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.
Tíortha an mhéadaithe
Tá CESE rannpháirteach ar bhonn gníomhach i bpróiseas an mhéadaithe agus tá cur chuige déach aige – ar cur chuige réigiúnach agus déthaobhach é – le haghaidh an chaidrimh atá aige le heagraíochtaí na sochaí sibhialta i dtíortha an mhéadaithe.
Maidir leis an gcur chuige réigiúnach, is é an Coiste Leantach um na Balcáin Thiar – comhlacht inmheánach buan de Choiste Eacnamaíoch agus Sóisialta na hEorpa – an phríomhionstraim chun gníomhaíochtaí CESE sa réigiún sin a chomhordú. Is cuid d'obair an Choiste Leantaigh é Fóram na Sochaí Sibhialta um na Balcáin Thiar agus déantar an fóram sin a reáchtáil uair sa dá bhliain.
Oibríonn CESE ar bhonn déthaobhach freisin le tíortha na mBalcán Thiar agus leis an Tuirc. Ar bhonn comhaontuithe comhlachais idir na tíortha sin agus an tAontas Eorpach, chruthaigh CESE trí chomhchomhlacht i gcomhar le hionadaithe na sochaí sibhialta sa Tuirc, i Montainéagró agus sa tSeirbia d’fhonn ról a thabhairt d'eagraíochtaí na sochaí sóisialta sna próisis réamhaontachais agus aontachais. Is éard atá i ngach comhlacht líon comhionann comhaltaí ó CESE agus ón tír chomhpháirtíochta agus tagann siad i gceann a chéile dhá uair sa bhliain.
Coimeádann CESE teagmháil rialta le heagraíochtaí na sochaí sibhialta sna tíortha is iarrthóirí nó is iarrthóirí ionchasacha nár bunaíodh aon chomhchomhlacht d'ionadaithe ón tsochaí shibhialta iontu go fóill agus eagraíonn sé gníomhaíochtaí comhpháirteacha i gcomhar leo.
Déantar obair na gcomhchomhlachtaí a chomhlánú trí thuairimí CESE a ullmhú maidir le próisis réamhaontachais agus aontachais na dtíortha aonair, agus maidir le hábhair spéise réigiúnacha.
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.
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).
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.