A conference on the Economic and Social Cohesion in the Western Balkans will bring together employers, trade unions and civil society organizations with other interests in Sofia on 15 May /Tuesday/ at Marinela Hotel at 9.00 pm. The conference is organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument of the European Commission (TAIEX), with the support of the Bulgarian Presidency and the Bulgarian Economic and Social Council (ESC).

The conference will discuss the prospects of the European integration in the region, economic and social cohesion between the Western Balkan countries as well as the rights and empowerment of vulnerable groups in the region. The event precedes the EU-Western Balkans Summit. It is expected the main conclusions from the conference to be presented to the national authorities and the European institutions.

The conference will be opened by the Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva. Discussions will be attended by representatives of European and Bulgarian institutions, representatives of civil society organizations from all Western Balkan countries, diplomats, experts, etc. The President of the EESC's External Relations Section Dilyana Slavova, who is also Bulgarian ESC Member, and the ESC President Prof. Lalko Dulevski will participate in the discussions together with the other ESC members.

After the conference opening from 10.30 am to 11.00 am a press conference will take place. Journalists’ questions will be answered by the President of the EESC's Western Balkans Follow-up Committee Dragica Džamonja, the President of the EESC's External Relations Section Dilyana Slavova and Secretary General of Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro Srđa Keković.



is the “bridge” between citizens and the national government. Its mission is to support such “bridging” so as to facilitate the communication between the society and the national government. It is the new and modern institution of the civil dialogue.

The ESC's mission is to promote civil society organisations access to and involvement in the process of decision-making on strategic economic and social issues.

The main goal of ESC's operation is to enable different representatives of organised civil society to feel free to state their views whereas unanimity on matters of common interest is encouraged. The Council expresses and protects civil society interests by communicating agreed statements and proposals submitted by its members to the executive and legislative authorities.

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