Vučković: Reforms and EU membership will lead to a better standard of living

“We are dedicated to and enthusiastic about the EU path of our region as reforms and EU membership will lead to a better standard of living for the people of this region”, said Nataša Vučković, Secretary General, Center for Democracy Foundation, and Coordinator of the Working Group for the National Convention on the European Union (NCEU), at the Let Justice Rule the Region.

We’re all working toward the same goals and share many challenges, obstacles. On the other hand, we are dedicated and enthusiastic, as we have been on the EU path for quite some time now and believe and hope that we will reach the desired outcome, which is EU membership. We envisage a different society, state and region through EU membership and we are all working towards achieving this goal.

It is our task to familiarise the public with the accession process. We coordinate with the Working Group of the NCEU for negotiating chapters 2 and 19 – Social Policy and Employment and this is what most interests our public. The kind of social policy that we enforce is of interest to all, as is employment, the labour market, wages and the protection of labour rights. Harmonisation is important to us, the people, because we want better social dialogue, less discrimination in employment and in the workplace, especially for those who belong to vulnerable groups, as well as greater gender equality.

The EU is not just an economic force, it is much more than that. This isn’t just a question of security and geopolitics, rather, the Union has its own social dimension of great importance to the peoples of our region. The people need to understand that the EU is not a threat to them. With all of these reforms we will be able to improve the quality of life and our future perspectives will be brighter.

We must emphasise the significance of linking analysis and action concerning the different Chapters (the so-called ‘cross-chapter approach’). For example, Chapters 19 and 23, as the people wish to protect their various rights which are under threat. For instance, in relation to the employment of vulnerable groups (Chapter 19) the anti-discrimination policy is directly linked to the protection of basic rights and judicial reform (Chapter 23).

We have a Working Group organised through the National Convention for regional cooperation. This group is open toward all regional cooperation initiatives and we desire to see how each of them can promote EU accession and improve regional collaboration. There are many topics of mutual interest here of an economic and social nature (e.g., the green agenda, just transition) and there are many areas that we can connect on and work together towards changing. Discrimination in economic and social spheres is also a challenge that we are all facing in the region and it is necessary for us to collaborate in order to improve the economic and social position of our peoples.

In the civil sector – expertise, credible information, facts, are of the utmost importance. But it is also necessary for us to be coherent in communication with the public and to explain how this corresponds to their needs, to communicate European values and why they are imperative and to offer our support among the people where reforms and European integration are concerned, said Nataša Vučković.

Center for Democracy Foundation