Enlargement fatigue or Europe fatigue? Democratic backsliding or captured states? Migrant crisis or humanitarian crisis? The relationship of the Balkan countries with other European countries has always been an indication of where Europe is heading and the way it sees itself and the world.
At a moment of existential crisis for the European project, of breakdown of solidarity and of undermining of fundamental rights and democracy in many countries, it is vital to change the narrative, to put relations between citizens and civil society throughout Europe at the core of a renewed vision for the future of the continent.
On the occasion of the 3rd intergovernmental summit of Western Balkans and EU countries to be held in Paris on the 4th July 2016, we invite applications from civil society actors to participate in the Civil Society Forum to work towards this new vision of togetherness.
European Alternatives, ERSTE Foundation, the European Fund for the Balkans, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation and Citizens for Europe are coming together to organize a 2-day Civil Society Forum in Paris, as a follow up to the Civil Society Forum held in Vienna in August 2015, and in Novi Sad and Belgrade in May 2016. The aim is to establish an ongoing process of civil society dialogue and collaboration across the Western Balkans and the EU.
In order to establish an ongoing dialogue, the website of Citizens for Europe will be used to collect positions, proposals and events from civil society actors. No matter if you want to participate in the forum or not, you are invited to share your ideas online until 1 July. Your positions will be collected and fed into the debates in Paris.
The Forum will work on four main policy areas which have been identified as priorities for the Western Balkans and are likely to be discussed by political leaders: migration, climate change and green growth, bilateral disputes and youth cooperation. We also want to address transversal issues of democratic governance, the role of civil society and respect of fundamental rights. We invite you to apply, indicating your activities and experiences in these areas. The Forum is also open to other topics, so in the application form you are welcome to make suggestions on issues you would like to discuss.
The two days of activities will be structured around workshops, dialogue with European and national parliamentarians, cultural activities and an open public citizen’s summit on European solidarity.
We can offer a limited number of full cost bursaries to attend the Forum. In the application form, please indicate if you would like to apply for this bursary, or if you are able to cover your own travel to and accommodation in Paris.
For any questions, please contact Djurdja Banicevic: email@example.com