By fostering citizen involvement and the oversight role of civil society organisations (CSOs), it is believed, governments can be held accountable for their reform promises and the political system as such becomes more transparent and inclusive. It is hence that civil society support lies at the heart of the EU’s approach toward the next round of likely accession candidates in the Western Balkans.
CSOs can exercise pressure upon policy-makers to push for institutional and legislative adaptation. A series of mechanisms of influence do exist and can be used by CSOs in order to shape policy-making and foster approximation process:
Finally CSOs are able to provide meaningful inputs to ‘white papers’ and other draft policy documents at a national level, and are certainly making significant contributions to local level policy document drafts. This type of contribution most commonly involves giving comment to the drafts at the consultative stage and, where necessary proposing amendments and can be made through:
- expert groups or individual consultancies
- citizens panels
- online consultative mechanisms
- written communication, i.e. ‘shadow report’ and opinion papers
It should be noted that a coalition of CSOs can contribute better than a sole organisation to a complex drafting process.