current situation of civil society in Serbia (legal environment, relations with the authorities, situation of social and civil dialogues) and propose recommendations for possible EU action in this field. The opinion will provide an opportunity to get the views of Serbian civil society organisations in the course of a study visit to Serbia.
Cohesion policy is key to overcoming the COVID-19 crisis, to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and to reducing disparities in Europe. Its most serious challenge for the foreseeable future, however, is the war in Ukraine, the EESC cautions in a recent opinion. Rapid action is needed to help refugees and ensure the country's European integration.
With youth as one of the main policy areas of the Innovation Agenda for the Western Balkans (WBs), the participants in the hearing "Youth Policy in the Western Balkans, as part of the Innovation Agenda for the WBs", held by the EESC, reaffirmed the importance of young people for the future of the region.
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.
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.