First Steps towards Development Cooperation in the EU Context for the Western Balkan Countries


TRIALOG is a project which aims to strengthen civil society and raise awareness of development issues in the enlarged EU. Currently, the project is in its fourth phase (2009-2012). At the moment, a strategic process is taking place whereby consultations are being held to identify future focus of TRIALOG phase V. The Balkan Civil Society Development Network participated to the TRIALOG Future Factory meeting, which took place in Vienna, Austria with its representative from the Executive Office, Ms. Ilina Nesik and Marina Vukovic on behalf of CRNVO, Montenegro. The network was identified as a key regional player that could facilitate the access of development of local CSOs development platforms (i.e. NGDO platforms) in accession and candidate countries (AC/CC).

With the enlargement of the EU, 12 New Member States (NMS) contribute strategically and financially to the EU Development policy. The priorities, policies and methodologies of the NMS and accession/candidate countries (AC/CC) complement and enrich the present EU approach. A sound integration into European structures and policies was clearly needed. The involvement of CSOs in this process and the mobilization of public support for development cooperation in the enlarged EU were decisive in order to live up to the EU’s commitment to eradicate world poverty. The specific objective of the TRIALOG project was a stronger European system of international development cooperation by the integration and active participation of CSOs from NMS and AC/CC on European and global level through coordination, networking, advocacy and capacity building. While the focus of the project in the previous period was on NMS, the 5th phase will shift its focus to the Balkans, i.e. AC/CC.

In this line BCSDN started to work on raising awareness for local organizations to get involved in the creation of national platforms in the candidate countries. On 27th and 28th April, 8 Macedonian CSOs gathered in Skopje to discuss development cooperation, the role that Macedonia has today as a donor recipient and the role that the country will have in near future as a donor giving country. The consultation was a possibility for CSOs to discuss civil society in the context of development cooperation and the necessity of national development platforms. It was organized by the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation, Macedonian Helsinki Committee, Balkan Civil Society Development Network and it was supported by TRIALOG. The objectives were to introduce the understanding of EU and its role in international development as well as the development policies in place and to introduce the possibilities that exist for Macedonian CSOs already.

The highlight of the meeting was the tips and tricks shared by the Slovenian and Bulgarian representatives, Marjan Huc and Valery Padzharov about their concrete experiences. Both of them confirmed that building a platform takes a lot of time and commitment and starting early while still a candidate country is the best way to have institutions and CSOs that will be ready to address these issues once Macedonia will join EU. The event served as a platform building initiation and there were two important outcomes. A Coordinative body and a Working Group were created for leading the process towards the creation of a national platform for development coordination.


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