The final meeting of the PRINCE project “Civil Trust Building – Find your way through Enlargement Labyrinth” gathering all the project partners and the contact persons from the Western Balkan countries whose participation was coordinated by ALDA, was hosted by the Italian organisation ARCS.
Overview and assessment of one year condensed activities with the highlight on the Labyrinth tour through EU cities – Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna and Udine and the questionnaire analysis regarding the perception of the local citizens about EU enlargement, designing the follow-up activities – were the main topics discussed during the conference.
The Western Balkan country progress reports and the European Parliament’s Report on enlargement policies, criteria and EU strategic interests (3/10/2012) were further debated as the key documents requiring a strong involvement of civil society organisations and their regional networks.
The conference was also an opportunity for presenting a broad perspective and overview of the present status and future challenges of EU enlargement process by Prof. Virgilio Dastoli, President of the European Movement Italy, who spoke about the achievements of active civil society engagement over the past years with particular regard to adoption of the EU standard in fundamental rights and liberties and embracing the European values by the newly acceding countries. A number of regional CSO initiatives were mentioned in this regard, and in particular: Declaration of the European Movement – Italy supporting European Citizens Initiatives (ECI) claiming fundamental rights such as plurality of information, environment protection, free access to information, mobility of young people and strengthening of participative democracy as well as the European sustainable development. Further to this, specific mention was given to complementary document to the “European Manifest” of the EYCA (Italian Alliance for the European Year of Citizens) calling for support to autonomous initiatives promoted by citizens and NGO-s in order to carry out activities of general interest;
Similar Western Balkan regional CSO-s network statements have already been widely disseminated so as to enhance a greater involvement of civil society actors at different levels to help making the overall societal and economic reforms happen and thus continue with the EU integration beyond 2013 – after Croatia’s full accession. Therefore it is of utmost importance to refer to the Enlargement strategy (European Parliament – A7-0274/2012) stressing inter alia, the role of civil society as an important engine of approximation with the EU in creating bottom-up pressure for the advancement the European agenda, improving the transparency of the process and strengthening the public support for accession.
For further information please visit: www.civiltrustbuilding.eu
Stanka Parac Damjanovic
ALDA Regional Programme Coordinator