The 9th Western Balkans Civil Society Forum will be held in Thessaloniki on October 19-20.
It will bring together approximately 100 participants, including a broad range of civil society representatives from the EU and the Western Balkans, as well as representatives of EU institutions, international organisations and regional governments.
Key topics and considerations in the agenda include:
– The state of democracy in Southeast Europe: civil society ‘health test’ on the road to EU enlargement
– 2023 European Year of Skills: Lifelong skills development in Southeast Europe
– Education, Skills and the Youth Guarantee in the Western Balkans
– Continuing training, up-skilling and re-skilling in the Western Balkan
– Civil society’s contribution to the implementation of the Green Agenda and sustainable development of Southeast Europe
The forum is organized by the European Economic & Social Committee (EESC), in cooperation with the European Training Foundation (ETF), the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop).
It is taking place again in Thessaloniki 20 years after the EU-Western Balkans Summit of June 21, 2003, which marked a historic step in the direction of furthering the objectives of European integration and envisioning the EU’s potential enlargement in the Western Balkans.
Enlargement Candidate Members (ECMs) will be selected by the end of the year, and will begin their advisory work as of 2024. A first dedicated EESC plenary session is foreseen for July 2024.
Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs George Gerapetritis, President of the European Economic & Social Committee Oliver Ropke, Vice-President of the European Commission for Democracy & Demography Dubravka Suica, and Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council Majlinda Bregu are among those invited.
For more information, see here