a two-day seminar took place in Vlorë, Albania to address the critical issue of combating racism and racial discrimination in the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership regions. The event aimed for representatives of both regions , in particular Beneficiaries on their path to EU membership, to exchange on best practices and harmonise their approach in combating discrimination, hatred and racism.
The seminar brought together more than 50 representatives from Governments and equality bodies. They discussed in particular their needs in view of the adaptation of local legislations and policies to align with European standards including the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan as well as relevant recommendations from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance and other relevant standards.
Speakers from the European Union and Council of Europe presented tools and standards available in this area as well as concrete examples of initiatives to support beneficiaries including building institutional capacities, conducting legislative gap analyses, and providing support in drafting laws aligned with European standards.
They also stressed the importance of close co-operation among Beneficiaries, to promote equality, facilitate access to justice, education, and quality services for victims of hate speech and hate crime, with the ultimate goal of building a resilient society.
In this respect participants also agreed on the crucial role and impact of the civil society organisations in tackling discrimination, racism and hatred, as emphasized notably in the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan.
This event was organised within the framework of European Union/Council of Europe Joint programmes Partnership for Good Governance III and Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye III