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).
How can Europeans build upon common values to tackle global challenges, such as climate change, migration, terrorism, economic crises, tax evasion, organised crime, pandemics and humanitarian emergencies?
“Foreign policy begins at home,” according to the European Economic and Social Committee’s (EESC) recent opinion on the strategy on foreign and security policy proposed by the European Commission.
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.
The EESC's Western Balkans Civil Society Forum, which took place in Skopje on 30 September and 1 October, put the spotlight on the need for a clear EU accession perspective for the region and the role civil society should play in this process.
At its March plenary session, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hosted a debate with Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, to discuss the state of play of the accession of the Western Balkan partners. EESC members showed their convincement that integrating the Western Balkan partners in the EU is a geostrategic investment in peace and economic growth.
EESC criticises European Council decision to deny the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is deeply disappointed about EU leaders' decision to further postpone opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania at the European Council of 17-18 October, due to the lack of unanimity between the Member States.
The 7th edition of the Western Balkans Civil Society Forum, which took place in Tirana on 16 and 17 April, concluded with a call for the next Commission to maintain the Western Balkans enlargement policy as one of its priorities in the interest of both the region and of the EU.
EU accession remains a key motivation for reforms in the countries of the Western Balkans
The EESC held the 6th Western Balkans Civil Society Forum in Sarajevo on 10-11 July. Participants adopted a Final Declaration calling for increased media freedom, opening the doors of the Western Balkans to EU enlargement, the implementation of migration policies and increased employment opportunities, and working on women's rights.
This years' meeting of the EESC's Western Balkans Follow-up Committee outside of Brussels took place on 29 March 2023 in Pristina, Kosovo, and it included a hearing with the local civil society organisations (CSOs).
The goal of the hearing was to listen to the views on the role of civil society in Kosovo as well as to hear their concerns, and to convey these messages to the political authorities of Kosovo and of the EU.
The following topics were discussed at the hearing:
- 2023 European Year of Skills: skills, education and youth policy in Kosovo
- State of social dialogue in Kosovo
- Enabling civic space in Kosovo