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Today, 27 January 2021, the project “CSO Dialogue – Platform for Structural Participation in EU Integrations” organized the sector consultations around “Effects from Work of SWG Justice and Future Challenges for Improving Cooperation between Civil Society Organizations and Institutions”.

The sector consultations were opened by Danche DANILOVSKA-BAJDEVSKA, Program Director at the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia, who underlined the importance of the sector working groups, which serve as a mechanism for policy dialogue, EU assistance programming and donor coordination. As regards SWG Justice, she indicated this sector group as a pioneer in the development of sector policies but noted that problems with respect to its functionality still persist. As an example, she referred to the fact that SWG Justice has still not developed its annual work plan and that the basic documents and decisions governing operation of this sector group are not published on the Ministry of Justice’s official website. In conclusion, she said that the main effort in the forthcoming period should be a revision of the model for the selection of civil society representatives in all sector working groups by amending their respective rules of procedure.

The Minister of Justice, Bojan MARICHIKJ, discussed the results produced by SWG Justice and stressed that the institutions are open to cooperation with civil society organizations. He acknowledged that civil society representatives in this sector group hold great expertise and knowledge on topics covered and underlined the exceptional importance of reforms in the field of the rule of law for the state.

Nicola BERTOLINI, Head of the Cooperation Sector at the EU Delegation, followed up by indicating that this sector group is in a somewhat privileged position because many civil society organizations work on topics covered, i.e. judiciary, anti-corruption and antidiscrimination. He urged for better coordination of sector working groups while recognizing the problem that a large portion of discussions is centred on IPA assistance, instead of, in his words, focusing on the development of sector-specific policies.

Misha POPOVIKJ from the Institute for Democracy and the Civil Society Platform for Fight against Corruption urged for better coordination of international assistance and collective action to fight corruption. At the same time, he underlined the problem of civil society organizations’ dual role, i.e. sitting at the same table with the institutions in respect to assistance and consultations, and their role in respect to criticizing and exerting pressure on same institutions to implement the reforms.

Maja STOJANOSKA from the Institute for Human Rights and the Blueprint Group for Judiciary Reforms shared her experience related to work of sector working groups and urged for greater involvement of civil society organizations and for more coordinated monitoring of reform implementation.

The event was attended by more than fifty representatives from civil society organizations, state institutions, members of sector working groups and the media.

This conference is organized as part of the project “CSO Dialogue – Platform for Structural Participation in EU Integrations”, coordinated and implemented by the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia, in partnership with Reactor – Research in Action, Eurothink – Center for European Strategies and Center for Civil Communications.

A video recording of the event is available on this link.

The full Report on SWG Justice is available for download on this link.


27 January 2021