Forum confirms call for European future for Western Balkans

Forum confirms call for European future for Western Balkans

The European prospects of the Western Balkans were reaffirmed at the third Western Balkans Civil Society Forum, held in Brussels on May 18 and 29 2010, a media statement said.The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hosted the forum, which saw calls for better implementation of legislation adopted in the Western Balkans to bring it closer to EU acquis.Irini Pari, EESC Vice-President, Michael Leigh, Director General of DG Enlargement of the European Commission and Aleksandar Andrija Pejovi?, ambassador and head of mission of Montenegro to the EU, were among the key figures taking part, the media statement said.Pari underlined that the conclusions adopted during the Forum "would serve as a roadmap for the future cooperation of the EESC with civil society partners from the Western Balkans".Leigh said that "DG Enlargmenent would take full consideration of the recommendations put forward by participants, especially those concerning the fine tuning of the Civil Society Facility."The participants focused on the implementation of economic and social rights, the statement said.They called on governments to fully respect workers rights and to allocate more means to implement the relevant legislation. They asked the European Agency for Fundamental Rights to extend its membership to all EU candidate and potential candidate countries of the region.They also advocated an active involvement of civil society organisations of the region in the monitoring of the future treaty, establishing a transport Community between the EU and the Western Balkans, especially through the Social Forum.The EESC, representing the economic and social components of organised civil society in the European Union (EU), organised the event with the support of the European Commission, the statement said.The forum brought together 150 participants, including representatives of Western Balkans civil society organisations, EESC members, European and international socio-professional organisations, European NGOs, representatives of the Governments of the Western Balkans, diplomats, EU institutions and international organisations.The third Western Balkans Civil Society Forum was part of a broader effort to take forward the EU Stabilisation and Association Process in the region and to develop the EESC's ongoing cooperation with civil society organisations of the Western Balkans. A fourth forum will take place in 2012, the statement said.

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