Technical Aspects of the EU Accession Process: Improving the Knowledge Base on Scope and Opportunities for Civil Society Involvement

Date: 20-21.11.2014
Place: Podgorica, Montenegro
Organizer: ECRAN Secretariat with EC TAIEX Unit

Starting in October 2013, the NGOs Environment and Climate Forum (ECF) is part of the ECRAN project, covering environment and climate policy areas. Following the call for interest published in January 2014, in total 21 NGOs were selected for participation in the ECF. Capacity development and improvement of knowledge base of the civil society organisations in the West Balkan and Turkey was identified as one of the obstacles in better and more productive of involvement of NGOs into the accession process.

The EU accession process provide wide-ranging opportunities for civil society involvement, but there is often lack of complex understanding of the process and missing technical knowledge and know-how in many areas of the environmental and climate acquis. There is also relatively high fluctuation of the people in the NGOs and many newcomers lack understanding of the scope and opportunities for the civil society involvement.

To address this problem, the project team works closely with EF NGOs in designing and implementation of the capacity building programme. The list of up to 10 priority areas and topics relevant for the NGOs in the region, and in this stage of the development, was identified early in 2014. Based on the list, the ECF prepared Training Needs Assessment (TNA) questionnaire and subsequently conducted in depth assessment of the training needs under the ten most prior topics and areas based on which the NGOs Specific Regional Training Plan is prepared. The NGOs Specific Regional Training Plan contains up to two regional trainings per year (in total up to 6 NGO specific regional trainings). The Training Needs Assessment identified as one of the priorities lack of complex knowledge on scope, details and opportunities in the procedures towards future EU membership. Based on this, Training module 1 is designed and developed, aiming to increase key NGOs capacities in the technical aspects of the EU accession process and to improve the knowledge base on scope and opportunities for civil society involvement.

Objectives of the meeting:

  • To progres with implementation of regional capacity building programme, test methodology adopted and set up system of cooperation among the project team, trainers and beneficiaries;
  • To explain and provide holistic picture on the general guiding principles in the EU accession process, discuss role and responsibilities of the key actors and identify opportunities for the civil society involvement;
  • To improve the knowledge, know-how and skill of the civil society representatives in technical aspects of negotiations, key policies and steps;
  • To support better implementation of legislation, better information sharing and public involvement through professional non-state actors participation in process.

Expected Results of the meeting:

  • Strengthening the knowledge base of ECF NGOs on the EU and national bodies involved in the EU accession process, in-depth understanding of actors and potential conflicts, opportunities and threats, understanding of accession to EU and Negotiation with EU (Chapter 27) and what are differences and steps;
  • Complex understanding of the goals and objectives Progress Reports (chapter 27: Environment and Climate Change), understanding of the process leading to the preparation, and scale of opportunities for the NGOs involvement;
  • In-depth understanding of possibilities and potential challenges for non-state actors and how to monitor and participate in the EU enlargement process;
  • Identification of the phases of Chapter 27 negotiation process: what are the potential issues for negotiation