We invite you to participate in the Virtual Shadow EU – Western Balkans Summit, via a moderated Zoom discussion. The Shadow Summit will be held on Tuesday 5 May / 2020 at 12:00 (CET) on the topic of Western Balkans and EU enlargement, protection of fundamental rights and enhancement of their protection mechanism within the EU.

The speakers are: Emina Bošnjak, Sarajevo Open Centre (B&H), Zoran Ivančić, Center for Advocating Civic Interests (Foundation CPI) (B&H), Sonja Stojanović Gajić – Member of the Steering Committee of Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, Representative of the EU-Serbia Joint Consultative Committee (Serbia), Ivan Đurić, Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Serbia), Vildan Drpljanin, Macedonian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights (North Macedonia), Agon Maliqi, Sbunker (Kosovo), Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Gordan Bosanac, CROSOL – Croatian Platform for International Citizen Solidarity and Vesna Teršelič, Documenta (Croatia). We expect to get confirmation from more speakers from Montenegro and Albania. The discussion will be moderated by journalist, Ivana Dragicevic.

On behalf of Forum 2020, the discussion is organized by Documenta and CROSOL.

To participate and follow the discussion, please register at the link.

After the registration you will receive an email confirmation and additional info.

Negotiations with candidate countries from the Western Balkans are progressing slowly and arduously, and even some member states have not presented themselves as good examples of the rule of law. Reports point to worrisome trends regarding the rule of law in many countries, which are further exacerbated  by different political and institutional solutions in light of the current state of emergency and measures introduced to contain the pandemic.

The European Parliament has in January adopted a “Resolution on a proposal calling on the Council to determine, pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Treaty on European Union, the existence of a clear risk of a serious breach by Hungary of the values on which the Union is founded”, while in March a law was passed in Hungary which enables governing by decrees without time constraint or any efficient constitutional control. This opens and compounds a new set of issues related to media freedoms, digital rights and privacy, as well as solidarity between EU member states.

After the European Parliament elections, EU’s governing bodies have new officials in key positions. But this year the new Multiannual Financial Framework will be adopted, which will define the EU’s expenditure, and especially programmes which serve to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

As the pandemic has fundamentally changed and curtailed various processes, putting a large proportion of global population in quarantine, so is the Croatian presidency of the EU Council significantly affected by this situations, and many opportunities mapped by the government and civil society organisations are lost. However, we strongly believe that this situation should not discourage civil society from acting and warning about issues which it finds relevant, especially because times of crisis often establish new trends which will determine the future of the EU and the world.

Since we cannot hold a conference, press conference or a protest, we want to present the opinions and demands of colleagues from civil society organizations from the Western Balkans. We will also send out a joint declaration to the media, which you can still sign via the link.

We also hope that the performance that will also take place during the Summit on Wednesday afternoon will contribute to the public visibility of our requests.

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