On January 15th 2020, the European Fund for the Balkans signed a Cooperation Agreement with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Dialogue Southeast Europe and Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund at the EFB's Secretariat office in Belgrade.

The idea behind this joint action is to establish a support coalition for the ongoing campaign "Social Dimension Initiative (SDI) of ASB which is aiming to point out the necessity for better social and employment policies in the enlargement process of the Western Balkans countries beyond the framework of the EU social acquis.


Ms Aleksandra Tomanic (EFB), Mr Gordan Velev (ASB), and Mr Felix Henkel (FES) discussed the need to underline the importance of addressing persisting social issues in the Western Balkans. Social policies, from social protection to healthcare, education and employment needed to be placed higher on the agenda to surmount a regional political discourse riveted on legacy issues and polarisation. The partners stated they were looking forward to continuing and deepening their collaboration on social policy development and raising awareness in that field.

The Social Dimension Initiative, which the organizations pledged to strengthen, will continue to reinforce the importance of discussing the social dimension of EU enlargement policy as well as national policy reforms throughout the region. The partners aim to coordinate their activities and continuously exchange information in order to develop evidence-based policy recommendations.

The organizations further aim to expand the network of perspective contributors and partners to this Initative among the regional stakeholders.