The Social Dimension of Enlargement Policy: Vienna

On 13th of December, Karl Renner Institute in Vienna hosted a round table titled “European Integration – An update on the Western Balkans”. The event gathered representatives from the Party of European Socialists, European Union, experts and organizations working in the region.

The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung delivered inputs based on the regional comparative report Youth Study SEE 2018/2019 and the most recent study “Enlargement Policy and Social Change”. Comprising of two parts, the round table aimed to cover two primary topics “The role of social democracy in the European integration process” and “Strengthening democracy in civil society”. 

The discussion on social democracy in the EU integration process was a non-public exchange that featured short inputs from the PSE and Members of the European Parliament. The political representatives showed considerable enthusiasm for the policy recommendations featured in the “Enlargement Policy and Social Change” study that were presented after their opening remarks.

The discussion that followed strongly focused on social rights and their importance in the context of Enlargement Policy. The FES has placed a strong emphasis on social rights as fundamental rights, putting the people at the very core of the process.

The second debate centered around state of democracy, rule of law and human rights in the Western Balkans. The debate also gave prominence to main findings of the Youth Study SEE 2018/2019. Special attention was paid to the respect for LGBTIQ rights in the region as well as women’s rights. An additional angle of the discussion was the socio-economic development of the Western Balkans countries. 

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