Kvinna till Kvinna and partner organisations from the Western Balkans finalise preparations for the consultations with EC DG Enlargement. (Directorate-General of the European Commission – responsible for the enlargement process of the European Union.) Meanwhile they met a representative of the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU in Brussels.
Picture: Meeting with Efraim Gomez and delegation from Western Balkans.
“Too many policies, strategies and papers and too little implementation” was the general conclusion of the twelve representatives of women’s Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Kvinna till Kvinna’s partners from five Balkan countries that were part of the initial meetings today.
As part of the advocacy work towards EU, Kvinna till Kvinna and partner organisations from the Western Balkans for five years in a row take part in the consultations between the EC DG Enlargement* and the Civil Society that are each year held in Brussels. The strengthened focus of Kvinna till Kvinna as a political partner to local women’s organisations combined with the increased presence and importance of EU in the region brings us back to Brussels this year again.
We all together met to discuss and support each other and to better coordinate our work related to acknowledgment and inclusion of women’s rights by EU and improved mainstreaming of gender equality issues in the EU country progress reports.
Many issues are common for all the countries and one of them is the numerous existing policies, strategies and papers – and the huge implementation gap. Partners’ representatives will again highlight the main concerns at the general consultations with the EC Enlargement as well as during bilateral meetings organised with each country, although there is a dose of skepticism about EU openness and readiness to accept all messages and critics highlighted by the local civil society organisations.
The late afternoon was reserved for a meeting with Efraim Gomez, First Secretary (Western Balkans) to the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU who welcomed the group at his office in Brussels. Discussion was very much alive focusing mainly on the process and implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the Western Balkan countries. Mr. Gomez pointed out that there is a solid perspective to include the UNSCR 1325 in the country policies, although Gender policy and EU Enlargement do still not go hand in hand not even at the highest EU levels. Additional information and remarks on the country processes were provided by the group. The meeting with Efraim Gomez was assessed positive and very much appreciated!
Today, we are going to the European Parliament! Keep you posted,
/Emilija Dimoska and Maja Stajcic
* The Directorate-General for the Enlargement of the EU covers Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia (where Kvinna till Kvinna has partner organisations – now visiting Brussels) and Croatia (joining the EU this summer), Turkey and Iceland.