PTF recently approved a $35,000 grant to the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM) in Belgrade, Serbia, to establish a regional network in the Western Balkans that aims to strengthen the rule of law in four Western Balkan countries – Serbia, Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro. A key objective of the regional network will be to support the Western Balkan countries in their application process to join the European Union. The regional network will help participating countries address the specific rule of law and judicial reform targets identified by the EU in its pre-accession documents.
The grant will be used primarily to establish the network, including the selection of CSOs from Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro, and agreement among them on the architecture of the framework. The network is expected to have several common themes (such as reforms in the judiciary) that all network members will report on, as well country specific themes based on individual country rule of law issues raised in the EU pre-accession documents. PTF and its European affiliate, PTF e.V., will provide technical support to YUCOM to get the network up and running.
Once the network is established and operational, network members will develop a fundraising strategy to support continued operations of the network as well as its possible expansion to include additional CSOs. PTF e. V. will help the network mobilize additional resources from European donors that are supporting countries in EU pre-accession mode.