Although populistic forces today claim that the European Union has lost its appeal and is obsolete amid the emergence of Brexit – our future does not have to be bleak. On the contrary, a European Union that is renewed, democratically-reformed and committed to protecting human rights, the rule of law and sustainable development can be a clear and resounding response to the crisis and instability of the international global order. The EU continues to be the most successful and prosperous international organization in the world, with a potential for inclusion of new members.

Western Balkans countries are an integral part of Europe, with which they share European common values, history and future, and should have an open pathway to formally joining the European family. The EU has shown that through its expansion, it can, to a certain extent, stabilize societies that are shaken by lack of rule of law, under-developed economies and ineffective systems of human rights protection. That is why, after a seven-year hiatus, the EU must return to enlargement policies in the Western Balkans with renewed vigour. While achieving that, it should not agree to compromises of close cooperation with those political leaders who blatantly disregard democratic values. It should instead make efforts to ensure that the democratization process of potential member states takes place through all actors that are committed to the values of the EU.

The Western Balkan shadow summit will bring together CSOs across the WB and EU. The goal of this summit is to discuss the lessons learned from previous enlargement phases, but also to see how the EU can benefit from WB in order to set out a path for Western Balkans countries to become member states in the future. Why would the EU care? What do we have in common? How could we get involved? What can we do without the EU if the EU doesn’t care?  Discussions will result in a common declaration by civil society organizations from the Western Balkans, demanding a clear and unequivocal high-level political support for the continuation of the enlargement process. If no such consensus can be reached, Western Balkans countries will need to continue their democratization efforts without EU.

Agenda and registration form will be available in April.

For more information, please contact crosol@crosol.hr or follow this link:  https://crosol.hr/eupresidency/en/with-or-without-eu/ 

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