On April 27 – 28, TACSO held the Regional Conference “Monitoring of the EU Guidelines for the Support to Civil Society in the Enlargement Countries, 2014-2020 – Year 2” in Skopje, Macedonia. The conference gathered more than 80 participants among which representatives of EC Brussels, TACSO, SIPU International, media, as well as representatives of state institutions and CSOs from the Western Balkans and Turkey. In addition, BCSDN EO Executive Director Tanja Hafner Ademi and Junior Policy and Advocacy Officer on CSDev Sanja Bogatinovska participated at the conference, together with colleagues from BCSDN’s members Partners Albania for Change and Development (PA), Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF), Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC), Center for Development of Non-Governmental Organizations (CRNVO), Civic Initiatives (CI) and TUSEV – Third Sector Foundation of Turkey (TUSEV).
The aim of the conference was to serve as a platform for collecting input from all stakeholders for the 2016 Progress Reports on the part of civil society state of affairs in the Western Balkans and Turkey. Upon the introductory remarks, separate sessions were devoted to introducing the monitoring system vis-à-vis EU CS Guidelines developed under the TACSO lead and executed by IPSOS Strategic Marketing, as well as on the overview of the current state of affairs in the enlargement countries against EU Guidelines.
Centre of Thematic Expertise (COTE) representatives gave their instructions on how the input for the Progress Report shall be structured so that it is provided in standardized format by each national delegation. After the guidelines, the participants went to their national teams with the objective to generate draft inputs for the EU Progress Reports 2016 with focus on three specific thematic areas, namely, enabling legal and policy environment for rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression, dialogue and cooperation between CSOs and public institutions, and framework for CSO sustainability, which overlap with the three areas that constitute the Monitoring Matrix on Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development created by BCSDN and members in cooperation with ECNL. Finally, national inputs for the Progress Reports were briefly presented highlighting the key positive changes and the key shortcomings and priority actions that need to be taken until the next reporting period.