The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) organized the Regional Cooperation Day “End of a tough year, what will 2016 be like?” to discuss with CSOs and academia the upcoming challenges for civil society in the region. BCSDN’s Policy and Advocacy Officer Biljana Spasovska participated at the one-and-a-half day event that took place in Sarajevo from 18th-19th December 2015.
The conference was opened by Mr. Goran Svilanovic – Secretary General of The Regional Cooperation Council, who reflected on the challenges the Balkan countries are facing, followed by an open discussion panel on the EU Country reports and what they tell us about the most pressing issues for genuine progress in the EU accession process. Numerous CSO and academia representatives spoke on the role of the civil society in the EU integration process addressing common challenges for these countries, from the rule of law and independence of the media to civil society development. The question of the sustainability of the new impetus given with the Berlin process was raised and the need to further include the civil society in it. The second panel was devoted to the currently hot issues – the migration crisis and how to cope with the effects of the migration/refugee crisis on the region. The third panel was a flagship presentation of RCC’s 2016 activities and discussion on how the RCC and the civil society can assist each other in their respective missions and strategic actions. The final panel was devoted to the presentation of the progress made in resolving Bilateral Issues, an issue raised on the Vienna Balkan Summit in 2015 by the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group.
Parallel to the civil society forum, the Regional Cooperation Day also gathered journalists form the region to discuss how to improve mutual and regional cooperation in the field of media. The conclusions of their work were presented on the closing panel of the conference. The conference was closed with a concert by “Les Femmes des Balkans” and a cocktail reception. You can read in more detail about the event here.