The Global Progressive Forum (GPF), in cooperation with the S&D Group in the European Parliament and PES Women, held a seminar entitled “Making the EU enlargement deliver for Western Balkans women” in Korcula, Croatia, on 24th August.
Taking place ahead of the yearly Korcula Summer School, organised by the CEE Network for Gender Issues, the event aimed at discussing the links between EU accession and gender equality in the region.
Enrique Guerrero Salom MEP, GPF Co-Chair, Member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Development and standing rapporteur on humanitarian aid:
“Gender equality is one of the touchstone issues for us Socialists and Democrats and our fight continues on many fronts - also geographically speaking. This is why the Global Progressive Forum, which I am co-chairing, is working on putting women’s empowerment and gender equality at the top of the EU external agenda.
An integrated gender mainstreaming approach in the EU enlargement framework is necessary to use the accession talks as a powerful tool to strengthen gender equality in the Western Balkans.”
Biljana Borzan MEP, Member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights, the Delegation to the EU-FYROM Joint Parliamentary Committee and the Delegation to the EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee:
“Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are a key battlefield. What we want for Western Balkans women are accessible, affordable, good quality sexual and reproductive health care.
There is no doubt that our partner countries have done tremendous work in the past years to advance women’s rights and have changed their legislative and institutional framework. However, we note that huge efforts should be made when it comes to the implementation and enforcement of newly-existing legislation. Institutional changes are important, yet a change in the political and administrative culture is also essential if the newly acquired gender equality norms are to be grasped by all women.”
Julie WardMEP, Member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and of the Delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo:
“Work/life balance is an essential issue when we speak about transforming the lives of Western Balkans women through our external agenda. Gender equality means the same opportunities, rights and obligations for women and men in all spheres of life. Promoting women’s economic and social rights, fighting women’s insecurity in the labour marker, closing the gender pay and pension gaps: these must be priorities in the EU enlargement process to the Western Balkans.”
The Seminar on Gender & Enlargement was part of the GPF project “For a Feminist EU External Agenda”. It gathered representatives from social-democratic women’s forums and civil society organisations from the region.