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Regional Workshop Tracking Progress Towards Sustainable State – Civil Society Cooperation in the EU Accession Process

A regional workshop aimed at establishing cooperation between state bodies of Southeast European countries in monitoring the progress of creating environment conducive to the development of civil society was organized by the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs and the MFEA Centre of Excellence and held 22 November at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

Creating more enabling environment for civil society development requires investment in empowering civil society organisations to be effective and accountable actors, as well as in building capacities of government bodies and policy makers to develop meaningful and constructive dialogue with civil society. Improving state-civil society relations is a necessary prerequisite for the sustainability and irreversibility of reforms undertaken in the European Union accession process. Following a number of activities undertaken in past years to establish better cooperation among government bodies from South East Europe in the area of civil society development, Croatian Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs and Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs - Centre for Excellence organized the regional workshop Tracking progress towards sustainable state-civil society cooperation in the EU accession process.
This event was part of the follow-up activities initiated during the Regional meeting of States institutions responsible for relations with civil society organisations, held in Zadar, Croatia in September 2012, as well as at the Conference on Relations between Public Administration Bodies and Civil Society Organizations, held in Ankara, Turkey in April 2013. In addition to representatives of State bodies responsible for cooperation with civil society organisations, the workshop gathered several international CSO experts and representatives of international organizations/donor agencies.
The goal of the workshop was to enhance cooperation between South-East European State institutions in effective tracking of progress in creating enabling environment for civil society development. In view of the European Commission - DG Enlargement draft Guidelines for support to civil society in the enlargement countries 2014-2020, but also having in mind principles set in The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe's engagement with Civil Society in External Actions, the workshop provided opportunity for discussion on key indicators on the basis of which regular self-assessment of progress in the cooperation of State institutions and civil society organisations might be implemented, as precondition for sustainable reforms countries in the region have to undertake on their way to the European Union.
Assistant Minister Vesna Batistić Kos delivered and address in which she said that “crucial moment in the transformation of relations between the government sector and CSOs took place during Croatia’s EU accession.”
CSOs are an important factor in the strengthening of regional cooperation, which is one of Croatia’s main foreign policy goals and a priority of the development cooperation policy, precisely because Croatia can share its expert know-how in the field of civil society development with the countries in the region.
Summary report with key challenges and recommendations has been prepared and shared with participants. The full report is available here.
Public administration bodies
National foundation
Croatian companies’ donations
EU Tenders
Other donors