The European Union (EU)’s commitment to involve civil society in the Enlargement started in 1989 when funding was provided for basic capacity development of newly formed civil society organizations (CSOs) in Central East Europe under the PHARE programme, which was later extended to Western Balkans and Turkey through stabilization (CARDS) and pre-accession instruments (IPA). However, despite EU’s intention to involve civil society, non-state actors without specialized knowledge were often excluded in the interest of compliance expediency.
Consequently, CSOs were demoted either to a consultative role, or failed to gain any access into the policy arena.