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.
Balcanii de Vest
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.