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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Slovenia gives a stronger voice to civil society in the EU's neighbourhood

Source: Concord Flash 51, April 2008

Both the EU’s neighbourhood policy and its enlargement policy underline the role of civil society in democratisation and in further integration into the EU. This is also a priority for the Slovenian government.

It is therefore not surprising that an international conference was organised by the non-profit sector in cooperation with the Slovenian government on "Giving a stronger voice to civil society in the EU neighbourhood: Development of civil dialogue and partnership relations between civil society, national governments and EU institutions" on 2 April 2008 in Slovenia.

This conference provided an excellent opportunity for civil society to send a political message to the European Union on the need to develop a coherent and coordinated strategy for the sustainable development of civil society beyond EU borders. Called the Ljubljana Declaration, the policy recommendations drawn up by the participants advise:

  1. Listening to civil society
  2. Developing a long-term strategy for a sustainable civil society
  3. Putting the partnership principle into practice, and thereby overcoming problems the EU is currently facing
  4. Implementing the legal framework
  5. Strengthening the capacity of small organisations
  6. Focusing on creating a supportive environment for ensuring the sustainability of civil society organisations

Civil society organisations are willing to work with European institutions and national governments in order to establish structured, transparent mechanisms for cooperation, adapted to the particular situation of each country.

Another opportunity will be offered during the Slovenian Presidency by the seminar entitled “The new relationship with our neighbours: A practical guide to the European Neighbourhood Policy” which will be held by the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) from 11 to 13 June. Officials from government ministries and/or other authorities of the EU member states, as well as officials from the neighbourhood countries, civil society representatives and people working in private companies dealing with neighbourhood policies, will gather to discuss the issue.

For more information contact Anja Mešič

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See also Euforic's newsfeeds on CONCORD, the EU Neighbourhood Policy, and on the EU Presidency

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