On 3 September 2021, the EU TACSO 3 organized a consultation and validation meeting on the Assessment of the EU Civil Society Guidelines implementation for the period of 2020 for the stakeholders in Serbia.
The event was opened by Ekmel Çizmecioğlu, Programme Manager in the EU Delegation in Serbia and Tanja Hafner Ademi, EU TACSO 3 Team Leader. They welcomed more then 48 participants to the event representing CSOs, public institutions and international organizations. Tanja Hafner Ademi presented regional context and the main assessment findings, reflecting on the conducive environment for civil society, the mechanisms for cooperation between CSOs and public institutions and CSOs capacities in the Western Balkan region and Turkey. After the presentation of regional findings Bojana Selakovic, Balkan Civil Society Development Network Researcher presented in details findings of the assessment related to Serbia. According to the obtained data and assessment performed in 2020, CSOs in Serbia faced new challenges caused by further limitation of human rights and freedoms, narrowing of civic space as well as the consequences of COVID19 pandemic. Very difficult year however also showed potential of civil society to adapt to the new circumstances and quickly develop new skills and competences in IT domain, as well as to establish new networks and alliances in order to protect civic space.
During the debate moderated by EU TACSO 3 Country Coordinator, Jelena Pajovic Van Reenen, participants shared various cases that marked the developments important for civil society in 2020 – significant limitations to freedom of movement imposed to beneficiaries of CSO and vulnerable groups during declared Emergency state, raise of online activism and online petitions, the case “List” in which FATF standards were used to obtain private client data on CSOs and media outlets etc. The participants also discussed growing differentiation between the developed CSOs and the small grass-roots, growing examples of state pressure on civil society and activists, institutional changes brought by establishment of Ministry for Human and Minority Rights and Societal Dialogue as well as the financial environment including both public funds and individual and corporate donations. Opinions expressed during the meeting will be compiled and further integrated in the final EU CS Guidelines Assessment Report for 2020 for Serbia.
In the next days, EU TACSO 3 continues with the consultation caravan. The details of the other meetings are available here.
PPT presentation available here.