Dear EU, where are the women?

EU is currently developing a new strategy for its cooperation with the Western Balkans and Turkey from 2014-2020. It is a bold but welcome move to commit to such a long time-period. There are also specific guidelines for EU support to civil society in the enlargement countries. In the guidelines, several things are mentioned that we see as positive trends; EU is “aiming for longer term contracts, recognising that capacity building and advocacy work requires time and resources; moving away from project based support to a more flexible approach that fosters partnership and coalition building; and doing more to reach out to grass-root organisations, in particular through re-granting and flexible support mechanisms to respond to their immediate needs.” This is very positive, and somehow very close to the Kvinna till Kvinna work-method.

But.

When the Directorate General for Enlargement is organising a “multi-country consultation workshop” with the purpose to “improve, with the contribution of all relevant stakeholders, the guiding principles of civil society support in the enlargement region for the period 2014-2020″, only ONE women’s organisation is invited. Out of 44 representatives that will participate, ONE represents a women’s organisation (from Croatia).

This is a serious problem, and again, this document risks becoming fine words unless women’s organisations are also consulted.

Dear EU, you should live as you learn.