PROF. DULEVSKI: CIVIL DIALOGUE CAN ACCELERATE THE ACCESSION OF THE WESTERN BALKAN COUNTRIES TO THE EU
The Bulgarian Economic and Social Council strongly supports the process of rapprochement and accession of the Western Balkan countries to the EU. It is necessary for the institutions of organised civil society in these countries to work closely together to gain synergies in their efforts to accelerate their accession, said Prof. Lalko Dulevski, Ph.D. - President of the Economic and Social Council, at a conference on the Western Balkans: A clear roadmap for progress at the National Assembly. The conference was organised by the European Economic and Social Committee. Bulgarian Commissioner Maria Gabriel, Deputy Chairperson of the National Assembly Christian Vigenin, MEPs, ambassadors, representatives of the EESC and citizens' organizations from Northern Macedonia, Albania, Serbia and Montenegro took part in the forum.
Prof. Dulevski recalled that during Bulgaria's Presidency of the EU Council in 2018 the Sofia Declaration stated the importance of civil society in the processes of democratization. Prof. Dulevski suggested that a new meeting of organised civil society representatives from the Western Balkans should be organized in Sofia next year to outline concrete steps for the exchange of good practices and for cohesion. The President of the Bulgarian ESC briefed the participants in the conference about the history and experience of the Bulgarian institution of organised civil dialogue and noted that successful activity in Bulgaria is due to three factors: the political will and understanding of the importance of the ESC and the civil dialogue, the differentiation of social from civil dialogue, and the continuous cooperation with the EESC. He emphasised that the model chosen by Bulgaria for institutionalising civil dialogue is similar to that of the EESC, but even more democratic in terms of the decision-making and adoption procedures of ESC acts. Prof. Dulevski stressed that the EESC is indebted to the Western Balkans and must find a way to support the establishment and development of civil dialogue institutions, he concluded.
Representatives of the social partners - members of the ESC also took part in the forum. The forum was opened by Dilyana Slavova, a member of ESC and the EESC and chairman of the EESC's section on international activities. Dilyana Slavova also emphasized the role of the Bulgarian ESC in the development of the dialogue between the civil organizations from the countries in the Western Balkans and confirmed that the accession of these countries to the EU is a priority of the EESC's activity.