The delegation of the CEE Network took active part at the “One Balkan towards the EU”, held in Skopje 10 February 2020. The Conference gathered progressive, socialdemocratic and liberal leaders, from South Eastern Europe. Participants gave strong support to North Macedonia and its former Prime Minister and President of SDUM, Zoran Zaev, as well as Albania, to start the EU integration process.
It was stressed that the EU Enlargement Policy has largely been successful and has benefited both accession countries and the EU itself. Progress made by the Western Balkan countries towards EU integration is recognized by all parties. There is no going back, but rather it warrants an accelerated process of integration and an effort by the accession countries and the EU to complete it.
A successful integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union has to be on the basis of strengthened democracy, rule of law and an independent judiciary, anti-corruption policies, social justice, equality between women and men, introduce gender parity in political life and exert a deliberate effort to improve the quality of life of all our citizens.
In the discussion the CEE Network for Gender Issues emphasized the great strides SDUM in North Macedonia, as well as other parties in the region, made in promoting the political participation of women in decision making and parity in their parties and the society. In preparation for the upcoming parliamentary and local elections it will be decisive for parties to honour the quotas in their electoral lists and the zip principle, to ensure an even larger number of women to be included in future decision making. But it will equally be important that progressive electoral platforms address existential concerns and challenges women are confronted with in these societies. This will motivate women to be equal and active agents of progress and transformative processes in the Western Balkans.