European Commission takes on board advice from Kosovo civil society ahead of major meeting with the government (30/06/2011)
The second meeting between the European Commission and Kosovo civil society under the umbrella of the Stabilisation and Association Process Dialogue took place today in Pristina. The consultation was held one day before the SAPD plenary meeting between the European Commission and the Kosovo institutions. Discussions with civil society focused on the fight against corruption, freedom of speech, economic challenges and the general environment for NGOs. The dialogue with civil society is an important tool to complement the formal SAP Dialogue with political structures and institutions. It is also meant to empower civil society organisations in Kosovo.
The meeting was opened by Pierre Mirel, Director for the Western Balkans at the Enlargement Directorate-General of the European Commission.
Civil society was represented by 22 active NGOs from Kosovo. The European Commission stressed the need for a vital competent civil society on one side and the openness of the institutions to work with them together. In an open and frank exchange, participants covered a wider range of issues, ranging from the rule of law to economic and budgetary developments. Civil Society representatives detailed the current situation and outlined the challenges and opportunities they saw as priorities for the future.
Mr Pierre Mirel said:
"An active civil society is a key element of all modern democracies. Local organisations have important knowledge and can give input into the legislative process. It takes good and competent organisations on one side and the readiness of the Kosovo government to take this advice on board. By holding these meetings like today we want to be a good example for the Kosovo government and we also want to benefit from the expertise the local organisations have. The issues we discussed today will also be taken up with the government institutions at our SAP Dialogue plenary tomorrow."
In 2010 the European Commission strengthened the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) by introducing the SAP Dialogue. The meeting with civil society was introduced as an essential part of the policy dialogue framework (together with the plenary and sectorial meetings). During the 2011 cycle, the European Commission held meetings with NGOs at sectoral level, in parallel to the sectoral SAPD meetings. This further strengthened civil society's role in Kosovo's European approximation process.
The SAP Dialogue monitors and accompanies Kosovo's EU reform efforts and identifies how the EU can best assist in this process.
Kosovo's progress in the EU Integration process depends on fulfilling the conclusions from the SAP Dialogue sectoral and plenary meetings. Once finalised, the conclusions from both sectorial and plenary meetings are made public on the EC Liaison Office website.
For photos from the event, click here
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