European Fund for Balkans "Champion of Regional Cooperation"

The European Fund for the Balkans (EFB) was on Friday presented with the Champion of Regional Cooperation award for 2015 in a ceremony held in Sarajevo.

Source: B92
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The fund said in a statement this was an annual award granted by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat in recognition of an individual’s or an institution’s outstanding contribution to the development of regional cooperation in South East Europe (SEE).

The award was presented to Hedvig Morvai, Executive Director of the European Fund for the Balkans by Goran Svilanovic, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).

"This recognition by the RCC means that we are now in the position to communicate our concerns and recommendations related to regional cooperation from a 'Champion of Regional Cooperation' perspective. The EFB 'lives' regional cooperation on a daily basis and we receive feedback from a wide range of stakeholders from all over the Balkans. We believe in the need for a growing culture of regional cooperation, which translates to the fact that there is a broad societal sense that regional cooperation is the way to advancement and development in SEE. The fact that the EFB has been awarded this title by the RCC shows that civil society initiatives have been recognised as drivers of regional cooperation. These efforts often extend beyond the mandates of acting governments and tackle politically contested issues," Morvai said, and added:

“Civil society organisations are valuable partners to their governments in many fields – a modern and EU oriented state needs a democratic leadership which nurtures a respectful dialogue between all actors in politics and society."

Svilanovic said that the European Fund for the Balkans has been and is significantly contributing to regional cooperation in SEE through a variety of its programs, and "singled out the importance of the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG) which has brought together the best brains in the region and has so far come up with an outstanding study on the EU accession route for the Western Balkans and most recently about bilateral disputes in South East Europe," the statement said.

“This example and other program activities prove that the European Fund for the Balkans has established itself as an exemplary model of professional excellence, effective cooperation, and a successful regional cooperation organization”, said Svilanovic.

The annual award of the RCC Secretariat was launched in 2013. Previous winners include CEFTA - Central European Free Trade Agreement, Energy Community Secretariat (ECS), and South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (SEECEL).

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