On May 30, the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN), supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD) and hosted at the German Marshall Fund (GMF) Brussels office, organized a policy workshop entitled, “Raising the Democratic Standards and Practice in Enlargement Countries: Defining Civil Society Acquis.”
The event was opened by Sir Michael Leigh, Senior Advisor, GMF Brussels and former Director General, DG Enlargement of the European Commission, and by Venera Hajrullahu, Executive Director, Kosovar Civil Society Foundation.
Tanja Hafner Ademi, Executive Director of BCSDN, and Nilda Bulain, Director, European Center for Non-profit Law, made the first public presentation of the Matrix for Monitoring of the Enabling Environment for civil society development. The matrix, developed by civil society experts and practitioners from 10 countries, defines principles and benchmarks in seven areas, and will serve as a monitoring mechanism for civil society organizations in setting the optimum standards for their operation. Discussion showed that the matrix was timely and could be an effective instrument to strengthening civil society development and promoting civil society as a value in enlargement countries.
The event served as the forum for initial stakeholder feedback to the presentation of the matrix, available here. Following on the results from the event, the development of indicators is underway. The next expert meeting will be convened in July in Skopje, and further stakeholder consultation will continue. The matrix will ultimately be made into, and promoted as, an advocacy toolkit for civil society organizations.
Participants included representatives of the European Commission, European Parliament, European Economic and Social Committee, Regional Cooperation Council, and civil society organizations from Brussels, the Balkans and Turkey.