BCSDN publishes the “Monitoring Matrix on Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development – Regional Report: Western Balkans and Turkey 2022” outlining the state of civil society in the Western Balkans and Turkey in 2022. The report highlights the challenges and obstacles that CSOs faced during the year, including restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of association, assembly, and expression, state interference in the internal work of CSOs.
Political developments in several countries have resulted in reduced opportunities for civic action, infringements on fundamental freedoms and the intensification of smear campaigns against civil society organizations (CSOs) and media. Overall, the report paints a picture of a challenging environment for civil society operations in the region.
Some of the challenges include violations to the fundamental civic freedoms – restrictions on freedom of expression are noted in almost all of the countries, while violations of freedom of assembly have been reported mostly in Turkey and Serbia. Interference by the state in the internal work of CSOs is another issue, particularly in Turkey, BiH, and Serbia. Additionally, legal frameworks regarding anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism pose challenges to CSOs in the region, along with insufficiently regulated and non-stimulating fiscal and tax treatment of CSOs and inadequate public funding. These challenges threaten the viability and sustainability of civil society in the region and require urgent attention and action from policymakers and other stakeholders.
Following previous MM reports, the report again offers specific recommendations for the national governments, but introduces recommendations for other stakeholders too – civil society, donors and recommendations regarding the EU integration process.
Read more and download the report here.