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Civil Society Connecting the EU and Neighbouring Countries


29 Sep 2008


Central Europe
Social Europe & Jobs

3 Collaboration spaces for civil society development beyond EU borders
29-30 September 2008, Zadar, Croatia

European Citizen Action Service jointly with the National Foundation for Civil Society Development and Impact ? European Centre for Cross-Sector Partnership is organising an international conference in Zadar, Croatia, which will focus on the development of civil society organisations in the Western Balkans and Eastern European countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy. [1][1]

The conference will gather around 100 civil society representatives from EU and neighbouring countries, donors active in the region as well as officials from national governments.

The event is a follow up to conferences held in Brussels in November 2007 and in Ljubljana in April this year that resulted in the Ljubljana declaration, signed by a 118 NGOs. The declaration outlines a set of 10 recommendations to the EU and national governments.

This conference is not yet more European rhetoric. It is about creating a toolbox for the triangle of NGOs, the EU and national governments not just to allow for freedom of association but to build a sustainable civil society in the Region up to European standards. This is the route to underpin deep social change and democratic reform. How can partnership be made to work? How can information reach the unreached so citizens become engaged? What models do governments have to support civil society? How to support local community development? Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from the region and some of the best experts on the state of the art in Europe are expected to come up with the answers and put them together in an action plan.

The CSOs participating in the process have drafted national reports on the situation of the triangular relation (EU? National Governments ? CSOs) in their respective countries and a publication compiling all of these will be presented at the conference.

The main aim of the conference is to start a process of ?national hearings? which should articulate realistic and comprehensive national strategies, to take the process further and work towards implementing the recommendations in the declaration. An Action Plan, a set of recommendations to civil society, the EU and national governments in the Region on a pro-active implementing strategy should emerge from the process.

For further information and the programme of the conference see here or contact

Tony Venables
Director ECAS, Brussels

Cvjetana Plavsa-Matic
Director, NFCSD, Zagreb