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Support for civil society - 15/04/2008

Scene from the film "Time of the Gypsies",  by Emir Kusturica

Thriving civil society bodies are a sign of a healthy democracy and help defend your interests in the EU.

Non-governmental organisations, employers and trade unions, industry associations, charities, consumer bodies, faith groups, the media – civil society organisations are an essential part of European public life. They serve as a channel of communication with EU institutions and provide a forum for active involvement in preparing and implementing EU policy.

On 17 and 18 April, a conference on civil society development in Southeast Europe will be held between representatives of civil society in the EU and the countries applying for EU membership. It will look at action on good governance/democracy, human rights, social exclusion, environment and sustainable development. Participants will be able to network and get information on EU financing and support.

A different view of Balkan culture will be provided by the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Southeast Europe , in concert on Thursday evening in Brussels, and the start of the Balkan film days next week.

One of the main objectives of the European enlargement strategy is the development of civil society. Before the end of the year, the Commission plans to set up a new scheme to support the development of civil society in countries waiting to join the EU.

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