The European Policy Institute – Skopje on 19 December 2016 in the EU Info Centre in Skopje presented the Western Balkan 6 Advocacy Group and the Guidelines for Advocacy Strategy for the EU Integration of the Western Balkans. The WB6 AG aims at joint advocacy for the EU integration of the Western Balkan countries.
Michal Vit from the Europeum Institute for European Policy from Prague, Zaneta Trajkoska from the Institute for Communication Studies from Skopje and Malinka Ristevska Jordanova, EPI’s director were panelists at the event.
After the introductory speech by Malinka Ristevska Jordanova, Michal Vit has explained the development of ASWB and the V4 role. Zaneta Trajkoska was speaking about the national context and gave several advocacy proposals.
Former and current MFA representatives complemented the discussion. Multiple comments were made on the idea and possible upcoming opportunities were pointed out:
- The 2019 EP elections which would be a good target for agenda setting advocacy;
- The ASWB/WB6 should work on including all CSO members in the WB to voice out the same advocacy messages;
- Post-Brexit period can be an opportunity to the WB countries to resurrect EU dream, but WB should abandon nationalistic discourse.
- Stress out that partnerships between public administrations in the WB countries is necessary.
- Pointing out that the EU is somewhat responsible for the backsliding in the WB and we should work together to overcome.
- Balkan is a part of the solution, best seen in the migration crisis, which was managed by the Balkan countries.
- We should advocate the gains from entering the EU in the WB public, the rational choice of the WB public is to enter the EU.
The WB6 AG was initiated by four organizations from the Western Balkans, in partnership with four organizations from the Visegrad Group, which jointly developed the Advocacy Strategy for the EU Integration of the Western Balkans – Guidelines as a basis for the future work of the WB6 AG.
WB6 AG members are:
- ● Albania Institute for International Studies (AIIS) – Albania;
- ● Foreign Policy Initiative BH (FPI-BH) – Bosnia and Herzegovina;
- ● Kosovo Civil Society Foundation (KCSF) – Kosovo;
- ● European Policy Institute (EPI) – Skopje – Macedonia;
- ● European Movement in Montenegro (EMisM) – Montenegro;
- ● European Movement in Serbia (EMinS) – Serbia.
Four organizations from the Visegrad Group (V4) take part in the WB6 AG: Europeum Institute for European Policy from the Czech Republic, CEU – Center for European Neighbourhood Studies from Hungary, Centre for Eastern Studies from Poland and Slovak Foreign Policy Association from Slovakia.
WB6 AG was established in Belgrade on September 29th and a memorandum of cooperation was signed on 28th November 2016, in Brussels.