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Proposal for Skopje Spring Congress 2020 03 - 05 April 2020

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Submitted at Thursday, 5. March 2020 um 15:21 Uhr, in category "Chapter 9 – External Relations and Foreign Affairs" with No. 901. Author/s: "Liberal Democratic Youth - North Macedonia (LIDEM) - Dimitar Vanchov.

The Skopje Spring Congress 2020 may decide:

We Are Europe Too

We Are Europe Too

Recalling:

  • The LYMEC Resolution on the Western Balkan Enlargement Process adopted on the 2017 LYMEC Autumn Congress in Sofia;
  • The ALDE Resolution on Opening of EU Accession Negotiations adopted by the 2019 ALDE Congress in Athens;
  • The expressed urge to support Western Balkans in their attempt to transform their society and political systems according to EU standards, stated in the ALDE Resolution on Improving Europe’s Capabilities to Address the Rise of China adopted by 2019 ALDE Congress in Athens;
  • The ALDE Resolution on North Macedonia’s Membership in NATO and the EU adopted by the ALDE Council in Berlin, in February 2019;
  • The ALDE Resolution on European Integration of the Western Balkans adopted by the 2015 ALDE Congress in Budapest;
  • The fact that the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties has backed visa liberation for citizens of Kosovo.

Considering that:

  • The 5th of February 2020, the European Commission put forward a proposal to drive forward the EU accession process, aiming to making it more credible, with a stronger political steer, more dynamic and predictable, by adopting a revised enlargement methodology;
  • The risk of rising populist and nationalist political options (anti EU movements) is still an obvious possibility all around Europe;
  • The Agreement between Belgrade and Beijing about joint police patrols, whose implementation started to see light in October 2019, when Chinese patrols operated on Serbian soil;
  • Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro are only partner countries in the Erasmus+ Programme, as opposed to Croatia, Serbia and North Macedonia, which are programme countries;
  • Students from Western Balkan, who have ambition to complete their education within European Union previously need to apply for visa;
  • The demanding challenges young entrepreneurs from the Western Balkans have to endure, if they wish to do business in member states and enter the EU single market;
  • In respect to EU granted autonomous trade preferences to all the Western Balkans, it is difficult for the Western Balkan states to compete with Europe's trade partners and benefit from Europe's free market given the customs duties;
  • There are continuous demands from both citizens and political leaders from the Western Balkan for lowering the roaming charges with the EU.

Believing that:

  • The EU motto “United in Diversity” perfectly describes the values upon which the idea of European Union is established; and that Western Balkans, diverse as they are, would be the perfect ingredient for underlining these values in the future;
  • Young people in the Western Balkan, especially young liberals, have a strongly developed European identity, which can be confirmed by the fact that, when in search for a better future, they mostly migrate towards EU member states;
  • The EU is where young people from Western Balkans turn to, when value crises in the region occur, as they perceive it as a beacon of hope that these values can be preserved;
  • The increased influence of various foreign actors in the region, we perceive that it also can have an effect on youth and their identification with European values, proven by recent poll results, which state that support for EU accession in the Western Balkans has significantly dropped;
  • Young people coming from Western Balkans shouldn’t eagerly search for a wireless internet connection when visiting EU member states, because being online means to be up-to-date with the current global events;
  • The future belongs to the youth and most of Western Balkan youth is hoping to have a future based upon EU values – they rightfully feel that they are Europe, too.

Therefore, we call for:

  • LYMEC, ALDE, Renew Europe, IFLRY, Liberal International, other liberal networks and liberal politicians in the EU and beyond to make a greater effort to nurture the European identity of the Western Balkan youth and the youth in Balkan EU member states, especially that of young liberals, aiming to make them feel as part of Europe.
  • Liberal political parties and liberal politicians (elected officials, prime ministers, party officials) to consider the impact their political decisions and public statements make on political activities of liberal partner organisations in the Western Balkans.
  • LYMEC, ALDE, Renew Europe, IFLRY, Liberal International, other liberal networks and liberal politicians in the EU and beyond to ask for opinions from partner organisations in the Western Balkans prior to discussions and decision-making, regarding topics relevant to the future of the region, such as EU enlargement and multilateral relations with/within the Western Balkans.
  • Advocating, as liberals, for that the new methodology does not apply double standards to the Western Balkan countries currently aspiring to join the EU, compared to those that have already became member states, as well as for the accession process reaching its final goal – consolidation of the entire European territory – instead of lasting indefinitely.
  • Additional support and empowerment for civic society movements, which promote EU values in Western Balkan.
  • Liberal politicians to continue emphasising the values EU was established upon and not give in to populist rhetoric, so the European Union stays that beacon young people in the Western Balkans can turn to, when looking for a model of a society they can identify with.

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Amendments for this proprosal:

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