How can civil society in South Eastern Europe participate more actively in the decision-making processes?
This was the central topic of discussion at the Prospex institute on 22 June with guest speaker and new Board Member Dr. Fedor Černe, Secretary at the Ministry of Infrastructure of Slovenia.
Dr. Černe shared his views on the historical challenges and the future opportunities for active stakeholder engagement on the political and economic issues of the region. In his presentation, Dr. Černe drew comparisons between the historical developments of the countries in the region and the different roles civil society organisations played in shaping them. He emphasised the ongoing democratisation process in South Eastern Europe and the efforts made by governments to build fruitful cooperation with NGOs. Dr. Černe also explored the challenges caused by a decline in the motivation of citizens to participate in decision-making largely due to a reduced trust in public institutions and the low priority given to regular public consultations.
Looking to the future, Dr. Černe envisaged two main drivers that could bolster participatory mechanisms in the region. The process of building the European Union for both the current Member States and Candidate Countries encourages stakeholder engagement as does the growing awareness in the region that sustainable and long-lasting agreements require the engagement and commitment of a wide variety of different actors and opinions.
Dr. Černe and the participants then discussed the possible role of the Prospex Institute as a facilitator of increased stakeholder engagement in the policy-making, business and civil society discussions in Eastern European countries.