BCSDN representatives had the opportunity to participate on meetings with the former and the future European Parliament Rapporteur for Macedonia, Richard Howitt and Ivo Vajgl. Mr. Vajgl met with few civil society representatives to discuss the role of CSOs in Macedonia, interaction with the government as well as intra-CSO cooperation/coordination in the accession process. He expressed his commitment to present the whole picture during his appointment that will include civil society views on the situation in Macedonia.
Ilina Nesik, BCSDN programme manager, participated at the meeting as a former deputy member of the National Council for EU Integration, and shared BCSDN stands on the use of IPA in the region and Macedonia, sharing few recommendation that could empower Macedonian civil society: EU living up to the commitment of allocating 5 mil EUR to notational IPA CSF, introduction of operational grants, support to the creation of national fund for co-financing, full implementation of the Strategy for cooperation of the Government and civil society etc.
BCSDN policy and advocacy officer Biljana Stojanovska, participated to the public lecture with Mr Richard Howitt, Member of the European Parliament in the Skopje on 4th December. Mr Howitt, who was until now the rapporteur for Macedonia, had a memorable farewell address in front of a full room of CSOs and media representatives, activists, students, government and foreign officials. In his inspiring speech he reflected on the activities he has taken during his position and emphasized the need for the country to remain committed to the process of EU integration along with the EU and member states. He has been encouraging a more independent and pluralistic civil society and during his mandate he has consulted with CSOs to acquire different opinions from the country. His commitment for civil society development has been of particular value as he has also included special sections in his reports with recommendations for strengthening of the civil society.
Mr. Howitt who will be superseded by Mr. Ivo Vajgl will remain to be a shadow rapporteur and help Mr. Vajgl fulfill his mandate more successfully .