EU TACSO 3 project organized a series of seven on-line consultation meetings to present and seek comments to the draft version of the Guidelines for EU Support to Civil Society in the Enlargement Region for the period 2021-2027. Consultations were held between Monday, 22 February and Tuesday, 2 March, 2021 and included seven IPA Beneficiaries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the events were held on-line. Over 300 representatives of civil society, public authorities, donors and other stakeholders took part in the presentation of the Guidelines document and provided feedback during the discussion. The comments included suggestions on how to improve the definition of civil society used in the documents, strengthening the importance of grass-root organizations and involvement of civil society at the local level, suggestions on improving specific indicators in measuring progress on basic freedoms and civil society inclusion in consultation and policy-making processes.
The Guidelines explain how the EU will support civil society in the Enlargement region in the period of 2021 -2027, in particular through its Civil Society Facility (CSF). It is intended for a three-fold audience: for EU staff; policy-makers and officials in 7 IPA Beneficiaries and civil society in the region. The current Guidelines are based on the revision and updating of the Guidelines that have already been in place and used in the period 2014 – 2020. The consultation process started in December 2020, with the publication of the first draft Guidelines and a call for written inputs. Till mid-January 2021, 16 contributions from organizations and individuals were received. The consultation process remains open till Friday, 12 March, 2021 for any interested party to submit written comments to email@example.com. All of the comments and feedback received will be reviewed and considered in the final revision of the Guidelines document. It is expected that the final Guidelines document will be launched at a regional event held later in April 2021.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.