News > European Movement Event Report “Civil Society and Beyond: A Joint Dialogue on the European Path”

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  • 13th April 2016 - 13:05 GMT
EU Enlargement

European Movement Event Report “Civil Society and Beyond: A Joint Dialogue on the European Path”

In light of European Commission President Juncker’s statement that there will be no further EU enlargement in the next five years, and the phenomenon of so called “reforms fatigue” in the region, the European Movement International held a congress to highlight ongoing cooperation between the EU and candidate countries, as well as to encourage further reforms in the process by DG NEAR.

The Congress, organised by the European Movement International and the European Movement in Serbia, in partnership with TACSO and the Serbian European Integration Office, draws on previous knowledge and expe-rience gained through previous Congresses (in 2009, 2011, 2013) and ongoing work carried out by the Europe-an Movement network. The Congress attracted many influential speakers and high level participants involved in the process.

There are a number of key challenges facing the Western Balkans and Turkey: economic governance and competitiveness; rule of law; the proper functioning of institutions guaranteeing democracy; fundamental rights; and dealing with the oftentimes painful legacy of the past. These challenges are central to the Copenhagen criteria and the conditionality of the Stabilisation and Association process. The EU aspirations of the Western Balkan countries and Turkey are made even more difficult when one bears in mind the overall state of European politics, sentiments toward enlargement in EU countries and the refugee crisis, which is an everyday reality in the region.

As much as accession depends on the internal commitment and willingness to find the strength to undergo policy reforms, it also depends on the revitalisation of the European Union and the European project itself, which is now facing a vote of no confidence in many areas. The Western Balkans and Turkey, while acknowl-edging the “5 year pause”, seem determined not to slow down the pace of accession and to press ahead with the reform process. This goes hand in hand with the enlargement principle adopted by the European Parliament of “reforms before enlargement” and a commitment to foster joint cooperation with the EU Member States in order to address the challenges we face together these days.

The European Movement Congress tackled the above issues, but also aimed to create, among other things, networks and contacts between the EU and future Member States, and to foster regional cooperation on all levels, be it along social, economic, political, or cultural axes. This cannot be done solely via political and technical accession negotiation frameworks but implies a greater and more substantial involvement by different stakeholders in both EU and candidate and potential candidate countries.

Read the full event report here.
View our Storify here.
And take a look at the event photos here.
See further details from the event here.

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