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A Roundtable Discussion “Rule of Law in the Western Balkans: Improving the conditionality mechanism of the chapters 23 and 24 of the EU enlargement negotiations” in Brussels (May 18th, 2016)

The Open Society European Policy Institute in close cooperation with the European Fund for the Balkans is organising the roundtable discussion “Rule of Law in the Western Balkans: Improving the conditionality mechanism of the chapters 23 and 24 of the EU enlargement negotiations” which will be held on May 18th, 2016 in Brussels at the premises of the Open Society European Policy Institute (12.00 pm to 14.00 pm).

The meeting will be an opportunity for the experts on EU Enlargement from the Brussels-based organisations and guests from the European Parliament to get engaged in a direct discussion with the rule of law experts from Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia focusing on assessment of the progress under the chapters 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights) and 24 (Justice, Freedom and Security). The focus would also be on the political criteria for EU accession such as free and fair elections, media freedom, the interplay between these two and the conditionality mechanisms enshrined in the Acquis.

Srdjan Cvijic (Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society European Policy Institute) and Igor Bandovic (Senior Programme Manager for the European Fund for the Balkans) will present the overview European Fund for the Balkans Think and Link Regional Policy Programme – Policy Research Organisations and Its Influence on the Decision Making Process in the Western Balkans.

The short presentations on the given subject by Bojan Elek (Belgrade Centre for Security Policy), Aleksandar Jovanoski  (European Policy Institute Skopje) and Marko Sosic (Institut Alternativa), who are previous or current participants of the EFB Think and Link Regional Policy Programme, will be an introduction to the discussion with their Brussels counterparts.

The three experts from the Western Balkans are working jointly on the current Think and Link supported project for 2016 – “Monitoring and Evaluating the Rule of Law in the Western Balkans (MERLIN WB).

The objective of the project is to set up a regional coordinative mechanism for democracy and rule of law mirrored through the implementation of Chapter 23 – Judiciary and Fundamental Rights and Chapter 24 – Justice, Freedom and Security in Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. The project lead is the  European Policy Institute (EPI) – Skopje, and the partners are: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, Institute Alternativa – Podgorica and GONG – Croatia.