THE CITIZENS' PACT FOR SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE

 

Adresa: Maksima Gorkog 5/II/14, Novi Sad,  Serbia, 21000
Telefon: +381 21 6613 089
Web adresa: http://www.citizenspact.org/new/


Ciljevi/Misija

The Citizens' Pact for South Eastern Europe (CP) is a network of NGOs and municipalities throughout SEE, aiming to contribute to the development of the civil society and stability in South Eastern Europe, through strengthening of cross-border co-operation and partner relations among local governments and non governmental organizations.

The Citizens' Pact was founded in response to the signing of the Stability Pact Sarajevo, July 1999. Many civic organizations welcomed the Stability Pact but believed it focuses too much on the governmental level. To counterbalance this, several activists from SEE founded the Citizens' Pact in July 2000 as a new platform through which people from SEE can meet, exchange ideas, develop projects and get their voices heard.

The Inter Church Peace Council (IKV, The Hague, The Netherlands) has actively promoted and supported the birth of the Citizens' Pact.

The International Development Agencies NOVIB and Hivos (The Netherlands) are financially supporting the CP network till June 2004.

Regional co-operation serves to integrate South East Europe into the European regional institutions on both a civic and governmental level. The ideals of peace, democracy and tolerance are promoted as an alternative to nationalism and xenophobia, engaging citizens in conflict resolution and prevention.

The CP network members are municipalities and NGOs from 9 countries and regions in SEE. Presently, the network has 117 members, 23 municipalities and 94 NGOs from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro.

Aktivnosti/Projekti

Active members, organizations and municipalities, are the heart of the Citizens' Pact. Without them the CP cannot reach its goals and would not have a reason to exist. The activities of members, their attitude towards regional cooperation, their alertness to political developments, and their knowledge about local situations are all essential for the well functioning of the CP.

The CP has a few tools to support members in their roles, generating projects that are creating connections on a cross-regional basis to promote "Stability from Below".

Cooperation between municipalities and NGO's is especially valued, because it is a powerful tool in narrowing the gap between authorities and citizens, and a unique feature of the Citizens' Pact to have the two sectors in one network.

In the past three years, 32 cross border cooperation projects were implemented by the CP members with a big variety of different topics which is in keeping with the membership structure, where NGOs from all fields of interest and work are accepted and act together with local authorities.

These projects were in one or more of the following areas:

- democratization

- community building

- capacity building of organizations and institutions

- harmonization of inter-ethnic relations

- reconciliation

- active citizenship

CP Campaigns:
The Visa Abolishment Campaign with the aim to enable the abolishment of visas within South Eastern Europe and the liberalization/abolishment of the visa regime based on the Schengen Treaty.

Campaign for the establishment of series of "Protocols on interethnic tolerance" with the long term objective to create an atmosphere of inter-ethnic tolerance in local communities of the region and in the region as a whole.
Citizen participation in local governance with the aim to promote the active citizenship, and especially participation through development of new initiatives in local communities and creating links among existing ones in the region.

CP network of municipalities

During these three years, 9 municipality meetings were organized. A network of 23 member municipalities was extended by participation of significant number of other interested municipalities from the region and EU.

How can your organisation or municipality join us?
Membership is open to NGO's and municipalities from all countries in SEE.
Of course, new members subscribe to the objectives of the CP and the CP statement of intent.

We have defined a couple of criteria for new members.

New members:

  1. Must not be directly connected to political parties
  2. Must have a clean war crime record
  3. Must not be (have been) involved in corruption activities

If all this applies to you, please look at our website for the membership application form, complete it and send it to us.

We will gladly welcome you and your initiatives to the Citizens' Pact.

Publikacije

ARTICLE ON SALZBURG SUMMIT

READER ON BEST PRACTICES OF SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS FOR RETURN IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

VC EXPERTS GROUP RESEARCH: LIBERALISATION OF VISA REGIME IN SEE

Primeri dobre prakse iz aktivnosti organizacije

Abolish visas

Right to freedom of movement is one of the basic human rights. It is impossible to establish stable and open society without free movement of people, flow of information and idea.

No communication - no reforms; no reforms - do democracy; no democracy - no stability. There is no civil society without active participation of citizens.

Let's abolish visas!

The Citizens’ Pact for South Eastern Europe „Visa Abolishment Campaign“ was launched in year 2002, with the aim to abolish visas in the region and to liberalise the visa regime based on the Schengen Agreement. The new developments in the region, especially in the light of the different status of the SEE countries in relation to the EU are threatening with creation of a “Schengen wall” in South Eastern Europe, by isolating the Western Balkan countries from the rest of Europe. This conclusion is becoming a more and more urging factor for mobilising the relevant regional and EU actors. Based on the experience of the outcomes of the enlargement in year 2004, and the already announced new visa regimes which will be introduced in the near future in SEE by the new candidate countries, this “black hole of Europe” will stay out completely from a wider regional co-operation. Therefore the issue of visa regulations in SEE is remaining just as important as the question of visa facilitation from the EU side.
 All the countries within the region bear a heavy burden of communism and almost all of them have experienced war, directly or indirectly. They are all trying and they are all expected to build modern and functional political systems that will make them welcome in the European family. However, the existing inflexible visa regime between the countries of the region and the Schengen signatories is becoming a serious obstacle in forming new generations of politicians who will be capable of doing it. The data which shows that around two thirds of all the students in Serbia had not travelled outside the country is the best argument for acknowledging this problem. The nineties in Serbia were years of the worst possible war-mongering machinery and it is terrifying that it still dwells, in a way, in the heads of young, isolated people.

This obstacle is becoming even more dangerous the more the Schengen borders match those borders of the enlarged EU. Since Serbia and Montenegro (including Kosovo), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Albania will not join the Union in foreseeable time, in case the existing visa regimes remain equally strict, there is a certainty that a ghetto will be created within the region of Southeast Europe. The only stability we shall be talking about in that case, when we speak of South Eastern Europe, will be the stable source of conflicts. From January 1 next year, Bulgaria will be forced to introduce visas to the countries in the region. Last year almost 600 000 Macedonians vacationed there – next year this number will be very, very different. Very soon, Croatia will have d to make the same step, although the free visa regime between Croatia, BiH and SCG was of an extreme importance for the development of normal relations after the war.

We want this campaign to influence the governments in the region to work more and faster on reforms in order to meet the criteria for the white Schengen list, and at the same time we want to influence “Brussels” to show that the Schengen Agreement does not have to be the basis for a harmful isolation.

Visa liberalisation would be a logical progression for the Western Balkans countries in their SA processes. That feedback from Brussels would present a positive signal, as a visible result and motivating factor also for ordinary citizens in the region and that way mobilise a popular support for building EU member states in the Balkans

More about our campaign you can find on www.needvisa.net