The focus of the Forum was on the implementation of economic and social rights. Moreover, this year’s Forum was devoted to transport policy and the role civil society can play in the sector. The general role of CSOs in the EU integration process was also discussed. Here, in an intervention, Tanja Hafner Ademi challenged the Commission representative on whether they plan on introducing an EU Acquis for civil society and urged that principles of policy and (IPA) assistance coherence, effectiveness, ownership and sustainability guide the EU Enlargement policy.
In Conclusions the participants adopted, among others, also conclusions pointing to the need of reinforcing the capacities of CSOs in the region, especially they:
-called on the Governments to develop and enforce a legal environment that supports civil society and urge them to develop and implement a strategy that will increase the level of dialogue and cooperation between public authorities and CSOs;
_ welcomed the development of the Civil Society Facility, which is a European Commission programme, and encouraged the Commission to tailor the Facility better to the needs of small, local CSOs;
_ supported the initiative introduced by the Regional Cooperation Council aimed at enhancing economic and social dialogue at regional level in the Western Balkans;
_ asked the European Commission to support technical assistance and capacity building efforts aimed at labor ministries and social partners.
The participants also called on the EESC to fully involve the highest political authorities of the Western Balkans countries and the EU in the 4th Western Balkans Civil Society Forum.
The Forum was organized with support from the European Commission.