Facilitated by the Bulgarian and Austrian EU Council presidencies, as well as by shifting European focus towards to region, 2018 will grant Western Balkans an unprecedented access to the EU. Further European initiatives, especially the Berlin Process and the upcoming new Enlargement Strategy, will also contribute to the strategic importance of the upcoming 12 months. These prospects will provide opportunities for closer EU integration of the region. But national governments will have to take ownership of their own integration process though demonstrating tangible results and concrete progress in both economic governance and anti-corruption.
Civil society has a key role to play in this process. Anti-corruption has to be addressed both comprehensively and horizontally with the increasing prioritization of economic governance. This needs to be channeled through clear commitment on part of the Western Balkan countries and establishment of sustainable wide cooperation platform, involving decision-makers, CSOs, the business sector, as well as local, national and regional initiatives. These were some of the key messages communicated during the roundtable discussion ‘The New Enlargement Strategy for the Western Balkans: How to Enhance Civil Society Role in Anti-Corruption and Good Governance’, held in Podgorica, Montenegro, on 28 November 2017.
The principles of locality and target funding for CSOs will play an important role for such a cooperation to be successful. Ensuring independent evaluation, effective monitoring and assessment by CSOs should be prioritized. Western Balkan countries need to commit to establishing and promoting proper functioning of core institutions necessary for securing the rule of law. Prosecuting high-level corruption, fighting organized crime and corruption are hereby considered fundamental to countering the criminal infiltration of the political, legal and economic systems. The role of the public administration also needs to be highlighted, especially understood as impact-orientated, going beyond the current image of a formal technocratic process, alienated from the citizens.
Presentation by Ms. Daniela Mineva, Research Fellow, SELDI / Center for the Study of Democracy (Adobe PDF, 724 KB)
Presentation by Ms Milena Milošević, Public Policy Researcher, Institute Alternative, Montenegro (Adobe PDF, 629 KB)
Presentation by Mr. Aleksandar Kržalovski, Executive Director, Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (Adobe PDF, 679 KB)
Presentation by Ms Vlora Rechica, Researcher, Institute for Democracy ‘Societas Civilis’ Skopje (IDSCS) (Adobe PDF, 620 KB)
Presentation by Mr. Ramadan Sopoti, Researcher, Albanian Center for Economic Research (ACER) (Adobe PDF, 857 KB)