After four Visegrad countries entered the EU in 2004, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia cooperate to supplement each other in supporting both the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership countries to bring them closer to the EU and to the European values. This is also what the Central European think-tanks call on for years. We believe that in order to facilitate the transition period, a close cooperation between NGOs, CSOs and think-tanks with the public administration is essential on the road to the EU. The Visegrád Fund have opened a window of opportunity to strengthen such cooperation with the experiences taken from the V4 countries.
The idea of the project is to present to a broad spectrum of NGOs, CSOs and think-tanks from the Western Balkans of the V4 counterparts’ experience in their cooperation with the public administration with the focus on European integration and how it has been continued after the accession. The project aims to bring together the representatives of NGOs, CSOs and think-tanks from all Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia and to introduce to them the best practices from such cooperation in the Visegrád countries.
At the first phase of the project the representatives of NGOs, CSOs and think-tanks would pay study visits to the Visegrád capitals. During the visits they would participate in the meetings with their counterparts from the Visegrád countries and with the representatives of those institutions of the public administration from the V4 that have played a major role in the European integration process. The aim of this phase is to present how the public administration in the Visegrád countries has used the resources of NGOs, CSOs and think-tanks in order to comply with the EU policies.
The second phase of the initiative would consist of series of workshops in the Western Balkan capitals with the participation of the NGOs, CSOs, think-tanks and the representatives of these countries’ public administration. The aim of this stage is to utilize the knowledge from the first phase of the project and to find out how far the Visegrád experiences is suitable and applicable in the Western Balkan countries and what best practices could be used in order to strengthen the role of the local NGOs, CSOs and think-tanks in assisting the public administration on these countries’ way to the EU.
The project would include representatives from a few NGOs, CSOs and think-tanks from each Western Balkan state. Throughout the project they would also share among themselves their observations on cooperation with public administration in their countries. Therefore one of the aims of the project is also to build a network between NGOs, CSOs and think-tanks in the Western Balkans. We believe in the future it would facilitate the cooperation between them in order to support and mobilize their governments in the tasks aimed at closer interaction with the EU.
The outcome of the project would include a publication in the form of a report to be presented during a concluding seminar in one of the Western Balkans’ capitals, with the participation of diplomats and public administration representatives from all courtiers of the region. A joint publication in the form of a policy report of the representatives of NGOs, CSOs, think-tanks from the Western Balkans will include recommendations to their public administration. The report will be prepared with participation of the V4 counterparts.