TIRANA – Western Balkans’ citizens believe civil society organizations can play a critical role in the actions of governments, better than media or parliaments, says Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), Majlinda Bregu, at the 7th Western Balkans Civil Society forum.
Deputy Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania Sokol Dedja stressed that regional cooperation is not only the intergovernmental cooperation but also between societies.
“Democracy legitimacy ensured only through the participation of civil society: we are committed to genuine involvement of CSOs to ensure popular support to reforms and make sure these reforms are sustainable.”
President of the European Economic and Social Committee Luka Jahier stressed the important role of civil society in promoting reconciliation, which is needed along with peace and stability for the region to develop in terms of prosperity and sustainable socio-economic development.
“I believe that it is important to integrate the Western Balkans into the EU as soon as possible. Organised Civil Society from the region and EU should have a prominent role in promoting this process, as an important controlling mechanism guaranteeing the quality of its end result”, he underlines.
Director for Western Europe Western Balkans and Turkey at the European External Action Service (EEAS) Angelina Eichhorst expressed her full support to civil society organisations, reiterating that they “are the key to fostering stronger commitment towards a change in political culture”.
President of EU EESC Diversity Europe Group Arno Metzler considers the role of civil society in the promotion of cooperation between the EU Member States and reconciliation in the Western Balkans permanent and very important.
7th Western Balkans Civil Society Forum in Tirana brings together 150 representatives of civil society organisations promoting regional cooperation.