BCSDN Position: EU Support to Empowerment and Capacity-building of Civil Society in (Pre-) accession Countries

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As a key regional actor in civil society development, BCSDN with its members has been involved in the following all phases of EU regional support to CSOs. This year, with the new programming ahead, BCSDN has laid out in its Position how this ultimate phase in which local CSO should take over the responsibility and ownership, should look like.

EU should maintain a genuine regional approach and efforts so as to achieve greater in-country effectiveness, while remaining linked to the common objective for these countries which is to contribute to the consolidation of democracy and the future accession to the EU. The specific added-value of the next phase should include support local civil society organizations and initiatives through further and continuous empowerment and capacity-building, but also an adequate and prompt political support of their actions.  Monitoring of the environment in which civil society operates, should continue to be done through the Guidelines for EU support to Civil Society in Enlargement Countries 2014-2020, with EC providing clear evidence against EU CS Guidelines targets and political support both in the EU and Enlargement countries endorsing the EU CS Guidelines, while local civil society organizations remain to be strongly involved in the monitoring process. Furthermore, the role of technical assistance to capacity building of CSOs in IPA countries should be accompanied by clearly defined role of the civil society in the EU accession process, and it should give preference to CSO expert services rather than individual expertise. BCSDN has outlined this position to the DG NEAR, but since this concerns primarily local CSOs and actors, we consider extremely important that everyone has a say in outlining their views and how they are best supported in developing their capacities both as organizations and as a sector. You can read the full position here.

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