18 Jul National Convent of the European Union presented in Brussels

During the study visit in June, 2016 of the National Convent of European Union (NCEU) to the EU institutions within the project TACSO People2People “Role of Civil Society in Serbia: Negotiations of accession to the EU – contribution to the rule of law and human rights”, several meetings were held in the preceding period. NCEU representatives met with representatives of COELA from Slovenia and Ireland, followed by representatives of DG Near, DG Home Affairs, as well as representatives of the European Parliament which, among others, presented its work.

NCEU was presented to the European institutions during working visit by coordinator Nataša Dragojlović, Bojana Selaković from Civic Initiatives, Sara Dereta from Policy Center, coordinators for chapters 23 and 24 Milan Antonijević from YUCOM and Sonja Stojanović Gajić from the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, as well as Ivan Knežević and Ivana Lazarević from the European movement in Serbia.

The aim of the visit was the presentation of work of the National Convent to the European institutions, as a unique platform and the consultative mechanism in the region for the participation of civil society in the process of joining the European Union. All the representatives of NCEU also conveyed a strong message on the need to accelerate the process of Serbia’s accession to the EU, insisting on opening chapters 23 and 24 as soon as possible.

The visit ended with a meeting with the representatives and experts of the Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union, which are directly involved in the accession process under different chapters.

The conclusion of all meetings is that the role of civil society in the process of Serbia’s European integration is of great importance, especially in view of the continuing democratization of society, but also opens up new opportunities for cooperation with other actors in the European Union. Also, civil society organizations in Serbia should take advantage of the negotiation process and consider it as a space for accomplishing strong influence on the further transformation of Serbian society, in terms of strengthening the role of independent bodies, institutions and the rule of law, and to achieve consensus on the key achievements of democracy.

All the participating parties have expressed optimism about the continuation of the negotiation process.