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Presentation of the European Economic and Social Committee

On Wednesday, February 20th 2013, representatives of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a presentation about the future membership of Croatian civil society organizations in EESC. European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is a consultative body of the European Union, founded by the Treaty of Rome in 1958 when the European Economic Community (EEC) was founded. On the European level EESC represents interests of various economic and social interest groups and is considered a bridge between the EU institutions and civil society. It consists of three groups: employers' associations, trade unions and other civil society organizations representing various interests.
Presentation was held by Luca Jahier, President of III. Group EESC, Paolo Berizzi, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Croatia, Igor Vidačak, director of the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs, Cvjetana Plavša-Matić, Director of the National Foundation for Civil Society Development, as well as future EESC members among civil society organizations (Lidija Pavić Rogošić, Marina Škrabalo and Toni Vidan) and co-chair of the Joint Advisory Committee of the EU and Croatia, Ana Miličević Pezelj.
In his presentation, Igor Vidačak, pointed out that Croatia has a long tradition of structured dialogue between state institutions and civil society organizations, particularly through the work of the Economic and Social Council and the Council for the Development of Civil Society, and a number of other advisory and expert bodies which consist of active representatives of various civil society organizations. Investment in strengthening the structures for dialogue, development of national strategic programs supporting the development of civil society, establishment of standards for consultation with the public in creating new policies and providing a variety of financing models should guarantee the sustainability and irreversibility of reforms in the area of ​​cooperation between the state and civil society even after EU accession. In the context of a strong legislative change that all public authorities are expected to go through, EU Council warned about the importance of recognizing benefits of cooperation with civil society as a source of quick and free expertise based on many years of experience. It will be interesting to observe how will European citizens' initiative  function in Croatia. The Initiative is a new innovation of Lisbon Treaty, complementary to the efforts of the EESC and the European Commission in structuring social and civil dialogue with civil society organizations.
Future members of the EESC among civil society organizations highlighted the importance of establishing good communication model with key authorities and networks of civil society organizations in order to provide timely and quality feedback on all important developments in the work of the EESC and European public policies in general. 
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