On Tuesday 1 April, the round table ‘The social dimension of EU Enlargement’ organized by the IRIS Network, SOLIDAR, ASB South East Europe (SEE) and FEPS took place in the European Parliament involving MEPs Knut Fleckenstein, Maria Eleni Koppa and Marino Baldini and representatives of DGs Employment and Social Affairs and Enlargement. The main questions for the debate concerned the latest developments since the adoption of the EP resolution on enlargement (based on the report of MEP Maria Eleni Koppa) in 2013 which highlighted the neglect of the social dimension of the EU enlargement process.
Participants from the IRIS Network highlighted measures that are needed to be put in place, in order to strengthen the social dimension of the EU Enlargement process and to enhance the socio-economic transformation of candidate countries. And good practices were presented that showcase how civil society organizations are working to advance social cohesion and active inclusion in the Balkan. In addition, the IRIS Network’s book “Comparative Analysis of the Role of Civil Society in Providing Social Welfare Services in the Western Balkans” was presented.
The comparative analysis presents the legal and institutional framework for the provision of social service by civil society organisations in the Western Balkans and their role in this field. The situation in each country is described in special chapters together with recommendations and examples of good practices. Partcipants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Kosovo and Serbia discussed the following general conclusions and recommendations outlined in the baseline study to:
- Establish systems of support for the NGO sector, coordinated with the work of line ministries in order to enable greater efficiency and long-term sustainability of the NGO sector.
- Build national systems of financing that can help to define the priorities for the development of the NGO sector and its interactions with the public service sector.
- Strengthen the monitoring and policy making capacities of line ministries in order to support the development of the entire social protection system as well as NGOs providing social services.
- Implement concurrent advocacy work for the development of the NGO sector and also to introduce of a quality control system in both sectors.
In 2014 IRIS Network plans to continue working together with the SOLIDAR and other members and partners to enhance the socio-economic transformation of candidate countries, the revitalisation of socio-economic rights through chapters 23 and 24 and the Europeanisation of a strong social model.
*Article from http://www.solidar.org/The-social-dimension-of-EU.html