On 8th January, on invitation by The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Biljana Spasovska, BCSDN’s Policy and Advocacy Officer, participated at the Hearing in the framework of EESC opinion on “EU Enlargement Strategy”. The aim of the hearing was to gather experts from DG NEAR and other institutions and think tanks and CSOs from Brussels and the Western Balkans to discuss with the EESC study group the EESC Opinion on the EU Enlargement strategy.
The hearing was opened by Mr. Andrej Zorko a Member of the EESC and the President of the Study group tasked with the preparation of the Opinion, followed by a panel on the novelties of the EU Enlargement Strategy. The panel discussants were Mr. Allan Jones, Acting Head of Unit “Strategy, Policy, Planning”, DG NEAR, Ms. Corina Stratulat, Senior Policy Analyst in the European Policy Centre and Mr. Conny Reuter, Secretary General of Solidar. The second panel was devoted to a discussion on the state of play with the civil society development and the civil society – government cooperation in the EU aspirant countries. Along with Ms. Spasovska three other panelists were discussing key challenges of the EU enlargement policy, from the perspective of CSOs in WBT countries and how could CSOs from these countries be better involved in the EU enlargement process: Milica Kovačević, President of the Centre for Democratic Transition from Montenegro; Ms Sonja Stojanović Gajić, Director of The Belgrade Centre for Security Policy from Serbia and Ms Tijana Cvjetićanin, from the “Why Not” NGO, from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The issues raised on the hearing were to be further discussed on the meeting of the Study group discussing the Draft opinion scheduled to be held later that day from 14.30h.
Stay tuned for the publication of the EESC Opinion on the Enlargement Strategy. Or, until than read the much praised EESC opinion from 2014 still relevant for the Enlargement process and the civil society development in Western Balkans and Turkey “Enhancing the transparency and inclusiveness of the EU accession process” here.