Saturday, 27 September 2014 00:00

Bosnia-Herzegovina and Beyond: The Role of Civil Society in Supporting Democratization and Euro-Atlantic Integration in South East Europe Featured

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This policy paper examines the dynamics Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in South East Europe and provides recommendations on how to harmonize CSOs within the context of regional politics as well as the spectrum of regional players. South East Europe has a huge variety of CSOs: thousands of associations of citizens exist in the region, the majority without following explicit aims in the field of democratization or human rights. Generally, CSOs which are advocating a more democratic society, respect of human rights and individual freedom are generally more trusted by the citizens than the existing political parties. However, these CSOs are confronted with various barriers: these may be difficulties within their own organization structure, pressure from political authorities in their home countries as well as unfavourable arrangements with the international donors. Interest in cooperating with regional CSOs has decreased with international donors over the past years, which is partly due to a shift of interest to other regions and partly due to their discontent with the outcome of projects.