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The accession of Croatia into the European Union during the Year of Citizens provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on EU citizenship from a different perspective and to engage with the core question of citizens’ participation in Europe.
Despite the crisis affecting the EU, there are still countries keen to join the Union. Leaving aside the political will to accede, how do citizens, organised or not, view EU citizenship and what do they expect from it? What is the role of civil society in the enlargement process, and more broadly speaking, in the achievement of a strong European democracy? Enlargement does not only benefit those who join, it is also a renewing process for longer-term member states, notably in terms of participation and practical approaches whilst it raises new concerns and issues which will also be debated in this conference.
The European Year of Citizens Alliance (EYCA) aims to bring together its members, as well as civil society organisations from the Western Balkan region, to reflect on these topics and to enable these organisations to share their experience and vision of belonging to a European project and a European community. The event will address these key issues and identify recommendations which may be added to the final proposals of the EYCA, thus allowing civil society organisations from the Western Balkans to become more involved in the current reflection on citizenship taking place in Europe.